PC / MAC

Totems (10Tacle Studios) [Cancelled – Xbox 360, PC]

Totems is a canceled action/platformer game developed by 10Tacle Studios Belgium (formerly elseWhere Entertainment) for 10Tacle Studios, from 2005 to 2008, for the PC and Xbox 360.

Made by former developers of the game Outcast, Totems was an action/adventure game mixing modern day world events with the fantasy of native American religion where the player controls Gia, a parkour expert, who inherits various powers from four different animal totem spirits.

The game was revealed a day before the Leipzig’s Game Convention 2007 as we can read on Gamesindustry:

“Darmstadt, August 22nd 2007 – Today 10TACLE STUDIOS AG and 10TACLE STUDIOS BELGIUM officially announce the development of TOTEMS for PC and Xbox 360.

Inspired by the urban sport “Le Parkour“, TOTEMS is a super-heroic platform game with tactical elements that let the player magically transform the world and story to their own style and skill. This third-person 3D action adventure offers non-linear gameplay in a highly interactive environment and is designed to be accessible to the widest audience while offering depth for the core gamers. The player character as well as the enemy is able to use the environment to full extent thanks to the innovative Semantic Environment Sensing System (SESS). Super-heroic movement and combat come alive in a never seen before manner. The Belgian developer’s proprietary NeoReality Engine sets new standards for next-gen platforms and provides an unparalleled atmosphere and experience. Based on an elaborate and original mythology, TOTEMS offers an exciting new world to explore.”

“The PC and Xbox 360 release is scheduled for 2008.”

It was showed during the convention in which Gamespot managed to write a preview:

(…) Gia’s expertise in parkour comes from one of the four totem spirits whose powers she’s able to use. Her agility comes from the monkey spirit, her speed comes from the cheetah spirit, and her combat skills come from the bear spirit. We weren’t told what powers the songbird spirit will afford you, except that they have something to do with creativity. Interestingly, each of the four spirits is mapped to a different face button on the Xbox 360 controller, and so each button can be used to perform a massive number of different moves depending on the context in which you press it.

Using only the monkey button during our presentation, the player was able to navigate a number of different obstacles, including high walls, columns, wide gaps, and narrow ledges. The animation was seamless, and the one-button control system is purportedly possible because of how aware Gia and other characters in Totems are of their surroundings. This was demonstrated to us in a number of different ways. When slowly moving toward the corner of a rooftop, for example, Gia automatically stopped and leaned over the edge to look down, and when left standing idle next to a low wall, she casually brushed her hand along the top of it.

The anthropomorphic tigers that attacked Gia at one point were also very aware of the geometry around them, and were incorporating parkour-style wall jumps and the like into some of their own combat moves. Like Gia’s, their moves were occasionally superhuman, including cat leaps and muscle-ups worthy of the Agency operatives in Crackdown(…).

Unfortunately, nearly one year after it’s announcement, 10Tacle Studios filed for bankruptcy in the beginning of August 2008, shutting down 10Tacle Studios Belgium and cancelling every projects within the studio. We learned via Planet-Adelpha that the development was stopped in March of the same year and that the team had decided to make a similar game using the technology initially created for Totems with Urban Race, also canceled:

“10Tacle AG is in a big financial crisis and it is not over yet. Here at elseWhere Entertainment it has been 6 months since they don’t pay us. The company took on its personal cash and contracted debts in order to keep paying the employees until 2 months ago (since June in fact). So it has been two months since we’re not paid which is a difficult situation for everyone here and Yves Grolet had to take a decision, we couldn’t wait much longer for the money of 10Tacle. So Yves decided to close the studios.”

“From the business and development point of view, Totems was paused (heavy) end of March due to cash issues of 10Tacle, we were doing the vertical slice demo. We had quite a lot of things to show and positive feedbacks. I guess you saw the problem with Michele Pes and stuff, 10Tacle AG suffered quite a lot due to Elveon cancel, Totems being late and more over wrong investments here and there. So 10Tacle was out of cash, without a CEO and investors were not happy at all. With the new CEO, investors decided to change company’s orientation, focusing only on online games and online worlds, they had already a project in mind. So for the team the last 6 months were quite depressing and there was a lot of uncertainties, some people left the company.”

