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Thread: Arkane's Next Project: The Crossing

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2002
    Location: Yes / No / Other

    Arkane's Next Project: The Crossing

    Though I was secretly hoping Arx2 would be next, the little information made available regarding The Crossing is quite intriguing..

    'A single player game crossed with a multiplayer game'

    Just a very sketchy concept for now but even in that form quite promising.

    We can only guess how it will be implemented. Will it be a MMOG or are smaller groups supposed to play together? are there sessions? are there levels or is it one large sandbox with quests? Is it coop, competitive or both? If it is a MMOG, will there be a story/plot or is a lot supposed to be emergent? If there is a story will it be edited/altered/expanded to fit the playing population?

    Well whatever form it'll be, I do hope it doesn't feature a character level up system that effects the game experience too heavily. Being level1 cannon fodder playing with/against level20 commandos just isn't my idea of fun.
    However I would like to see huge differences in ability of different players (think 'lost vikings' or 'project eden') especially if coop comes into play.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2000
    Location: Underneath San Jose, CA
    From an interview with the head of Arkane Studios on Gamasutra, it seemed pretty clear that Arx was a one-off deal, and we won't ever be seeing another one.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Mar 1999
    Location: I can't find myself
    Really? Because the only thing I can remember them saying re: Arx2 was that Dark Messiah had never been Arx2 co opted into another license, and that Arx2 would play completely differently than Dark Messiah. And considering that Arkane has an Austin studio and a France studio, it doesn't seem out of the question that they could be working on two projects at once.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: British Columbia, Canada
    Really? Because the only thing I can remember them saying re: Arx2 was that Dark Messiah had never been Arx2 co opted into another license, and that Arx2 would play completely differently than Dark Messiah. And considering that Arkane has an Austin studio and a France studio, it doesn't seem out of the question that they could be working on two projects at once.
    Heh, that seems strange to me because Dark Messiah felt a whole lot like a spiritual successor to Arx itself.

    As for this crossing single-player and multi-player, my first thought was "co-op". Honestly, if that's all it is then yay because there needs to be some more co-op games.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    There's an "exclusive" front-page article in the latest Games For Windows (formerly Computer Gaming World) magazine on this game.

    The "cross-player" is quite a bit different than anything I've seen before, and it's a lot more than co-op (although co-op seems to be part of it). Even after reading a special sidebar that tries to clarify the issue I'm still a little puzzled at how they'll make it really work.

    The basic concept is this: Say you're playing through a typical single-player area where you need to fulfill a specific objective, like infiltrate a building and plant a bomb.

    In a typical single-player mission, like in Half-Life 2, you might have one set of AI bots helping you and another set of AI bots opposing you (the Combine). Two teams, right?

    In The Crossing, when you begin this mission, your single-player game connects with a "skirmish" type of gametype played between two teams of humans. So the opponents trying to keep you from infiltrating that building and planting that bomb are actually human players in the middle of a multiplayer game against the team of human players which is assisting you.

    So as you play through the story-driven single-player game, you connect to different servers with different multiplayer games, replacing your usual dumb AI enemies (and friendlies) with real human participants.

    Obviously, the logistics of this sound a bit daunting. And how about the problem with balancing gameplay?

    The other interesting thing about this game is that it isn't just a game by Arkane with Valve providing the engine. This really seems more like the relationship Irrational and Looking Glass had during the development of System Shock 2. In this case, Arkane has taken the lead, but several artists and programmers from Valve are actively involved.

    At least that's the impression the article gave me. For example, the cover reads: "How Valve and Arkane are killing AI (and replacing it with YOU)."

    And the designer and artist responsible for Half-Life 2's City 17 is the lead artist and designer of The Crossing's location (which is an interesting, revisionist take on how Paris would look and feel had certain events during the middle ages resolved a little differently).

    That last part is a gross over-simplification of the concept but I'm getting tired of typing.

  6. #6
    The Architect
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Lyon
    Re-posted as less ranting angry version:

    Games like Arx and Dark Messiah cost huge amounts of money to make, and don't make much of a return. Ubisoft took a huge risk with DM and fronted the cash for it, and it doesn't yet really look like it paid off. With Arx 2, Arkane would have to foot the risk, and supply the cash, and take the HUGE loss if (and most likely when) it doesn't make any money.

    So it's not financially possible for them to make Arx 2, not right now.

    They're very very very lucky to have this deal to make The Crossing, because it stands a pretty good chance of making some money just because Valve is associated with it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    In other words, if you want to increase the chances of seeing Arx 2, go buy 2 or 3 copies of Dark Messiah and then 2 or 3 copies of The Crossing when they release it, even if you don't particularly care for either one of these games.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2004
    Location: Maritime Provinces (Canada)
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist
    This really seems more like the relationship Irrational and Looking Glass had during the development of System Shock 2.
    Arkane is working out of Valve's office?

  9. #9
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Nightfall View Post
    ...Ubisoft took a huge risk with DM and fronted the cash for it, and it doesn't yet really look like it paid off...
    I was under the impression that it was selling ok. Any ideas of how many units have been sold etc?

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: terrible canyons of static
    Ok so it's Counterstrike with cutscenes?

    I might be down with that.

  11. #11
    The Architect
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Lyon
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    I was under the impression that it was selling ok. Any ideas of how many units have been sold etc?
    All I heard is that it's several times more units than T3 sold, which is actually quite bad.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Spitter View Post
    Ok so it's Counterstrike with cutscenes?.
    While I realize you're just trying to be cleverly concise here, it really is a bit more than that (at least from what I gather). There's more of an emphasis on a real singleplayer, story-driven campaign. They just try to bring in humans to play the role usually played by AI during certain portions of your singleplayer experience. So you're not always connected to a multiplayer server while you play through the game (unless during a specific session you've chosen to play the skirmish mode rather than the singleplayer campaign, of course).

