Posts Tagged ‘Blacksite’

Midway’s Online Arcade

By Alec Meer on July 11th, 2008.

Everyone’s gotta have an online games store these days. One day, even we’ll have one, exclusively selling unplayable text adventures we made when we were nine, and the BBC Micro version of Manic Miner which I hacked to say that I wrote it.

Meantime, it’s Midway’s turn.
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Harvey Smith Is A Lone Ranger

By John Walker on November 30th, 2007.

Blimey, it’s been a busy day for videogame gossip. And there’s more.

Harvey's the one on the right.

As you probably already heard, Harvey Smith has left Midway a couple of days after his rather ineloquent comments about BlackSite: Area 51. His infamous “so fucked up” speech really did sound like the last thing anyone gets to say when representing a company. And indeed, it was.

After his tribute to Gerald Ratner questions were asked about how likely Smith would be to stay on to develop BlackSite 2. But then the explanation was given that his job had come to an end before the words were uttered.

Not so, say Shacknews, accompanied by an “allegedly”. The site is reporting that he was still on the payroll at the time. According to their source,

A Midway executive allegedly referred to Smith’s talk as “his public resignation.”

Mr Smith, we have a suggestion. We’ve heard rumblings that there’s a new project going on at Eidos Montreal, for a game you might recognise. And come on, Montreal’s far lovelier than Austin. Go on. Goooooo on.

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Smith On Blacksite

By Jim Rossignol on November 28th, 2007.

Wired magazine’s blogging wing are running a postmortem of Blacksite: Area 51, which provoked a widespread ‘meh’ response from critics. (Some even went so far as to ‘pff’). The piece is based around a chat with design lead Harvey Smith at the Montreal Games Summit 2007:

The first time Harvey Smith came to Montreal he had just finished his work as lead designer on the acclaimed classic, Deus Ex. On this trip, his last game was Blacksite: Area 51, a game published by Midway which one critic called “a major disappointment.”

“This project was so fucked up,” said Smith, by way of explanation.

Oops.

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“The Gameplay Ecology”

By Jim Rossignol on September 20th, 2007.

Midway’s Harvey “Deus Ex” Smith has a bit to say about the development of environments and “gameplay ecologies” for his new shooter, Blacksite:

I suspect Blacksite might actually be worth getting moderately excited about. Smith is at the controls, and there’s both Gears Of War jump in/out co-op, Stranglehold’s destructible environments, and some Brothers In Arms squad-control stuff. Area 51 might have been a bit arse, but this looks like it might have some value. Blacksite 2, says Smith, will be even more interesting.

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Blacksite and Mr Smith

By Jim Rossignol on July 17th, 2007.

I’ve just noticed that my PC Gamer piece on Blacksite has gone up on their C&VG site. This kind of preview is bread and butter for us, but actually this was one of the more interesting game demo events I’ve been to recently, and not because it situated in the skin-draped depths of Soho.

Having played Midway’s Area 51 and being distinctly unimpressed, I was going into the demo of this sequel with some scepticism. Despite the credentials (Harvey Smith and friends, of Deus Ex) attached to the Blacksite project, I thought a multi-format shooter based on last year’s nonsense was a doomed enterprise. However the event itself demonstrated that the team do seem to have a pretty strong idea about what makes linear shooters interesting. The main fighting sequences are going to be fairly open “arena” areas, with players encouraged to use the space and operate alongside the AI (or indeed drop-in co-op like in Gears of War) in taking out a varied selection of baddies. These arenas are filled with scripted sequences (Star Ship Trooper-alike bug aliens leaping up onto buildings and so on) and your team react to their environment with some nice touches, such as kicking open some doors, while smashing glass to reaching round and open others by hand. It’s all very linear, Half-Life 2 style, but it looks like there’s scope for experimentation. That said, the smalltown America stuff was far more interesting that the by-the-numbers dusty Iraq sections.

Those Yankee environments, being all small desert towns and semi-derelict trailer parks, look awesome in the Unreal 3 engine, and I suspect even if the game ends up being a bit thin we’ll still be impressed by some of what the design team manage to come up with. The giant worm alien on a bridge set-piece was pretty spectacular, and only really marred by inexplicably crappy fireballs being emitted from the giant critter.

Finally, as has been mentioned elsewhere, Smith and his team are developing Blacksite 2 to be more open, with environments encompassing sections of a city. Smith has being playing Stalker – which I’ll rant about later – and I can’t help hoping that the spooky Ukrainian shooter will have been a big influence on the overall design, and the amount of exploration the game will allow players to do.

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