“In the meantime as we saw that the financial situation was becoming critical at 10Tacle AG, the company decided to create a small spin off project based on what’ve being doing on Totems for 3 years, we worked on a project called Urban Race, a multiplayer parkour game yet very different from an esthetic point of view but really the same movement engine behind Totems.”

After that, several former developers returned to Appeal Studios, including former CEO Yves Grolet, currently developing Outcast 2: A New Beginning for THQ Nordic.

Article updated by Daniel Nicaise

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Symbiosis (elseWhere Entertainment) [PC/XBOX/PS2 – Tech Demo/Cancelled]

Symbiosis (formerly known as Project Alpha and The Incident) is a canceled futuristic stealth action/adventure game developed by elseWhere Entertainment in 2002 for PC, alongside potential Xbox and Playstation 2 versions.

Information about this project is pretty scarce. The game was designed by former developers of Appeal Studios, known for developing the 1999 PC game Outcast. The title was first mentioned in 2002 by Gamekult:

“(…) elseWhere Entertainment, a two-year-old company is currently working on Project Alpha, a working title which, admittedly -even from its founder, will be the conceptual continuation of the first Outcast.”

It was then Jeuxvideo.com which, in 2003, revealed the first images of the game alongside new information:

“elseWhere Entertainment is currently developing Symbiosis, an adventure/action game planned for PC and consoles. If the developers maintain still some mystery concerning the scenario of the game, we know that the action will take place in a futuristic universe with a crucial part of interactions between the characters. The team wishes to go beyond their previous project, Outcast, in terms of A.I. and storytelling, leveraging their NeoReality technology.”

After that, elseWhere Entertainment decided to cancel Symbiosis in order to focus on Totems instead, also canceled a few years later. Michaël Defroyennes shared in 2013, on his personal blog, some additional information on the concept of the game:

“Some concepts I did for a game prototype called Symbiosis, started in September 2002 : The game concept was about action/stealth combats in a space station on an unfriendly planet, unfortunately it was stopped to focus on other prototypes.”

Oddly enough, Gamestar also shared information regarding the concept of Symbiosis, slightly different than what was revealed until now. According to them, Symbiosis was going to be:

“(…) A squad based tactic shooter with a 4 player coop mode set in an futuristic environment. Before it was announced as Symbiosis it had the code names Project Alpha and The Incident.”

After the cancellation of Symbiosis, elseWhere Entertainment was acquired by 10Tacle Studios and released their only game in 2006, a sport title named David Douillet Judo, before shutting down in 2008.

Article by Daniel Nicaise

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Outcast 2: The Lost Paradise [PC, PS2 – Cancelled]

Outcast 2: The Lost Paradise is a canceled action-adventure game that was developed from 1999 to 2001 by Appeal Studios and published by Infogrames for the PC and the Playstation 2. It was the sequel to the game Outcast, released in 1999 exclusively on PC and also developed by Appeal.

Franck Sauer, co-founder of Appeal, shared the full experience of the development of Outcast 2 on his personal website:

HOW IT ALL STARTED

PRE-PRODUCTION

In mid-1999, right after the release of Outcast, we started pitching new ideas about a sequel and tried to convince Infogrames (our publisher) to fund a pre-production, quickly.

Infogrames had stock in our studio Appeal, and as partners they were more inclined to help us proceed with the sequel. They were cautious though. The sales reports from Outcast were underwhelming, way below their one million initial target (we ended up selling slightly over 400k boxed units).

At first we managed to sign a pre-production deal and we proceed with R&D and graphics design. As sales were disapointing on the PC, Infogrames insisted that we should make the game for consoles first. They also insisted to have more action and less adventure, because that’s what console gamers want they said, something Yves Grolet in particular was not very happy with.

FROM PC TO PLAYSTATION 2

Another difficulty started when it became evident the Playstation 2 would be the best selling console of the generation. Yves wanted to work on the Xbox, which was the superior console in term of rendering capabilities, and easier to work with, but from the publisher’s point of view it made no sense to work for the smaller installed base. We all liked the idea of working on consoles in general, as close systems have their sets of challenges but are very interesting to work on, and we had this arcade background that made us probably overconfident, especially considering the Playstation 2.

