Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Ubisoft Partners With Elijah Wood’s Studio For VR Project

Prepare for synchronization – Ubisoft is partnering with
SpectreVision, the production company of The Lord of the Rings' film star
Elijah Wood, to make virtual reality games. The Ubisoft team involved in the
partnership includes Dean Evans, creator of the radical Far Cry 3: Blood

The division of Ubisoft partnering with SpectreVision, Fun
House, is responsible for smaller-in-scope titles like Child of Light and Grow

"As a longtime gamer, I'm first and foremost a fan and
admirer of Ubisoft," says Wood according to IGN's report from the Sundance
Film Festival in Utah. "So to be collaborating with them within the realm of VR is
an incredible treat!"

SpectreVision, established in 2010 by Wood and partners, uses
film, music, and now games to "tell heartfelt, character-driven stories
tackling real emotional and social issues that test the boundaries of the genre
space," according to its website.

SpectreVision CEO Lisa Whalen goes on to emphasize that
Ubisoft's position as a leading publisher and developer will help the partnership
succeed in creating new experiences in a "bold and original new format."

Creative director of Ubisoft's neon-drenched '80s action
film tribute, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Dean Evans, revealed on Twitter that he's
been involved in this collaboration between Fun House and SpectreVision. To
what degree Evans is involved is unclear. We've reached out to Ubisoft for

Ubisoft hasn't confirmed which VR platforms the collaborative games will launch for.

[Source: IGN]

Our Take
As someone who is hopeful for the future of VR, I'm happy to see a titan of industry like Ubisoft partnering with a studio like SpectreVision which appears to revel in taking risks and supporting unique projects. The big question is which VR platforms the future projects will release for: Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, or HTC Vive. – The Feed

Unannounced Respawn Project Will Be A Third-Person Action/Adventure Game

A job posting for a senior level designer at Respawn Entertainment discloses that the company's non-Titanfall 2 project will be a third-person action/adventure title.

The posting at Gamasutra reads:

We are now recruiting designers for two game development projects – a new game in the Titanfall universe as well as a new 3rd person action/adventure IP. Respawn is seeking a Senior Level Designer to embrace and contribute to the project vision, breathing life into the gameplay world and helping define the moment to moment player experience. 

Other jobs have similarly been posted for the project, including ones for an VFX artist, senior systems designer, and software engineers.

It's been known that the company inaugurated a second team to work alongside the one that will produce the next Titanfall, but this job posting adds a little bit more detail to the project.

In a seemingly related note, back in the summer of 2014 Respawn hired God of War III director Stig Asmussen.

[Source: Gamasutra]


Our Take
It will be interesting to see if this unannounced third-person project will also be more single-player focused, which is another area Asmussen has great experience in. This would be in contrast to the multiplayer-only focus of Titanfall. Having a single-player focused property would balance out the company's roster – if the next Titanfall is multiplayer focused – and hopefully give the project longer post-release legs than the first Titanfall. – The Feed

Get a job: Respawn seeks a Level Designer for unannounced project

The house responsible for Titanfall is looking to hire an experienced hand to serve as senior level designer on both Titanfall and a new unannounced game at its headquarters in Van Nuys, CA. …

Gamasutra News

Get a job: CCP seeks a Senior Producer for a new VR project

EVE Online powerhouse CCP is looking for a senior producer to lead production on a new VR game for PC, at its London studio. …

Gamasutra News

Irrational Games Job Listing Hints At Ken Levine’s Next Project

Much of what we know about Ken Levine’s next project following the transition from Irrational Games to whatever the studio is going to be called now is about its narrative underpinnings. Levine has described the approach as “narrative Legos,” and he told me in April that early voice work was underway.

“The whole system that I came up with and that we’re developing is based upon the fact that to make an interesting character, you have to have a character who has a bunch of passions, wants, and needs,” Levine explains. “The player now has the ability to facilitate those wants or needs or go against those wants or needs or ignore those wants or needs. The reason I think the system is going to work is because it’s a very organic way to look at a character. It’s a quite systemic game. The system we’re in, the character’s feelings about you change, they go up and down. But the heart of a character is still wants and needs, and that makes it no different than anything I’ve ever written before.”

What we didn’t know at the time is just what kind of game the studio formerly known as Irrational Games was working on. A new job listing on the company’s website gives us some hints.

The position listed is a gameplay systems designer and tuner. The qualifications include having experience with semi-open world design like that found in Borderlands or Shadow of Mordor. The posting also indicates the game is being built in Unreal Engine 4.

Most interestingly, the requirements include a “passion for narrative first-person shooters.” This gives us a clearer framework for what Levine and his team are building.

Given that the studio’s last two projects prior to its transition, BioShock and BioShock Infinite, were narrative first-person shooters, the new project builds upon recent work. The crux of the project is going to be Levine’s new narrative structure.

For more, check out our two part interview with him on his past work, the influences that helped shape the BioShock games, and his current project here and here.

[Source: Irrational Games via Polygon]


Our Take
I’m eagerly awaiting any news I can get on this project, as a huge fan of Levine’s past work. The fact that the new game is likely a first-person shooter doesn’t phase me, because BioShock and Infinite both diverged from that genre’s staples. I’m hopeful that the new narrative system gives players a greater sense of agency in a medium that typically pulls players through on a fixed path (at least to some degree). – The Feed

Project Phoenix JRPG Delayed Into 2018

Project Phoenix, a squad-based RTS-meets-JRPG being developed by a host of Eastern and Western developers known as Creative Intelligence Arts met its Kickstarter goals after only nine hours back in 2013. Fast forward to today, and the game's original mid-2015 release projection is being moved back to 2018.

