Illusion Softworks

Enemy in Sight [PC – Cancelled]

Enemy in Sight is the cancelled spiritual sequel to the Hidden and Dangerous series, in development around 2005 by Illusion Softworks and Pterodo (later merged and acquired by Take-Two Interactive in 2008, renamed as 2K Czech) and planned to be published by Atari for PC. It was conceived as a new multi and single player military shooter, set on 100-square km battlefield. The team wanted to offer interactive environments deformable by explosions, where players could drive military vehicles (tanks, airplanes):

“Centred around a great war between superpowers in the very near future, the game focuses on first person action set within vast battle landscapes. Massive online multiplayer capabilities enhance the sheer scale and dramatic impact of the fire fights and battles within the sprawling, realistic environments. Every building can be destroyed, the landscape is fully deformable, and players can command any of over 25 vehicles in the game, all based on their real-life counterparts and painstakingly designed to scale.”

Some details were shared in an interview by Gamespot with former Atari producer Peter Wyse:

GameSpot: Give us a brief overview of Enemy in Sight.

Peter Wyse: The cold war never died. It just went into a deep freeze until global events brought it to a full boil. You are a soldier in today’s army. You are called into action to fight a conventional war between Russian and American forces using today’s latest technology. You have all of the modern weapons of war at your disposal, from the latest machine guns to the laser-guided missile launchers, from modern tanks to state-of-the-art helicopters.

GS: Tell us about Enemy in Sight’s multiplayer. Will it emphasize team play over lone-wolf tactics?

PW: Modern warfare is about team play and team tactics. We could not build a credible multiplayer game using modern weaponry without building scenarios and battlefields that will rely heavily on team tactics. So there will be scenarios that force players to combine ground, air, and artillery support to strike a target. But we do recognize that going it alone has its own appeal, and for those players that want to test their limits against overwhelming odds, we have created Green Beret mode.

GS: Tell us about the actual gameplay. Could you disclose the modes at this point? Is the game going to be focused on head-to-head deathmatching or on goal-oriented gameplay?

PW: The single-player mode is very objective-oriented, as you’ll be defending or attacking key targets, engaging enemies, establishing new frontlines, and collecting intelligence, to name a few of the scenarios. But the multiplayer and quick-play modes support a number of different scenarios and allow you to tailor your gameplay experience to your own flavor and speed. For example, if all you want to do is drive tanks and run through buildings, there will be scenarios that are very tank-centric. We’ll announce the specific modes at a later date, but variety of gameplay is not an issue.”

Soon the project vanished and in May 2006 Atari sold the project to another publisher due to financial problems. In 2007 part of the Illusions Softworks team left the studio and most of the remaining developers had to focus their efforts on finishing Mafia II, finally released in 2010

Thanks to Dan for the contribution!

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HiTech (Illusion Softworks) [PS3, Xbox 360, PC – Cancelled]

HiTech is a cancelled action / stealth game that was planned for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2006 / 2007 by Illusion Softworks (now known as 2K Czech), the team mostly known for the Hidden & Dangerous and Mafia series. The project was still in early development and without a playable prototype when it was canned. Only a concept video was created to pitch the game to publishers, but unfortunately they did not find any company interested and had to cancel it. Instead, they continued working on Mafia II, later released in 2010.

The project was lead by Daniel Vávra, game designer who worked at Illusion Softworks since 1998 on Hidden and Dangerous and Mafia I & II. Vávra shown the HiTech concept footage in 2007 during his presentation titled “How to make a game” and the video was later uploaded on Youtube. From what we can see in this pitch video, HiTech’s gameplay could have been similar to other action / stealth games such as Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, but in a sci-fi setting.

As we can read in the video intro:

“Year 2025. A group of terrorists sabotaged military robot tests inside Adler Group production facility. The robots went out of control and slaughtered AG staff. Terrorists provided media with video footage of this massacre. The facility has been evacuated and the nemesis team has been called in. The objective is to regain control and cover up the incident.”

Thanks to superannuation for the contribution!

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Moscow Rhapsody (Illusion Softworks) [X360/PS3 – Cancelled]

Moscow Rhapsody is a canceled first-person shooter published by D3 Publisher and developed by Illusion Softworks, between 2006 and 2008, exclusively for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

For several years, little information circulated regarding Moscow Rhapsody, until August 2019, when the Czech website Visiongame.cz interviewed Marek Rabas, who was lead programmer on the game, in order to learn more about its concept and the origin of its cancellation:

VG: So you mentioned that you left after the unannounced Illusion Softworks project was canceled. We have it in the archive, it’s Moscow Rhapsody. Could you tell us more about this game? Apart from a few pictures, not much can be found about it. So was it’s cancellation a reason for you to leave?

Marek Rabas: “Moscow Rhapsody was a First-Person Shooter that had some interesting inspirations. The first was Rainbow Six : Vegas, which combined 1st person and 3rd person cameras. So it was the FPS where you used the covers, and when you were in the cover, the camera just switched to 3rd person. The story took place in Russia and was inspired by the book Icon, which dealt with the coup. When some people go crazy and shoot the president, creating total chaos in the country. The player then had to move in this situation and try to solve it. It had a very interesting concept. I think that the game had hope of success and we worked on it for two years, helping to make the engine on which Mafia runs. Unfortunately Moscow Rhapsody was made for publisher D3 and not for 2K Games. So when 2K bought us, they canceled the project and moved people out of it to complete Mafia II. So it was an impulse for us to leave. They took our project and the relationship between the Mafia II team and the Moscow Rhapsody team was not entirely good.”

After the release of Mafia II, Illusion Softworks (then renamed 2K Czech) was merged with another internal studio at 2K Games, Hangar 13, to continue developing other games based on the Mafia license.

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