The Playstation 2 was a very difficult console to work with, especially for a studio with most of its engineers only experienced on PC, and it took some times to get the dev kits and actually realise what a PS2 was (there was a lot of speculation at the time). With the dev kits finally available, we were progressing slowly and initially had a lot of performances and stability issues. At some point, Yves would decide to quit and start his own company (elseWhere Entertainment) to work on the Xbox.

We finally signed a production agreement. At first it was a 7 million contract, but got reduced to 5 million as Infogrames was starting to feel pressure from the market. We managed to develop a working demo with a lot more work also done behind the scene on the game’s universe and environments, but we were far from being ready to ship an actual product. Internal difficulties also raised when we hired a designer to replace Yves, only to find out a bit late that the guy was heading the design in the wrong direction. That didn’t help either as we had to rethink the whole design again in the middle of the production.

The project was killed after spending about 3 millions as Infogrames stocks were hitting a new low in 2001 after the internet bubble (and all IT companies as a side effects) exploded. They pretty much killed all their 3rd party projects, focussing all remaining funds to their internal studio, Eden Games.

THE START OF THE END

However, as Infogrames were shareholders in our company, they couldn’t kill us so easily (they would have to clear-up the debts). Instead they sold us back their stocks in exchange of a new pre-production contract around a Tintin game. We didn’t have much choice if we wanted to keep the studio alive, but for them it was a win-win situation, they were set free from their shareholder duties and had a working prototype they could show to Moulinsart (the company that holds the rights to Tintin).

When the Tintin prototype was completed, they did not sign the Tintin game (purposely or not we have no idea) and we went bankrupt in 2002. Yann Robert and I purchased back most of the assets belonging to Appeal the Curator could not sell, including the unfinished technology that would help us later to develop and (finally) ship Playstation 2 games Wild Water Adrenaline and Mountain Bike Adrenaline.

Some additional details were shared in February 2015 by Gamestar during an interview with Frank Sauer. We learned in particular that the game was running on a brand new engine called Himalaya, replacing the voxel technology, used on the first title, in favor of one working with polygons. For instance, it allowed to display swirling dust particles in some levels.

Still according to Franck Sauer, the story took place just after the events of the first Outcast, where the main character, Cutter Slade, now living alone in a hut in the mountains, receives a distress call from a Talan, the natives from the planet Adelpha, about an invasion of humans, called New World Army and helped by soldier bots, coming to colonize the planet. A parallel with the film Avatar was notably drawn. Other novelties planned in the sequel were the addition of an all-terrain vehicle for travelling in the open world as well as new levels and territories, such as, for example, a spaceship that Cutter had to hijack in order to be able to move from one area to another.

After more than a decade without the license being mentioned, Appeal, under the name DAOKA Studio at the time, attempted a first comeback for a reboot of the first game in high definition called Outcast Reboot HD in 2014 on Kickstarter, unfortunately without success. Later that same year, the developers, under the Fresh3D’s name, ported the original game to Steam as Outcast 1.1, before managing to release their HD remake in 2017 under the name Outcast: Second Contact on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 thanks to BigBen Interactive as publisher. At the beginning of 2019, the publisher THQ Nordic bought the license before officially announcing a sequel on September 17 2021, still developed by the original team, renamed once again Appeal Studios, and called Outcast 2: A New Beginning, almost 20 years after the cancellation of the original planned sequel.

Article updated by Daniel Nicaise, thanks to Marcel Lutrix for the contribution!

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City of the Dead (Kuju Entertainment) [PC, Xbox, PS2 – Cancelled]

City of the Dead, also known as The Living Dead : City of the Dead and George A. Romero’s City of the Dead, is a canceled horror first-person shooter developed by Kuju Entertainment and published by Hip Interactive for PC, Xbox and Playsation 2 platforms in 2005.

Presented as “the goriest game ever made”, City of the Dead was first revealed in August 2004 by none other than American McGee as his next game, wanting to sign a deal with Living Dead Productions, the company of the father of the Zombie film, George A. Romero:

“Recently, my company TMIEC partnered with Asylum Entertainment to bring to life a new Romero concept called “City of the Dead”. We’re now in the process of shopping the interactive rights to games publishers. The tagline for the product is “the goriest game ever made”.

