Morning Caffeinated! -- Blizzard Sports, Wing Commander peek, Dungeon Siege tease

By John Keefer, Sep 11, 2012 8:00am PDT

Good morning, Shack, and happy Tuesday. I want to kick things off by pointing you too the latest juicy tidbits on Blizzard Entertainment from author David Craddock. For those who have been focusing more on NWS stuff instead of cool stories, David has teamed up with Shacknews to release new Blizzard stories every Monday to tease the upcoming week of content we will have on October 29 to help promote his book, Stay Awhile and Listen. In this latest entry, we find that Blizzard North seriously considered creating a Sports Division, and that the studio formerly known as Condor could have had a different owner.

Be sure to tune in for a new episode of Real Game Developers of California next week.

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Roberts headed back into space

It was a fun day for speculation on a couple of news stories. First we find out that Chris Roberts, the creative mind behind the Wing Commander games, Privateer and Starlancer while at Origin Systems and Digital Anvil, has revealed he's getting back into development with a new project to be announced on 10/10 at 10 a.m. at GDC Online in Austin. The concept art revealed so far has a distinct Privateer vibe to it, mostly because of the Mercenaries Guild seen in one of the images (as Volatus32x pointed out).

I really enjoyed the later Wing Commander games and the great full-motion video sequences that starred such actors as Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies and Malcolm McDowell. Sadly, the concept of strong space flight adventure games has fallen by the proverbial wayside, leaving a hole in the current movement toward bringing back or re-envisioning classics of the past. With Roberts expertise, here's hoping the unveiling next month fills that void with a strong story-driven masterpiece. Well, we can always hope.

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On the other end of the speculation train yesterday was the cryptic revealing by Obsidian of a new Project X RPG in the works. I drew the conclusion in my story that it was possibly a tease for a Dungeon Siege sequel, but Chris Avellone said on his blog that it was a countdown timer leading to an announcement in four days. Here's my thought: Why four days? Was it to lull us into thinking DS4? What's to say the announcement in four days isn't DS4? As of this writing, the number inside the circular dragon swallowing its tail has not changed to a three, so we'll see how that pans out. But if it isn't DS4, the development roots of the team also can be traced to Neverwinter Nights, Fallout and Alpha Protocol. Speculation is fun, isn't it?

[Update: The number has indeed changed to a 3, with a new quote: The Book unread is unwritten. "The reason we don't explain it is the reason we use it. Its power is in its mystery. That is the Leaden Key, in part, in whole. Is it clear? Digging for truth buries the seeker." More teasing tomorrow, I guess.]

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Random bits & Quick hits: Is everyone playing with the Steam Big Picture Mode yet? It launched in beta yesterday and caused quite a bit of conversation. How many people welcome the idea of playing games in their living room or browse on a big screen? ... Interesting NYT piece on the inside workings of Valve, from VR headset, to Gabe's proclamation that the company would probably "disintegrate" before it allowed an acquisition. I wonder is Valve has a price ... Toys R Us is making a gaming tablet for kids. I guess that's a good thing as it would save wear and tear on Mom and Dad's precious piece of hardware.

Flashback: Speculation about Dungeon Siege 4 takes me back to the original title from Gas Powered Games and my first visit to the Kingdom of Ehb. Good story, fun game play and a refreshing first attempt for GPG. Now, if only I could get that horrendous Uwe Boll movie out of my head.


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