Lost Planet 3 Creator's Mystery Game, MMO on Consoles and Other Gaming Secrets

Editor's Note: Imagine that there are secrets about video games buried under the soil on which you stand. The mysterious person known as Superannuation wields a shovel; so please step a little to the left and see what Superannuation is digging up just for you...

According to a job posting for Lost Planet 3 [concept art pictured above] developers Spark Unlimited, the Los Angeles studio is working on a "3rd Person Episodic RPG title for current and next gen IOS platforms." The listing further describes the project as containing "single player and multiplayer turn based RPG gameplay in a widely accessible format" and "in-app purchases."

In addition to this mobile RPG and Lost Planet 3, Spark Unlimited is developing a mysterious console "Third Person Action/Slasher" that is Unreal Engine-based and features some sort of multiplayer component. Another listing on Spark's site mentions the title is "a bold new take on 3rd Person Action/Horror" and "based on an established console franchise."

While word of Spark's horror-slasher made headlines several months ago, the game only received the official greenlight last month. Although the combination of all of these elements led people to speculate this could be a Onimusha reboot, Capcom senior vice president Christian Svess wrote on the company's message board that he is "Not sure what [Spark's action-slasher project] is it but it isn't a project with us" — words that would seemingly preclude a game from a Capcom IP like Onimusha.

If Spark's franchise-based third-person hack n' slash horror title isn't Onimusha, what could it be if only a handful of franchises ostensibly fit that profile? A new Shinobi doesn't seem to mesh with Sega's current strategy. A Western-developed Ninja Gaiden or Tenchu is probably about as likely as Madden turning into Kinect dancing game. An externally developed re-imagining of Red Steel (heck, even another Red Steel game) or Dynasty Warriors appears equally unlikely. Konami already has a Castlevania title in Lords of Shadow 2. There are rumors of Crystal Dynamics-developed Legacy of Kain reboot, but that franchise does make a bit of sense.

Whatever the horror slasher and mobile RPG turn out to be, hopefully they are better than Turning Point.

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On his LinkedIn profile, a Turbine software engineer mentions that the WB-owned MMO specialists have some "unannounced mobile projects" on their plate, and appear to be continuing work on console projects.

A recent job posting says that studio, which now boasts a headcount of 500 employees, is working on a fourth unannounced online title, and the wording of the listing seems to suggest a multiplatform title (it's mostly the same copy from a year-old console engineer posting).

Turbine's console ambitions are nothing new and include at least two attempts at a console MMO. More specifically: according to Turbine system engineer's resume from last year, he worked on a cancelled console-exclusive MMO from July 2009 until August 2010, and began working on a console/PC title codenamed Project Hendrix thereafter.

A few months prior, there were rumors of a Lord of the Rings Online console version. At the 2009 Austin Game Developers Conference, Turbine's VP of product development, Craig Alexander, gave a talk about console MMOs wherein he discussed the company's console-exclusive title (seemingly the aforementioned cancelled one, as it was due for release in "early 2011") and emphatically stated that porting a PC MMO to consoles was a completely wrongheaded approach. This would maybe suggest the cancelled MMO was a console-oriented take on the Lord of the Rings Online, rather than a mere port.

There are no indications that the more recent, apparently cross-platform Project Hendrix — of which very little is known about, other than a seeming focus on PvP combat, if that resume is anything to go by — has been cancelled, and given the typically lengthy development cycle on an MMO, it is will likely be a bit of time before we hear details of this title.

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Two CVs of a contract programmer and an engineer for The Odd Gentlemen state that the behind the charming, silent film-inspired 2010 puzzler The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom are porting "an existing XBLA/PC game to iPhone [and iPad]." The most likely candidate for the port is probably the aforementioned The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, which was released on both XBLA and Steam in early 2010.

Other than a PlayStation Home mini-game released in January 2011, the Los Angeles indie studio — which briefly seemed poised to follow the trajectory of follow USC Interactive alumni like thatgamecompany and Giant Sparrow and become one of the major names in the city's burgeoning indie scene — has oddly (no pun intended) flown under the radar since the release of their first game. However, a recent job opening indicates The Odd Gentlemen is prepping several projects for mobile devices.

superannuation is a self-described "internet extraordinaire" residing somewhere in the Pacific Time Zone. He tweets, and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.

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