Only a few days after that, American McGee announced that it could finally be MercurySteam Entertainment instead of Asylum developing City of the Dead:

“The guys at MercurySteam sent over a couple of cool zombie concept images. Based on what an amazing job they’ve done on Scrapland we’re really excited to have them attached to develop the Romero “City of the Dead” game.”

In December of the same year, Hip Interactive revealed to have signed a deal with Living Dead Productions about a game named City of the Dead, without saying if it was the same concept initially pitched by American McGee, or a brand new one as some media would later said that it was a different game:

“Horror fans have been searching for the ultimate experience in gaming, and we intend to deliver it to them with the tremendous creative input of legendary director, George A. Romero, and Living Dead Productions,” said Arindra Singh, President and CEO of Hip Interactive.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to share George’s work and ideas with the game buying public,” said Simon Bailey, Managing Director of Living Dead Productions. “We are very impressed with the quality of work that Hip will bring to the games. George’s fans and gamers alike will not be disappointed!”

Shortly after this announcement, media revealed that it was ultimately Kuju Entertainment that would develop it, replacing MercurySteam, which was slated for release in March 2006:

“Back in December, Hip Interactive announced it will produce games based on the work of horror director George A. Romero, creator of classic zombie-fests like Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.

Hip Interactive has recruited developer Kuju Entertainment to produce the first of the Romero games, which is expected to appear by March of 2006.”

The game was officially announced shortly before E3 2005 in a statement from Hip Interactive:

“City of the Dead” begins as four desperate survivors escape a ravaged zombie infested city by helicopter. After making it to the remote island of Isla Mortal (N.B. : some media wrote that the name of the setting was Island of Ningun Futuro instead), an accident destroys their only means of escape. Unbeknown to them the island is home to a top secret military installation, overrun by the walking dead. Armed with an arsenal of traditional and futuristic weaponry, players must battle the living dead from dusk ’till dawn in series of abandoned locales. With split-screen co-op missions, party mode, and four-player online feature, “City of the Dead” also promises a range of multiplayer features that allow gamers to play as human or zombie.”

We also learned that Tom Savini lent his voice to one of the main characters:

“The company also revealed today that Tom Savini, star of From Dusk till Dawn and known  horror makeup artist, will lend his voice and likeness to City of the Dead. Savini will play William “Red” McLean, a battle-worn ex-cop who initially lends support to the player, but will eventually be a playable character himself.”

Presented at E3 2005, the game received various previews from IGN, Gamespy and Gamespot. Thus, IGN wrote:

“Hip Games’ City of the Dead is a first-person shooter that’s “Trying to become Burnout for the shooting genre.” That’s at least according to company representatives, anyway. Judging by the short presentation we saw, it seems that City of the Dead can more accurately be described as, “a totally vicious FPS that features buckets of blood interspersed with the occasional cubic ton of tenderized brain matter.” City of the Dead does still feature some cool Burnout-like gameplay elements, though.

One of the modes within City of the Dead mimics Burnout 3’s infamous Crash Mode and tasks players with killing as many zombies as possible with a single shot from a specific weapon. To do this, players will want to wait for the most opportune moment to fire their weapon at one of a number of preset environmental hazards, be they massive crates suspended from cranes or conveniently placed combustible barrels. Once you shoot, the widely used Havok physics systems will take care of the rest. This way the results of the action are always different.

In terms of an actual story mode, City of the Dead features one city, some animated dead people who are terribly reluctant to stop moving, and a few dudes who’d really like to not become one of them.

In a way, City of the Dead sort of resembles a cross between Resident Evil and Soldier of Fortune. That is, the game features an excessive amount of dismemberment and gore, which it is not at all afraid to highlight with a number of cinematic, slow-mo camera swoops, zooms and pans. But unlike Soldier of Fortune, the enemies just keep on coming.

Before we go, check out this cool thing we noticed that most people might overlook… When you shoot an enemy, he is entirely governed by physics, meaning he’ll flop around like any good rag doll should. But, totally unlike just about every other game under the sun, enemies in City of the Dead can actually get up and begin animating after the physics routine has initiated and played out. This is, as far as we know, a technical problem no other developer has yet been able to resolve well (at least we haven’t seen it implemented in any other game).”

