||Black Ops Games: Unannounced Titles!
January 25, 2007 John JCal Callaham
Summary: JCal uses his endless curiosity and contacts to find out what he can about unrevealed titles from top developers. Before you read on, Macduff... what's the password?
| Introduction||Page:: ( 1 / 5 )|
Id Software’s New Original Game
What We Know: While the folks at Mesquite Texas based id have been working with other developers on new games based on their properties (Raven on Quake 4 and the upcoming Wolfenstein game; Splash Damage on Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) it is also known that id is working on their own in-house title that will be a completely new franchise separate from the Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake series (it will be id’s first totally original title since the original Quake was released over 10 years ago). Of course, id co-founder and master programmer John Carmack is back to create the new graphics engine for the unnamed title and we know it will use an advanced version of the MegaTexture feature that Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is using to make its huge outdoor levels. It’s also known that it will be in the first person action genre. Other than that, that’s about all we know about the game at this point.
What id Says: id’s new director of business development Steve Nix told us, “We totally appreciate the interest though we’re still not discussing our internal work right now and we wouldn’t be able to participate in this one.”.
What We Think: While id disappointed many with the fairly standard Doom 3 in 2004, there are hints from interviews that the company is thinking outside its own box with their new game so don’t expect a “running in corridors” style shooter. In fact we think that with the MegaTexture tech in place we think that we will see a lot more outdoor action that we have seen in any previous id released game. With QuakeCon 07 due in August, we think that would be the perfect time for id to reveal what they have up their sleeves.
BioWare’s MMO Game
What We Know: Masters of the RPG genre with games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare made headlines last year when the Canadian developer announced that it was branching out and starting an Austin, Texas based development office specifically to create the company’s first MMO title. BioWare will use the Hero Engine for its graphical basis created by Simutronics.
What BioWare Says: BioWare’s PR head told us, “Oh man, I wish I could give you some hints about the game… but BioWare would KILL ME. (and rightly so) J Sorry but you’ll have to stay tuned…!”
What We Think: When a company as well known and well respected as BioWare enters the MMO genre it’s going to be something special and different. With the company’s strong story and plots in its other RPGs we expect that the MMO game will also have a healthy narrative structure. Remember, Blizzard had a similarly strong game reputation before World of Warcraft and look what happened to that game. Hopefully we will get some solid info on BioWare’s MMO title later this year.
What We Know: UK based Free Radical, formed by former members of Rare who worked on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, has been a successful game developer for several years with three games in the Timesplitters console shooter series along with the action-adventure Second Sight and the upcoming UbiSoft first person shooter Haze. However in 2006 the developer signed with publisher LucasArts to work on an unnamed game. That’s about all we know at this point.
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What Free Radical Says: A message from their screenwriter Rob Yescombe told us, “There may be clues buried in our website. On the other hand, there might not.” Hmmmmm…..
What We Think: Free Radical’s history of first person shooters would make speculating on a LucasArts published FPS an easy one. But will it be a new game in the best selling Battlefront or Jedi Knight series or an all new franchise? We think we will find out more about the game later this year.
Airtight Games’ Unnamed Game
What We Know: Airtight Games was formed a couple of years ago in the Seattle area from former members of Microsoft Games Studios who worked on games like the Xbox action title Crimson Skies. Their first project was a series of spectacular demos for AGEIA’s PhysX hardware cards that showed a plane crashing into a warehouse and watching tons of objects scatter. Airtight is currently working with an unnamed publisher on what their web site is calling a “major unannounced title”.
What Airtight Says: The company’s president Jim Deal told us, “As much as I would like to, I cannot yet divulge any part of the publisher relationship or the details of the game. With such long production cycles I can see how this happens.”
What We Think: The members of Airtight Games created a memorable title in the Crimson Skies title and their AGEIA demos are truly something to behold (Check out their web site to see some in-game movies). While info about their current game is hard to come by we have to hope that combining the great game design of Crimson Skies with the interactivity of the AGEIA demo would be pretty cool indeed.
What We Know: The folks behind the Delta Force and Joint Operations games have been very silent about their upcoming projects, so much so that some have wondered if the company is still making games. However, the company is still hiring people to work on upcoming titles and recently a company called PhaseSpace announced that Novalogic has bought a new motion capture unit from the company for use in their game development.
What Novalogic Says: A Novalogic rep told us,” Any announcement about what future Novalogic projects will be posted at our website, www.novalogic.com in either the Announcements or Press Release sections. If what you seek is not listed there we are not authorized to release any information.”
What We Think: Getting a motion capture set-up would seem to indicate that Novalogic is working on some kind of action game. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess to what the company has planned for the future, whether it’s a new game in their Delta Force series, a new entry in the Joint Operations franchise or an entirely new product.