A recent update for the game outlines the team's development timeline going forward, including hiring more staff and getting its lead programmer in the fold full time (who's been consulting on the project already). The team anticipates 2.5 years of development from the time the programmer comes on board (which is being pushed out by two months) with a further six months of testing.

Despite the long dev time from its 2013 announcement until its new 2018 projection, the developer is not issuing refunds.

For more on the game, check out this preview from back at its announcement.

[Source: Project Phoenix Kickstarter]


Our Take
Anyone who backed the project wish they could get a refund? Or are you in it for the long haul? – The Feed

Former Gone Home Dev Debuts Trailer For New Project Where The Water Tastes Like Wine

Johnnemann Nordhagen helped co-found The Fullbright Company and was the sole programmer on indie darling, Gone Home. He's since left the company to form his own studio called Dimbulb Games. During the The Game Awards, he debuted the trailer for his first venture, a game called Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.

The game focuses on surviving the aggressive expansion of manifest destiny, but also puts an emphasis on telling and sharing stories. In it, you travel all over the United States through a century of history, uncovering a slew of different people's tales. Dimbulb Games was inspired by many different famous works, from Jack Kerouac's On The Road to Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The debut trailer focuses on a train traveling across the land and what looks like a lonely soul. It also gives you a glimpse at the unique art style and beautiful music. Check it out below to see for yourself. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is due out in 2016 for PC and Mac. – The Feed

Footage Of Unannounced Cryptic Studios Project Could Be Jurassic World Tie-In

Earlier this year, it was rumored that Cryptic Studios’ Seattle location had been shut down by owner Perfect World. Today footage from a number of former employees appears to point to one of the studio’s unreleased projects.

The video and images that have appeared show dinosaurs and other animation tests. According to fansite, artists that previously worked at Cryptic’s Seattle location reference this footage but label it as an “unannounced title.”

The project appears on the resume of animator Sabrina Phillips and demo reels for Jae Sung Han and Silvia Uchida. It’s important to note that this is never explicitly stated to be a Jurassic World game. The connective tissue is the figure in the blue polo shirt that bears a strong resemblance to Chris Pratt, who played Owen Grady in the film. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

While Cryptic hasn’t commented about the status of its Seattle location, designer Svea Eppler indicates via her LinkedIn profile that the team was disbanded in April. The closure was apparently due to an international reorganization. Perfect World is headquartered in Beijing, China. 

Eppler and Phillips both indicate the project was headed to PC and current-gen consoles. Uchida’s LinkedIn account indicates the project was a “AAA MMOG” for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The IP remains under NDA. Producer Tom Atkinson-Edwards describes the game as “open world.”

While Cryptic as a larger studio (there’s a location in Los Gatos, California) is working on Star Trek Online and Neverwinter, Perfect World has never commented on the status of its Seattle operation. The studio was purchased from Atari for $ 50 million in 2011.

We’ve reached out to Perfect World for a statement on the status of its Seattle location and this test footage. We’ll update should we receive a response.


Note: This story originally had the incorrect location for Cryptic Studios. It has been updated.


Our Take
It’s far too early to tell how this project would have come together. In fact, given that Cryptic as a larger entity still exists, it’s possible this is still in development. If it is, in fact, a Jurassic World tie-in, that would necessarily have some additional layers of secretiveness around it. 

The “man in blue” certainly bears a resemblance to Chris Pratt, but it’s far from definitive. What we can likely say is that a number of employees who were with the allegedly shuttered Cryptic Seattle location were working on this game prior to leaving the company. – The Feed

The pain of a project with too much work and too few people

Trails in the Sky SC featured a script longer than War and Peace but with just a handful of people working on editing it for localization — driving them almost beyond endurance. …

Gamasutra News

Torment: Tides Of Numenera Delayed, Project Lead Departs

InXile has announced that its Kickstarted RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera, won’t be making its late 2015 release. The studio now projects it will release sometime next year, but hasn’t pinned down a more specific release window.

The project was funded with more than $ 4 million in early April 2013 against a campaign goal of $ 900,000. In consideration of the stretch goals, the studio bumped its anticipated release from December 2014 to early 2015. 

In June 2014, the timetable was extended again, with a projected release of fourth quarter 2015. Now, fans are told to look toward 2016 for the project to come to fruition.

Additionally, project lead Kevin Saunders is leaving the studio. “With the major creative and production decisions now resolved, and the team charging full speed toward completing the game, inXile and I have decided it is time for me to depart from the studio,” he writes in a Kickstarter update. “I am proud of the project that I'm leaving in capable hands, and while I do not know what I'll do next, I look forward to new challenges and opportunities.”

Chris Keenan, who served as project lead on Wasteland 2 and the recently released director’s cut of that game, will be taking over. “As a fresh set of eyes on the project I can tell you it's shaping up to be the awesome experience you all expect and deserve,” he writes. “However, to maintain the quality standard we've set for ourselves, we can't rush through these final stages to get it out the door. Instead, we're going to take the time we need on Torment: Tides of Numenera, which means we are planning a 2016 release.”

For more on Torment, check out our previous coverage.

[Source: Torment on Kickstarter]


Our Take
InXile’s first Kickstarted game, Wasteland 2, was extremely well received, but it too was significantly delayed. It’s clear that the team is a bit too ambitious when it comes to setting release expectations. A full year delay is necessary and will likely make for a better product, but it would be preferable to see a realistic delivery schedule up front. – The Feed