I heard at E3 that the new downloadable War of the Worlds game might remind people of the lovely, spooky black-and-white sidescroller Limbo. But when I saw the downloadable game at the Xbox 360 booth at the Penny Arcade Expo, I and two other passersby all made a different comparison: Out of this World.
This new War of the Worlds game is a throwback to game designer Eric Chahi's classic, a game that people talk about in the context of Greatest Games of All Time. That game, called Another World or Out of this World depending on which country you lived in, was a sidescrolling adventure game with lots of climbing and combat puzzles. The heavy influence of that formula and of the pace of action in Chahi's classic was evident in this new War of the Worlds. (Caution: Our own Owen Good checked out the game at E3and was only lukewarm about the gameplay then. He was more optimistic about its mood and storytelling.)
One expects any War of the Worlds project to be capable of recapturing some of the greatness of H.G. Wells' original work. It's a surprise that a new video game about that lore, at least has a shot of recapturing the greatness of an entirely different classic. That is an extremely hard standard to meet. Best of luck to the folks at Other Ocean who are making the game.
War of the Worlds is slated for an October release as a downloadable game on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
I should note that the homages to Chahi's are not accidental. The new game's creators discussed their appreciation for his work in a recent developer diary (see left). The diary also shows some gorgeous gameplay sections that we didn't come close to reaching at PAX.