Gamespot, for its part, told us:

“City of the Dead isn’t based on any specific Romero films, but it is based within the larger Dead universe. In it, you play as one of five different characters, all of which are just trying to survive in a city that has been overrun with the walking dead.

The game itself is a first-person shooter, and it really doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a fast-paced arcade shooter. You’ll find a number of different weapon types, including pistols, machine guns, grenades, and shotguns. There were a couple of unique aspects of the weapons we saw. For instance, the shotgun is fully pump-action, meaning each time you fire, you’ll have to manually reload it using the left trigger button. While that might seem a little cumbersome at first, it actually wasn’t, and it seemed to add to the intensity of the action. Another cool thing is the way you can kind of jury-rig other things onto your weapons to make them more effective in melee combat. For example, you can tie a shovel to the butt of the shotgun, making it much easier to explode a zombie’s head. The same can be done to your pistols, by taping brass knuckles to them.

Zombies tend to travel in groups, and they come in different varieties. Obviously, there’s the usual lumbering, biting, angry zombie, but we also saw a cop zombie, who continually fired a shotgun at us at random intervals and a leaper zombie, a creepy little guy who crawls around on the ground and then jumps at you. Zombies cannot be killed unless you destroy the brain, but you can knock them backward or even blow off body parts if you hit them elsewhere.

There will be 14 to 16 story missions in the game, though the story here is barely the focus. The developers used Burnout as an example of how they are really looking to make a super-arcadey, over-the-top kind of game. So a lot of the mission objectives will be appropriately focused on killing as many zombies as you can, without much worry about anything else. Once you complete the story mode, you’ll also have arcade and multiplayer modes to check out. The arcade mode works similarly to Soul Calibur’s weapon master mode. You’ll be given a series of available challenges, each with semi-arbitrary rules, like you can only use melee combat, or you have to kill a certain number of a specific type of zombie. The multiplayer will be online for up to four players and features competitive and cooperative play. The cooperative mode sounds especially cool, as during the mode, your friends can be infected. Here, you can opt to just kill your partner immediately, sparing him the change of death, or you can keep him alive long enough to help you kill some more zombies. You’ll have to be careful, however, because once they turn, they’ll come after you.”

Finally, the Gamespy preview said:

“The game’s big visual attraction is the physics engine which flings zombies realistically around based on point of impact. Naturally, this means that there will be a variety of classic weapons such as pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers to turn the zombies into so much zombie goulash. Since it takes a headshot to kill these things, the game also rewards good shots with a beautiful images of exploding heads using a slow motion “bullet-time” effect. Given how tough the zombies are, though, it’ll take more than just a steady hand to take them out, though. That’s why the environment is full of exploding things such as gas canisters, fuel drums and crates of explosives that can set off awesome chain reactions. Judicious use of these items will be vital in clearing out levels in story mode.

As much fun as story mode looks, though, it doesn’t really hold a candle to the “One-shot” levels. These are bonus levels that are unlocked as the player goes through story mode. Undoubtedly inspired by Burnout 3’s crash challenges, the “One-shot” levels puts you in an enclosed space with a bunch of zombies wandering around and a gun with only one bullet. The challenge is to pick out the correct exploding device to shoot to set off a chain reaction that will kill as many zombies as possible in as entertaining a manner as possible.

City of the Dead will sport a multiplayer mode, but rather than just offer up a vanilla deathmatch capability, the game will instead sport a four-player co-op mode that works off the strengths of the setting. If a player gets bitten once during the game (as opposed to shot or hit), that’s it, a countdown timer starts, the player dies, and turns into a zombie. That means that even though four players start the game together, eventually someone’s going to end up a zombie — and that’s where the real fun starts. Players who become zombies will respawn as new zombies when they die and start hunting those who are still alive. They get all the strengths and weakness of the undead (slow speed and incredible resilience), so the game for the zombies becomes using their brains to set up ambushes for the human players.”

Unfortunately, only 2 months after City of the Dead was revealed, Hip Interactive filed for bankruptcy:

“After failing to strike a last-minute deal to bolster its shaky finances, Hip Interactive said it has ceased operations and would close its doors completely in short order. The company said this morning that “discussions with a third party to provide interim relief in respect of the Company’s immediate financing needs were not successful.”

