Hostile Intent (Not to be confused with the Half-Life mod of the same name) was a First Person Shooter that was being developed by American company Aware Entertainment during 2002 and 2003. Aware Entertainment were based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and were founded in January 2001 by Andrew Roberto while he was still in Law School, with the studio born from a desire to create “truly interactive computer games”. This was their very first project.
With a fairly outlandish plot and a gritty look, the concept of Hostile Intent seemed to fall somewhere between Battlefield, Rainbow Six and even the James Bond series. It was described by Aware as an intense, fast-paced shooter while simultaneously offering an open-ended gameplay experience.
The backstory of the game would have offered us a little bit of alternate history as the setup:
“In 1945, just after the end of the second World War, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a covert organization called “Leviathan” to combat any perceived threats against the free world. Leviathan was cleared to use any means that governments could not publicly endorse, whether it be kidnapping, assassination, sabotage, arms-dealing, corporate espionage or even triggering war and, due to the nature of these methods, the organization was to be a secret to everyone with the exception of a single member of the executive branch of the US, who would then pass on the knowledge to a successor once he left office.
However, just a few months later, any knowledge of Leviathan dies with Roosevelt, who suffers a cerebral hemorrhage before he can disclose the existence of the organization to vice-president Harry S. Truman. With no one to keep it in check and its funding structure firmly secure, Leviathan goes on to attain massive influence over the world’s affairs, essentially becoming a shadowy world government with the power to deploy its forces anywhere it deems necessary.
Decades later, their reign is threatened by a prodigious and mentally-ill hacker known as “Xander”, who has plans of world domination. Using his computer skills to steal from the elite and big businesses, he funds a personal army that he dubs “Alliance Of Anarchy” to achieve his goal and while trying to send false orders to one of the world’s armies, he accidentally reveals himself to the Leviathan leadership, a former high ranking member of the CIA known only as “Spyder”. With both factions now aware of each other, a battle for supremacy begins as Xander escalates conflicts around the world and sends his mercenary army to hunt down his rival, hoping to take advantage of Spyder’s distraction and stretched resources in his efforts to bring the world back under Leviathan control.”
In the middle of this mess, the player would assume the role of J.D. Knox, a former marine and Leviathan operative recruited by Spyder, as he is deployed in battlefields around the world. These would include some obvious choices for the time, such as Iraq and Chechnya, but places such as North Korea would also make an appearance.
Hostile Intent was quite ambitious in the gameplay department. Aware would claim in several interviews that the game would not only feature levels with infinitely generated landscapes, but also a fully destructible environment, complete with terrain deformation, made possible by Aware’s own custom made engine which they were also hoping to license out for other games.
With a scope this large, the player would have at his disposal a large amount of real-life weapons and vehicles to fight with and get around. In addition to over 20 guns that ranged from pistols to rocket launchers and laser target designators, Hostile Intent would allow us to get inside the M1A1 Abrams tank, the Humvee, the Bradley APC, Hokum, Apache and Comanche helicopters, and even several boats.
With this feature set, it should come as no surprise that Hostile Intent was being developed with multiplayer action in mind. In addition to all the modes one would expect, such as Deathmatch and objective-based missions like hostage rescue, the game would also feature modes that could take advantage of its capacity for environment destruction, with up to 32 players joining the mayhem at once.
However, it does not seem that the single player experience would suffer as a result of this online focus, as the open-endedness of the gameplay allowed for not only a large amount of replayability, but the levels themselves would have been populated by NPCs, both hostile and friendly, in addition to the main enemy force. The main campaign would have been team-based and, although Hostile Intent was not meant to be a pure tactical shooter, it would have offered some depth when it came to player movement, with the ability to lean around corners and to go prone, and even the possibility to employ stealth.
2003 saw Hostile Intent build up a little bit of hype among some of the smaller gaming websites. With a release date estimated for late 2004, Aware claimed in an interview that they had several publishers interested in their game, but no deal had been finalized at that point in time. The last update on their official website seems to have been on September 15 of 2003 and, by 2004, the website no longer existed. Hostile Intent, and by extension Aware, had seemingly died, and whether that was due to difficulties with publishing, overambition, or a combination of both, remains unknown.
Article by thecursebearer, thanks to Daniel Nicaise for the contribution!