Destineer’s Upcoming Spy Game:
What We Know: Destineer Studios was the developer of 2005’s modern military tactical shooter Close Combat: First To Fight, which was originally made as a training program for the US Marine Corps. Soon after the game was released Destineer announced a deal with In-Q-Tel, a group funded by the Central Intelligence Agency to create training simulators for the intelligence industry. With the more recent announcement of a new in-house game dev studio in the Raleigh NC area, Destineer is clearly still in the game development business and some kind of commercial title based on their work with the CIA could come of it.
What Destineer Says: The company’s PR spokesperson told us, “We haven’t made any official announcements about this project. However, I will confirm that we are working on a something along the lines you mentioned at our new Raleigh studio. That’s all I can say for now…”
What We Think: Having a spy action game that has the experience of the real CIA is something that not even Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series can claim. Destineer’s upcoming title, even with the small amount of info we have about it, has us intrigued and we can’t wait to get more info on the title very soon.
DoubleFine’s Game For Vivendi Games
What We Know: DoubleFine was organized and formed by Tim Schafer, who was the driving force behind a number of acclaimed LucasArts adventure games in the 1990’s. In 2005 the company released its first title via publisher Majesco, the critically acclaimed but sales disappointment Psychonauts. However, the company announced in 2006 a new publishing deal with Vivendi Games for an all new title that has yet to be revealed.
What DoubleFine Says: DoubleFine officials did not respond to our inquiries about their unnamed game by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: Psychonauts was a rarity in games; a title that had a quirky and fun game design that was actually funny and original. The high sales, however, did not occur as expected. The acclaim that DoubleFine got for their first title helped to secure their publishing deal with Vivendi and that hopefully will give their next title more of a marketing boost than Majesco created for their first game. So what will it be like? Quirky, fun and original….just like all of Tim Schafer’s titles.
What We Know: The Polish developer created the fun and visually spectacular 2004 first person shooter Painkiller for Dreamcatcher Games. While that title didn’t scream up the best seller charts it got the attention of the much bigger publisher THQ who signed People Can Fly to create a new next-gen console game in 2006.
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What People Can Fly Says: People Can Fly representatives did not respond to our inquiries about their unnamed game for this article.
What We Think: Painkiller was a fast passed shooter with excellent art design and well handled in-game physics. There’s no reason to think than People Can Fly’s project for THQ won’t continue that tradition and with the advances in graphics and physics combined with the resources of THQ we are more excited about this game’s prospect than we are about other fully announced FPS projects.
Petroglyph Studios’s Game For Sega
What We Know: Las Vegas based Petroglyph created the first great Star Wars strategy game with the 2006 released Star Wars: Empire at War. However, we are even more excited at the prospect of their upcoming original sci-fi RTS project for Sega. Other than those details no official info has been announced
What Petroglyph Says: Sega’s PR representative declined to give us any info about Petroglyph’s game for this article.
What We Think: The team at Petroglyph are former Westwood and EALA members who worked extensively on the Command and Conquer franchise so the idea of an all new sci-fi RTS title from this team is something that we can’t help but be intrigued by. With EA developing Command and Conquer 3 for release in just a couple of months, it may be a while to see if the former C&C team members can beat EA at their own game but we wouldn’t bet against them. Hopefully we will get some info on this subject very soon.
Sony Online’s Upcoming MMO Games
What We Know: During a recent blog posting, Sony Online’s head man John Smedley mentioned that the company has four internal MMO style games currently in development (not counting its console projects or its publishing partnerships with games like Vanguard and Gods and Heroes). One of them is the previously announced DC Comics super hero title but the other three games are currently unannounced. Smedley said that all of the games are in different genres and will bring “mercenaries, spies, super-heroes and a new whimsical world to life.” Smedley also mentioned in a previous speech that one MMO title will be free to play with Sony getting revenue from the sales of in-game items.
What Sony Online Says: Sony Online officials did not respond to our inquires in time for the posting of this article
What We Think: Many MMO players have already put Sony Online to pasture as games like Everquest, Everquest II, Star Wars Galaxies and PlanetSide have been overshadowed somewhat by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft but with the experience of this developer and the resources of Sony you can bet that the company is gearing up to see if the MMO space can expand to new ideas and settings. The idea of an MMO game with mercs and spies is certainly appealing. Hopefully we will get some reveals about the projects in the near future.
What We Know: Wideload Games, formed by former members of Bungie, released their first title, the Halo engine based zombie action game Stubbs The Zombie, in 2005. Since that time the team has been very silent on what Wideload will be doing next other than it will be a console title.
What Wideload Says: Company officials did not respond to our inquires by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: Stubbs The Zombie was one of our personal favorite games of 2005 (you got to love a game that allows you to munch on other people’s flesh) and if Wideload’s next game is anywhere near as original and fun as Stubbs its something to look forward to.
What We Know: The folks at Pandemic have one announced game in the works (Mercenaries 2) and on their web site they also show three unnamed titles (designated as Projects B, X and Y) in the wings as well. At the moment there is little to no info on what the three games will be about nor for what publisher.
