PLUS MORE GAMING SECRETS AND RUMORS: An HBO video game show? | Future Paradoxes | Soma | An Amazon.com MMO... what??
A former Namco developer recently uploaded this milestone video of early footage from a cancelled Snake Plissken game that was in development at the Namco's Bay Area studio, developers of the first Dead to Rights and innovative cover shooter Kill Switch, in 2003 and 2004.
Tentatively titled Snake Plissken's ESCAPE, the video's description says the game featured Kurt Russell's likeness, and a nearly finished campaign design with a storyline approved by the Escape franchise's principle creatives—Russell, John Carpenter, and the late Debra Hill.
The video depicts a rough, edgy character-action game fairly similar to Dead to Rights that offered players a choice between stealthy action or using guns, as well as some environment exploration in space environments with multiple paths.
According to Namco's 2003 announcement of the game, Snake Plissken's ESCAPE (initially known as Snake Plissken Chronicles) was slated for release for late 2005 and was "the first in the planned series of games."
According to an April 2012 filing at the US Copyright Office, HBO is working with screenwriter Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness and the forthcoming Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and his Sleepless Knights production company on a seemingly unannounced "Untitled Game Designer Project." Earlier in 2012, HBO acquired the rights to the documentary Indie Game: The Movie with the intent of turning it into a fictional half-hour series, but it is unclear whether this is related to that project or something else entirely.
The only mention I could find of Conrad working on a project for HBO is a Deadline Hollywood story from last year saying that the writer was working on an "untitled comedy" for the network and the production company of Enlightened and School of Rock writer Mike White. If this were the game designer project, I would guess it is different from the Indie Game show, which already Scott Rudin—a major producer—attached. This would, of course, mean HBO has two projects on game designers in the works, but presumably one would progress in the production process. HBO is an infamously selective network that works on dozens and dozens that of potential TV shows annually, and it is more likely than not that neither of these projects will go anywhere.
Also of note: A Bay Area game designer recently pointed out on Twitter that the main character in the forthcoming San Francisco-set dramedy series Looking, which is slated to premiere sometime next year, is a video game developer, played by Glee actor Jonathan Groff.
A handful of recent domain registrations from Paradox Interactive seem to hint at the PC publisher's next round of announcements. Earlier this month, the publisher registered ancientspacegame.com, magicka2.com, colossalcities.com, herouniversalis.com, terrauniversalis.com, and warlock2.com.
I would guess "Colossal Cities" is some sort of expansion or tie-in to the company's Cities in Motions franchise, and "Hero Universalis" and "Terra Universalis" are related to the Europa Universalis franchise. "Ancient Space Game" seems like a fairly self-explanatory title for a game involving the intersection of space and ancient history. The other two are, of course, sequels to existing Paradox games.
Some fans thought Paradox's Magicka-related announcement at GDC earlier in the year would be a sequel, but that ended up being a Magicka MOBA. With original Magicka studio Arrowhead working with Sony on PlayStation title Helldivers, presumably there is a new team for a Magicka sequel. Perhaps the relatively recently formed Paradox North, who are working on the Magicka MOBA?
It appears we might know the next title from Amnesia creators Frictional Games. After Frictional's creative director teased in early September that studio decided on the name for their next game, Frictional registered the domain somagame.com. Soma typically refers to an intoxicating substance, the body as separate from the mind, or a cell body—all of which seem fairly apt territory for Frictional.
In a blog post last year, Frictional said its next project would likely see release in 2014, and the game would be a first-person horror title that the developers hoped would delve into further thematic depth than Amnesia. A recent job posting—which was accompanied by some fuzzy H.R. Giger-esque art of spiders—for the studio requested someone with an interest in science-fiction, hinting that they are moving away from Amnesia's 19th century horror.
A few recent Amazon job listings seem to provide some insight into Amazon's much-rumored future gaming plans.
One posting for a game developer relations manager mentions that the company is trying to cultivate a "Kindle second-party game portfolio," and wants someone to work with external developers — including "proven studios and budding new gaming startups" — to "lay the strategic groundwork for the Amazon portfolio of games." Gamasutra recently reported that Amazon is trying to woo game developers to bring content to its soon-to-be-released console, but this listing goes further and hints that Amazon wants to have an exclusive content for its gaming platforms.
Another Amazon gaming job posting invites applicants who "want to build games for gamers that [the applicant] would want to play." The copy of the posting also talks of working with other developers "to break down technology barriers," which sounds like something perhaps a little different than Amazon Game Studio's current output.
For a network programmer at its California game development studio, Amazon is curiously seeking someone with "Experience as a key contributor within an MMO environment," "Experience with synchronous multiplayer games," Unity development experience, and "Avid MMO gaming experience." Could Amazon be working on an MMO of some sort?
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. Everything in his bi-weeklyKotaku columns is lying in plain sight online and linked for you to investigate yourself.