March 18, 2008

Scott Miller on Radar Group, Prey 2, and more

Some pretty exciting news broke yesterday that will be of interest to 3D Realms fans. Formally announced yesterday are two new ventures that 3D Realms is involved in, those being the Radar Group, and Depth Interactive. What are these? Well, to answer that, we'll go straight to Scott Miller, the founder of Apogee / 3D Realms, and the Chief Creative Officer of the Radar Group:

Q: First, the obvious question: What is Radar Group?

Scott Miller: Radar Group is neither a publisher nor a development studio. We're something new. We believe that the best ideas in the game industry are original ideas, and so we will incubate, nurture, co-design and co-produce ideas that are tailor-made for the game industry, versus using existing licenses from other media. Think of us as the anti-Brash. lol!

Not only are we something new, we're something our industry desperately needs. Radar will team up with many of the industry's top independent studios to help them create original IP in which they own a substantial ownership stake. Why is this important? Because in today's industry it's nearly impossible, unless you're Epic or Valve, to create original games and not give away full IP ownership to the publisher. Radar believes that creators should share ownership, and all of the long-term benefits that come from that.

Another key part of the Radar plan is that all of our projects are built around a rich storyverse. Think about properties like Star Wars, Harry Potty and Lord of the Rings. All of these fictional creations have a vast and deep storyverse that can support numerous stories, with numerous compelling characters. Quite simply, a storyverse is the possibility space for stories, and all of our projects are being developed as a storyverse that can then support not only games, but linear media, too, like film, comics, TV, novels, webisodes, and so on.

Radar has every intention of leveraging our games in these other media, through our sister company based in Los Angeles, Depth Entertainment. The Max Payne film, currently filming in Toronto, is Depth's first production, by the way. Depth will specialize in respectful, high-quality game-to-film adaptations.

Q: Is there anything that you wanted to tell our readers about Radar Group or any of its titles that we hadn't hit on yet?

Miller: In part, Radar is an extension of 3D Realms' long history of working with external teams to co-create hit games, going back to 1990 when we teamed with Id Software on Commander Keen and then birthed the FPS category with Wolfenstein 3-D. It's not as well known that we were also involved with the inception of Descent, funding that game and giving design guidance for its first 16-months, before selling the publishing rights to Interplay. And then of course we played a huge role in Max Payne, working with Remedy, and also Prey, working with Human Head. If you include Duke Nukem into the mix, all of these franchises have sold over $1.1 billion at retail.

Scott also spoke in some detail about Prey 2, giving some previous unknown detail about that title.

IGN: Prey is obviously the most well-known franchise of the bunch. Since the original's release, we've also played a little game called Portal. Has said title's use of portals influenced how the technology is being used in Prey 2?

Miller: Absolutely! While Prey pioneered the portal concept, Valve's Portal took it to an all-new level. It really shows what you can do when you focus on a single core cool gameplay concept. So, while Portal impressed the heck out of us, it has also inspired us to return the favor to Valve and hopefully leap frog them as they did us. We believe we have new ideas for portals that will keep the portal race interesting.

In the original Prey, the lead character, Tommy, was too reluctant, and didn't realize his hero status until late in the game. So, in the new game we're making him a hardened, take-charge character who's learned fast from his previous experience, and ready to accept his status as a galactic savior. We're definitely beefing up the combat—expect more enemies onscreen simultaneously versus 3-4 in the original—as well as the spirit powers. And while the original was too much of a corridor shooter, Prey 2 will have much more variety and wide-open areas: think CoD4 to get a good idea of what we're shooting for in terms of open-world look and feel.

Scott also talks about the other previously announced title, Earth No More, in addition to a new title that had not been mentioned before, "Incarnate".

The quotes above are taken from a lengthy interview over at IGN where Scott talks more about Prey 2, the Radar Group, and other things you will definitely want to read. Head over to IGN and check out the full interview. For further details, make sure and check out Scott's blog at the Radar Group website here.

