Starbreeze Studios

Epsilon Conflict (Starbreeze Studios) [PC – Cancelled]

The Epsilon Conflict is a cancelled sci-fi RTS game that was in development around 2001 by Starbreeze Studios and O3 Games, planned to be released on PC. The game was focused on the pro-gaming/ e-Sport community and the team recruited two top StarCraft players (Guillaume Patry “Grrrr…” and Victor Martyn “[9]eVERLAST”) to help design gameplay and mechanics.

The project was still in early development when announced and unfortunately they never showed any screenshot. Players would have been able to choose between three factions (similar to the Zerg, Protoss and Terran in StarCraft) and lead their army in a multi-scenario campaign with optional missions. Epsilon Conflict would feature almost 40 different types of units and 9 heroes with unique abilities, gaining experience and new skills, just like in an RPG.

Starbreeze Studios and O3 Games focused most of their efforts on the multiplayer mode, with an Anti-cheat system and audio / text chat between teams and allies. We can find some of the planned features in the original press release:

  • Easy and transparent rules of the game that allow you to fully develop your tactical potential.
  • Adapting SI making its own strategic decisions.
  • Navigation point system.
  • Campaign for single-player gameplay with integrated training.
  • A dynamic story evolving in 30 missions, with several decisive tasks.
  • Cooperative mode for single player.
  • Campaign editor.
  • An open storyline with an easy way to expand with additional campaigns and scripts.
  • Anti-cheat system in multiplayer mode.
  • Innovative system of communication between teams and allies.

And interview with Marco Ahlgren (lead designer of the game) was also published on Stomped:

“There will be 3 totally different sides in the game. They will have different production systems, supply systems, tech trees. In short they have totally different game play. That allows for a rich playing experience where you can just play another side when you start to feel bored of one type of game play. We reveal no details about the different sides at this point though.

36+ heroes. We are making a lot of cool/crazy units. This is one of the design phases that I enjoy the most. The craziest units have to be carefully tested though. But you would be surprised if you saw the wicked stuff that we come up with.

We have studied the present multiplayer modes on some different RTS titles. That experience tells us that making 25 different multiplayer modes is no good. The community will settle for the 3-4 best ones anyway. We will have 4-5 well worked through modes. The whole game is suited for tournament play.

We want to make the single player experience more like an “InteractiveMovie” where you as player should get sucked straight into the game and forget the world around then waking up after 5 hours saying, “Wow.” =)

We are working on a E3 prototype at the moment. It is all up and running already, but there is still a lot of functionality left to be implemented. If we wanted to, the project should be signed already. But it is very important to get the “right” publisher for this project. The publisher has to be of a certain size and it is very important to belong to the publishers highest priority titles. It is very easy to get lost somewhere amongst 50 title releases. We demand an 100% commitment.”

A year and a half after the start of the project, the Epsilon Conflict  was canned. Rumors say the game turned out to not be as fun to play as they hoped for and Starbreeze Studios apparently feared it would not withstand competition against other RTS.

If you know someone who worked on this lost game and could help us preserve screenshots or videos, please let us know!

Thanks to Josef for the contribution! 

Sorcery [PC – Cancelled]

Sorcery was to be the first, ambitious project of game developer Starbreeze Studios, who have been responsible for such titles as the Chronicles of Riddick series, and Enclave. They have developed games that have been seen on all of the major consoles since the Xbox. Sorcery was conceived in 1997, long before either of these well-received titles.

Little information is available about Sorcery, and what we do know comes largely from interviews with the developers. Sorcery would have been a fast-paced RPG, with a “high fantasy” setting. The player would have taken the role of a young mage seeking to restore order in a war-torn continent.

The unique thing about Sorcery‘s gameplay is that it was being created with an almost exclusively magical combat system. Instead of using weapons, the protagonist would have used various spells to take down opponents. The creators described the gameplay of the concept as “a cross between Diablo and Quake, with a huge world to explore and lots of quests to solve”. Indeed, the game would have contained a number of different activities and tasks for the player outside of the main plot, giving the game a heightened sense of freedom. Despite its fast-paced nature, strategy and puzzles would have been important gameplay elements.

Another promising aspect of the game was its custom-made 3D engine. The engine, created by Starbreeze, included support for movable mirrors/portals, illuminated volumetric fog, skeleton animation/deformation, animatable multitexturing materials, dynamic lighting, day/night cycling and curved surfaces with variable tesselation degrees depending on a user’s computer’s capabilities. In 1998, when 3-dimensional gaming was still in its infancy, these technologies would no doubt have been a very impressive.

Sorcery would also have contained a multiplayer mode, although the developers have admitted that this part of the game was only going to be included after the single-player game was completely polished. We know that the multiplayer side would have included team play, action and “plenty of possibilities to develop your own playing styles”, according to one of the game’s developers.

Starbreeze Studios originally found a company called Gremlin Interactive to publish Sorcery. However, after Starbreeze merged with O3 games in 2001, the game was sadly deprioritised, and never reached completion. However, the company has gone on to make excellent games since the project’s demise.

Thanks to Megalol for the contribution!




Enclave 2 [XBOX/PS2 – Cancelled]

Enclave 2 is a cancelled action game that was in development by Starbreeze Studios. The sequel’s story takes place after the last great war between the outlanders and the enclavers, a period in which magic is no longer present in the land. However, The Light Book, which speaks of a land filled with magic, falls into the hands of an evil sorceress named Callia, who attempts to seize the magic for herself. Fortunately, a young sorcerer apprentice named Erlendur is sent to stop her.

Enclave II would of featured 10 playable characters, 28 maps, and a revamped combat system. An official release date was never announced.