“The publisher had a number of high-profile games on its upcoming slate including Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End, George Romero’s City of the Dead, and Jackie Chan Adventures. There has been no word on which publishers are in line to pick up those and other games due from Hip.”

Only a month after the publisher’s demise, Kuju Entertainment was trying to find a new one for the game, but alas, no deal will materialize and City of the Dead vanished after this news. It was once suggested that Freeze Interactive, a Franco-Swiss publisher founded by former staffs of the European branch of Hip Interactive, had taken over the game, now titled World of the Dead, but nothing was officially confirmed, and World of the Dead disappeared very quickly without any information, just like Freeze Interactive. This rumor followed the fact that Ghost Wars, another game initially canceled with the closure of Hip Interactive, was taken over by Freeze shortly after.

Article by Daniel Nicaise

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Ghost Wars/Field Ops (Digital Reality) [PC – Cancelled]

Ghost Wars (later named Field Ops) is a cancelled strategy shooter that was in development around 2004 by Digital Reality (mostly known for Imperium Galactica and Sine Mora), planned to be published in 2006 on PC by Hip Interactive. The game was quite ambitious for its genre, as you would have been able to play it as a traditional real-time strategy game or impersonate each soldier in your unit to play it as a first / third person shooter.

“Based on the Government Special Operations Group, “Ghost Wars” takes players into the clandestine and secret war against terrorism. Players take control of air, land and sea units of an Elite Special Forces group across multiple top secret missions. With the graphical quality of a first person shooter, “Ghost Wars” will offer gamers the most accurate depiction of modern day warfare to date.

Through Battlefield View, “Ghost Wars” brings the theatre of war to life. Gamers are not only tested on their strategic senses, but also on their ability to react quickly under enemy fire by directly controlling individual units. By setting up, equipping and planning troops’ activities, gamers will need to utilize state-of-the art weapons and technology to defeat terrorist networks.”

The game was also playable at E3 2005, GameSpot published some favorable comments on the demo:

“You’ll have the typical type of units, including soldiers, tanks, helicopters, and such. However, what makes Ghost Wars unique is how you control them. While you can just use the typical kind of point-and-click movement, you can also select a specific unit and zoom the camera in to take its viewpoint. If you choose a soldier, you’ll go into first person, and if you pick a vehicle, you’ll go to third person. From there, you can control that unit manually, attacking whatever you like. Soldiers can also get into parked vehicles on the field and drive them.”

“Units in the game will be upgradable in a number of ways, letting you specifically level up individual units to improve their performance on the battlefield. And you’ll need to level up, because Digital Reality is endeavoring to make the opponent AI in the game quite challenging. AI units will run for cover and hide inside buildings, meaning you’ll have to bring in your tanks and choppers to take those buildings down. And boy, can you. Though not all the deformable objects were in, the developers showed us quite a number of big-time building and vehicle explosions that looked pretty impressive.”

While Ghost Wars looked promising, Hip Interactive closed for bankruptcy in late 2005. The game was canned, with many more of their projects, such as “Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End” and “George Romero’s City of the Dead”.

Nonetheless, following the cancellation of Ghost Wars, former members from Hip Interactive Europe formed a new entity named Freeze Interactive to ensure the development of the game, rebranded as Field Ops, and still developed by Digital Reality, in 2006:

“Swiss-based publishing house Freeze Interactive, and developer Digital Reality are proud to announce Field Ops the first PC Real-Time-Strategy Shooter !

Field Ops brings together, in a unique presentation, the two favourites genres of PC gamers;Real-Time-Strategy and First-Person Shooter.

Field Ops is the perfect mix between strategy and fast-paced military action. Move into the fascinating world of anti-terrorism and manage every aspect of gameplay from strategic planning to taking out the main bad guy with your sniper rifle.

What Field Ops brings, to the genre and to games in general, is a genuine revolution that combines immersion and strategic thinking.”