One final note about this announcement. It does now mean that Prey 2 & Earth No More, which had previously been announced as 3D Realms titles, are now no longer so. These are Radar Group titles. Before anyone asks, this won't affect Duke Nukem Forever. Duke Nukem Forever remains a 3D Realms title, and all this Radar stuff will not affect DNF in any way, as none of the internal DNF 3D Realms staff is working on any Radar titles, other than Scott Miller in an advisory fashion.

These titles look and sound quite exciting, you'll want to keep your eyes on the Radar Group website for all the latest!

Posted by Joe Siegler at 11:30 AM | Discuss this story on our forums

June 30, 2007

More Earth no More

Not long ago we brought you the news about the new 3D Realms / Recoil Games IP, "Earth No More". The reception to that news has been great, with a lot of questions. Well, that's partly why we're here to bring you this update.

Posted a couple of days ago was an interview with Recoil Games' own Samuli Syvahuoko. Samuli you may remember was one of the founders of Remedy, and has worked with us many times in the past, going all the way back to the release in 1996 of Death Rally, and more recently with Max Payne. Here's a few snippets from the interview with Samuli:

Q: In Earth No More, instead of falling victim to an attack of spooky, bionic aliens, mankind produced its most dangerous enemy completely on its own. Does this have a deeper meaning on today's world? Should we possibly stop wasting our planet?

A: Yes, we do want to deliver a message. In Earth No More, we will witness the consequences of humankind's ongoing mistreatment of the planet's environment and resources. In essence, that's the game's central theme. So, an important part of the storyline deals with global warming, pollution, and resource abuse, and the ramifications that are being caused by the climate crisis. We do like the fact that the game is rooted in modern realities rather than the game being about another been-there-done-that alien attack.

Q: A large part of your team is used to developing in self-created engines. Earth No More, however, will be using the Unreal Engine 3. What are the reasons that made you choose this engine?

A: Basically, with licensed tech, we can start prototyping right away. This means we can nail the core gameplay down a lot sooner than with tech built from scratch. This fact alone was reason enough to go this route. With UE3, the UnrealEd level editor is an especially useful piece of software.

You'll definitely want to check out everything that Samuli has to say in the full interview, which can be read over at the Extreme-Players website.

Posted by Joe Siegler at 9:58 AM | Discuss this story on our forums

June 18, 2007

Earth No More

We've got some exciting news to bring to you today. Hitting subscribers mailboxes today, and newsstands later this week (likely Thursday) is the July 2007 issue of Game Informer Magazine.

What makes this issue so special, and of great interest to 3D Realms fans is the huge four page spread which talks in great detail about us, our past (including a brief look back at titles like Wolfenstein 3D, Prey, Max Payne, & Descent - yeah Descent), and how we work with external companies. One of these external companies is Recoil Games, a new game company founded by ex Remedy staffer Samuli Syvahuoko. Samuli worked on Max Payne with Remedy and us (and as well as 1996's Death Rally), but the exciting part here is the future. In this article is some detail on our newly announced game, "Earth No More".

Earth No More will be produced for the PC, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3 and is currently slated for 2009 according to the article. There's plenty of info in this piece about Earth No More, including text, a few screenshots, and interviews with Samuli Syvahuoko from Recoil, as well as Scott Miller & Raphael Von Lierop from 3D Realms. Here's a few quotes from the article:

"The development team is specifically moving away from what they call the 'lone hero,' while also avoiding a squad-based direction."

"'We're going to design almost every weapon in the game to where it's going to have a sort of collaborative mode to it,' says Miller. One gun called the Linker works like a reverse proton pack from Ghostbusters."

"The good guys aren't the only ones who can team up, however. Enemies are being designed to complement each other's skills as well."

"The team is intricately analyzing how group dynamics work in movies like the Alien, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and 28 Days Later, hoping to emulate that kind of tension in game form."

We don't want to give away too much here - you are going to want to go to your newsstands and check out the full article. We think you're going to like it.

Oh, and it can't be a magazine article about 3D Realms without talking about Duke Nukem Forever. There is a small sidebar article about DNF in here, including... a new screenshot from the game that hasn't been seen before anywhere. Go check it out.

Finally, you'll also want to keep your ears open for another big announcement coming soon (which doesn't have anything to do with DNF).

Posted by Joe Siegler at 12:25 PM | Discuss this story on our forums