What Pandemic Says: Company officials did not respond to our inquires by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: Pandemic tends to specialize in epic action games (Star Wars: Battlefront, Full Spectrum Warrior, Destroy All Humans) so we are going to guess that at least one or two of the unnamed games are in the action genre. Beyond that there’s not a lot we know about these games yet but we suspect that 2007 will give us some info about all three.
What We Know: You may know S2 Games as the developer behind the FPS-RTS hybrid game Savage and the upcoming sequel Savage 2. What you may not know is that the company is recruiting members to work on an unannounced title that has nothing to do with the Savage series. So far there’s no word on what the secret project will be about.
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What S2 Games Says: S2 Games’ PR representative declined to give us any info about their secret game for this article.
What We Think: Savage and its upcoming sequel attempted to mix two genres; however, postings on S2 Games’s message boards only reveal that the secret project will be released before the end of 2007. Considering that Savage 2 has taken longer than previously announced we wouldn’t hold our breath for the secret game to make that date. However we are fans of the original game and are excited about the prospect for Savage 2 so any game that has S2’s fingerprints on it is something we are interested to see.
Relic’s Upcoming Games
What We Know: Relic had a busy 2006 with three games shipping to stores (The Outfit, Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War Dark Crusade and Company of Heroes) but several weeks ago their parent company THQ posted up job notices for MMO and RPG team positions at Relic. Since the Vancouver based developer has worked mostly in the RTS genre (with the sole exception of The Outfit which still had strategy elements) developing MMO and RPG games would represent a very different game design direction for the acclaimed developer.
What Relic-THQ Says: THQ representative did not respond to inquiries by the time of the posting of this article
What We Think: There have been rumors for the past year or so that Relic and THQ have gotten the rights to develop new games in Relic’s classic space based RTS Homeworld series but these reports have not yet been confirmed. But wouldn’t that be cool if it were true? Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before we find out what those MMO and RPG job positions are really for.
Slipgate Ironworks’ Game
What We Know: Slipgate Ironworks is the new game development studio co-founded by John Romero, one of the main designers behind Doom and Quake who later went to be the co-founder of the infamous developer Ion Storm. Romero’s new company is working on a MMO title but beyond that nothing is known.
What Slipgate Ironworks Says: John Romero did not respond to our inquiries by the time of the posting of this article
What We Think: John Romero has the reputation of being a bit…let’s call it “enthusiastic”…about the game projects he works on so perhaps his silence about what’s happening at Slipgate Ironworks is a change of pace for him. But will the game be worth our time when he finally reveals all? That’s the question a lot of people are waiting for the answer.
What We Know: Junction Point Studios was formed more than two years ago by Warren Spector, one of the preeminent game designers of the past decade thanks to games like Ultima Underworld, System Shock and Deus Ex. Spector has admitted in interviews that one game Junction Point was working on got cancelled but that they are working on other projects using Valve’s Source graphics engine.
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What Junction Point Says: Company officials did not respond to our inquires by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: We think that Warren Spector is one of the best game creators of all time and that it’s been far too long since the release of the last game he had a hand in. We hope to hear more about Junction Point’s plans in the near future and expect to go, “Ohhhhh…that sounds cool.”
Giant Bite Studios’ Game
What We Know: Formed more than a year ago in Seattle, this independent game developer was co-founded by members of Bungie and Valve so there’s a lot of FPS pedigree to go around in that office. Since the announcement of their existence there’s been no info on the game projects they are working on.
What Giant Bite Says: Company officials did not respond to our inquiries by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: When you have team members that worked on arguably the best PC and the best console FPS of all time working an all new project, that would make anyone sit up and take notice. We hope to get a giant bite of info about this company’s plans very soon.
Steven Spielberg-Electronic Arts Games
What We Know: Over a year ago, Electronic Arts announced a new development deal with mega-movie director Steve Spielberg. EA’s Los Angeles studio is supposed to be working closely with Spielberg on what will eventually be three original games.(not based on any previous Spielberg directed movies). Since the announcement there’s been little info on what the games will be like although EALA’s studio director Neil Young has mentioned in interviews that Spielberg comes into the studio once a week to work with the development team
What EA Says: Company representatives did not respond to our inquires by the time of the posting of this article.
What We Think: Spielberg is of course no stranger to video and PC games; indeed EALA was formed partially from the purchase several years ago of Spielberg’s Dreamworks Interactive, which first started the best selling Medal of Honor franchise.(Spielberg was also a regular attendee at the old E3 trade shows). The big question is will Spielberg’s involvement turn these new games into a success like Medal of Honor or a disaster like Jurassic Park: Trespasser?
This article merely scratches the surface when in comes to Black Ops games. Look for a sequel article where we speculate on other upcoming announced (but not really announced) games in the near future.