Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sitcom-esque episodic game

I have just found this link on the comments section for an interesting post by Bateman on EAs creative IP.

From the article:

PlayStation 3 is to get its first episodic game - and will be the first console to boast an original such type of game - thanks to the Super-Ego Games' upcoming Rat Race.

A sitcom-styled narrative game set in an office, the game charges players with making through a day's work and is designed to give players the feel of playing an episode of a TV show.

The game is being written and voiced by a cast and crew that have worked on the likes of South Park, Sex and the City, Ugly Betty, and the excellent Flight of the Conchords.
“We believe that next-gen gamers seek new and innovative game titles, and Rat Race is just that,” said Greg Easley, co-founder and president of Super-Ego Games.

“Rat Race represents a completely new take on the adventure genre, combining it with living, breathing characters and TV-quality comedy writing.

The game delivers what action gamers want, but it also has funny, engaging dialogue, well-conceived characters and a comedic story that really hooks people.”

The studio has been teasing and hyping Rat Race's existence for the past few months, saying it's narrative-driven approach to games will 'revitalise' the industry.

In a statement released at the end of July, Bob Welch, CEO and EP at the studio said: “Our goal is to create games with engaging characters and storylines that appeal to mass audiences, while taking advantage of next-gen technology. We know, and our market research has proven, that both casual game players and traditional gamers are looking for something new, accessible and enjoyable.”

It sounded really interesting, so I decided to look for their website. This is something from them:

Super-Ego’s core engine has been optimized for games that run on PCs and next-generation consoles. The engine is ideal for titles that share the following features:

• Personality Simulator: Creates motivations, idiosyncrasies, and interests that drive behavior for all in-game characters.

• Conversation Creator: Delivers real-time dialogue with lifelike timing, consistent with character personalities; dynamic conversations generated on the fly based on character actions and needs.

• Listening System: Makes navigating a world in which many characters converse easy and pleasurable for the player.

• Scene Scripting System: Allows for TV- or film-style cinematography and easy creation of high-quality cutscenes.

• Expression System: Drives lip synching and appropriate facial expressions for thousands of lines of dialogue.

• Information Inventory System: Allows player to gather information and develop tactical knowledge by overhearing conversations, examining in-world objects, and asking questions.

• Animation Engine: Brings characters to life with complex, life-like animation sets; ensures that animations are rarely repeated.

• Script Creator: Moves from screenplays to flowcharts to non-linear game scripts that recreate feel of the original entertainment franchise; allows for the simulation of myriad TV, movie, and book properties.

• Small Download Footprint: Allows for rapid downloads of files for direct digital sales to consumers.

• Action System: Allow for integration of diverse gameplay modules: stealth, chase/race, puzzles, shooting, and fighting.

It sounds amazing, but I really don't know anything about actual gameplay and mechanics (keybords + joystick) or business models (monthly fee?). Still, I think it would be great if a product like this actually succeeded.


Chris said...

It sounds great... I must be getting old and cynical to think it can't deliver as much as its promise. :) Still, definitely worth taking a look at - this could be a step forward.

Chico Queiroz said...

I don't blame you for feeling that way - I have my doubts too. But in any case, the simple fact that companies are investing in products like that is very positive, I think.

Copyright, Chico Queiroz