    It really is a pretty ambitious and interesting concept. It will be interesting to see if they can pull it off. However, I'm not sure I want some random punks tainting my singleplayer immersion with leetspeak taunts.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 1999
    Location: Fatteh's laundry basket.
    I'm curious how balance and dying will be handled. And how the issue of "humans always acts like utter COCKS in PVP".

  14. #14
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong

    Yes, that thought occurred to me as well. I can only begin to imagine what kind of effect that bunny-hopping enemies and low ping times will have on immersion for the player.

    It does sound like a great idea though.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Uncia View Post
    And how the issue of "humans always acts like utter COCKS in PVP".
    Yeah, and they shoot you, too. It sucks. I want to be the one who always wins, and if I don't, I get to reload a few seconds prior and THEN blow the snot out of them - except multiplayer, so I'm owning real people instead of bots.

    Since this is the internet, I'm going to explicitly state that the preceding paragraph was intended as sarcasm.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    A local magazine posted a news item about this game. I'll try to translate the relevant stuff from it:

    Basically there are tow game modes in the game: SP and skirmish. FPS gamers know that it's nothing special. If someone wants to experience the story, he chooses the SP mode, but someone wants to have some instant action, he jumps in a skirmish game where he can have it against and/or with human or AI players. However in The Crossing, the two modes is deeply connected: in story mode, the enemies are not AI controlled entities, but other players playing in skirmish mode.

    According to the concept, if a skirmish/MP level does not have a player in story mode, then the players participate in a usual team based MP game. However as soon as a player in story mode joins, the rules of the game can change according to the story, drastically. It is possible that one team will have to defend him, while the other will have to kill him. It is just a simple example, and it's not sure how it will it realize, but it's a promising idea nonetheless.
    Well, for me, this is the case of a cool and revolutionary idea, that I simply cannot like. I don't like team based MP games, and therefore it doesn't sound too interesting for me ... and also I don't know how will they merge storytelling with this kind of gameplay.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Black Squadron



    1up.com have a preview! with screens!

    GFW: Can you explain how cross-play works? Specifically, how story and skirmish maps intersect?

    RaphaŽl Colantonio: Skirmish maps have two contexts: either populated by skirmish players only -- the multiplayer people -- or populated by both skirmish players and story players, the "Elites." When there are no Elites around, the skirmish players play a team deathmatch game that can include various rules, such as land conquest or flag conquest. Meanwhile, the Elite players are playing their story maps -- in co-op, usually -- once they're supposed to join a skirmish map, as part of their story. Note that mercenaries can also invade their experience as part of the Agent Smith analogy. Once the story mission -- in a campaign's cycle of story and skirmish maps -- is complete, our servers select an appropriate match according to criteria including difficulty setting, ping, language preference, and so on, and place story players in the queue for applicable skirmish maps. Elites can't join a skirmish being currently played, although it's an option we're studying. Rounds are worked out so that cycles are very short -- a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.

    When the skirmish players are done with their round, they go to the debrief screen; the system then tells them that Elite soldiers will now play during the next round: In this case, roles might be reassigned -- or not -- by the server for the skirmishers according to the need of the story for the Elites. For example, it's possible that the skirmish players were playing 10 cops versus 10 thugs for the last round, but now that Elites are in the game, the system is going to assign them all to the [International Bureau of Antiterrorism] clan -- so there will be 20 IBAT that need to prevent the Elites from accessing the control tower. But on a different map, we'll keep two teams of skirmishers: one to support the Elites, one to challenge them. This is just an example of the flexibility we can have with the matchmaking system.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The full printed version of this article in Games For Windows includes some screenshots of gorgeous, soaring Gothic architecture in the revisionist Paris.

    I'd love to see some large, high-resolution versions of those scenes. I'm a little disappointed they didn't publish them with this online version of the article.

    At least you catch some glimpses of these areas half-way through the accompanying trailer.

  19. #19
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Looks beautiful; particularly Paris.

    From the looks of things I'd say that they are using Source again.

  20. #20
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: ideally far away
    source is capable of breathtaking outdoor lighting, i'll give you that. i'd say source is probably one of the better engines in terms of quality versus capability. and valve update the engine often.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Mar 1999
    Location: I can't find myself
    There appears to be a guy swinging through the air on a rope of some kind in the picture in Daveh's post. I MUST HAVE THIS GAME.
    Of couse, when you enter Parliament, you will all also be ripped to the teats on fine cocaine...

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Girl with the Patreon Tattoo
    The trailer is awesome. Revisited Paris, mmmh.

    As long as there's multiplayer, the gameplay doesn't interest me tho

    Oh, and post 1000 motherfuckas
    That's it, I'm not posting here again anymore

  23. #23
    Good luck to 'em as always, and bonus points for thinking outside the quadrilateral, but oh man does that sound like a game I have no interest in ever playing.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I like the visual atmosphere, but the gameplay looks decidedly Dark Messiah, and I had enough of that after the demo.

  25. #25
    Elites can't join a skirmish being currently played, although it's an option we're studying. Rounds are worked out so that cycles are very short -- a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.
    If I've read this correctly it seems that to play the basic story mode you'll potentially have to wait ten to fifteen minutes before joining a level. That's just excessively long, what do you do in the meantime?

    Props for trying something new, but I have the feeling it'll be just awful and horribly implemented. Hope I'm proven wrong though.

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