Game features:

  • 5 Unique locations
  • More than 8 different classes per side
  • First-Person shooter AAA quality graphics
  • True to life Physics engine
  • Immersive and exciting multiplayer modes featuring a worldwide ranking system
  • Real vehicles and weapons for the most authentic Special Forces experience
  • Fight on the ground, in the air and over water
  • Motion-captured animations for the most realistic experience ever
  • Tactical A.I. allowing for exciting gameplay in both RTS and FPS views

The game was showed at the Game Convention 2006, where Gamespot managed to write a preview for the multiplayer mode:

“The game features three different multiplayer modes that will be familiar to fans of FPS games, namely VIP rescue, bomb run, and conquest. Before you set up a multiplayer game, you have to create a customised team squad, built using an allocation of multiplayer points that you can spend on different skilled individuals. In the demo that we saw, we could choose from medics, snipers, and special-operative soldiers, although more classes will be available in the full game.”

“With one team playing as US counterterrorists and one as the terrorists, the conquest game requires you to capture key places on the map in order to take over, although killing off all of the opposing team will also earn victory for the map. As in most strategy games, units can be deployed individually or in groups. Fog of war affects the battlefield in multiplayer, so you can’t monitor your opponent’s movements until your units actually see them firsthand.”

“While you can leave the killing to the AI, it’s much more effective to control the engaged units yourself, especially if you can perform headshots. While the combination could ultimately turn out to be a gimmick, combining your skills in the two genres is an essential part of the gameplay. Though you could stick to one discipline, you’ll ultimately suffer unless you embrace the advantages that each perspective has to offer.”

The full game will feature online and LAN play for up to six people, and because the game scores you on your losses and victories, you should be able to match up to players of a similar ability. A number of different character classes will be added that we didn’t get to see in the demo, including heavy machine gunners, technicians, engineers, and demolition experts.

The mix of two complementary genres in Field Ops makes it an interesting proposition, especially for fans of the two styles. While the multiplayer demo had its share of problems at this stage, such as slowdown in the first-person mode and a lack of playable classes, there’s plenty of time for Freeze to tidy it up before the Q1 2007 release.”

In the beginning of 2007, Gamespot again was also able to write a preview on the campaign:

“The story goes that a failed coup d’etat on the island of Cuba has split the country in two, and Santiago de Cuba has become the new base for the rebels. Our task in the mission was to head over to a checkpoint outside a ruined church and sit tight while reinforcements made their way to us. Once that was accomplished, we were required to make our way over to the building that the rebel leader was holed up in and capture him by eliminating his troops.

The map itself is set out very much in the style of games like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, with dusty, mazy streets and rebel soldiers hiding around every corner. To begin with, it’s tempting to try and play through the game by jumping into the shoes of a single soldier and clearing the way in first-person mode, only zooming back out every so often to get your medic to heal you.

We found that a much better tactic was to move our men around in the zoomed-out strategy setting, as it was much clearer to work out not just where to go but also which direction the bullets were coming from. Our small team could be split up into two-man designations of Alpha and Bravo, used as a group of four, or even as individuals when necessary, and it’s possible to jump into any soldier’s shoes in first-person mode at any time.

Just by looking at the map, we could tell that there were usually two or more routes through any part of the section of city we were in, and therefore it made sense to split the team in two to try and outflank the opposition where possible. However, although that sounds simple in principle, the game still currently suffers from some issues with the artificial intelligence. Because the use of cover is vital, the general behaviour of your soldiers is crucial, and at this point some of the pathfinding is a little out.

It’s clear there’s plenty of potential for Digital Reality to produce an absorbing, compelling action strategy game that will force you to think carefully about how to progress through each part of a level. As long as the AI gets a hefty polish, and the frame rate picks up, we’ll be looking forward to seeing more.”

However, it seems that more troubles occured for Field Ops after those presentations. Initially planned for a release in the beginning of 2007, the game simply disappeared without a trace, just like it’s publisher. A year after that, French website Jeuxvideopc.com received the confirmation by Take-Two Interactive, who had the rights to publish the game in French speaking countries, that it was definitely canceled without much information:

“Field Ops, Digital Reality’s FPS / STR, has just been canceled. Take-Two confirmed this information to us without giving us any further information. We therefore do not know the exact reasons for the cancellation of this project but the implementation of a complex gameplay is probably the cause.”

Oddly enough, a few months after that announcement, a small company named Atomic Motion, created by some developers from Digital Reality, revealed their first and only game: Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger, which was eventually released in 2009, with a lots of concepts and design ideas taken from what was supposed to be Ghost Wars/Field Ops.

Article by Monokoma and Daniel Nicaise

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