The Thursday Papers

HAWX: probably buff, sweaty men

Hell, any day can be round-up day. Rather than Kieron’s regular Sunday collection of notable word-sciences though, instead this is a one-off, rather more hotchpotch grab-bag of happy happenstances that have caught my eye today, as I fight the urge to pretend this has any relevancy whatsoever to Space Week.

First up, we’ve got the announcement of Tom Clancy’s HAWX, which totally sounds like a group of male strippers, but is actually an aerial combat thingum set in the GRAW universe. Which, for all the oppressively heavy branding, is actually kinda appealing – we don’t get too many dogfighters these days, so it’s nice to see a new big-money attempt at making one for a broad audience.

Here’s a CGI trailer, which doesn’t tell us much other than a) it’ll have planes in and b) it’ll probably feature a lot of grey, but it gives some sense of the tone HAWX (I still can’t type that without giggling) is going for:

“Tom Clancy’s HAWX marks the next evolution of high altitude warfare in the Tom Clancy video game universe,” newspoke John Parkes, EMEA Marketing Director at Ubisoft. “We are thrilled to take to the skies and provide a new environment along with an extension of a familiar storyline from our other successful Tom Clancy franchises such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.” “Synergy, thinking outside the box, blue-sky thinking, monetize, next-generation, game 3.0”, he possibly added.

– Today also saw the commencement (‘commencement’ is an incredibly dull word, isn’t it? I apologise for using it) of the latest Make Something Unreal contest. Epic’s regular community outreach program now offers an eye-watering $1m prizepot for super-awesome Unreal engine 3 mods. There’s a whole clutch of categories, ranging from the relatively achievable Best UT3 Mutator all the way up to Best Non-FPS Game Mod, and everything in between, plus there’s an educational category. With UT3 reportedly not thus far proving the smash hit UT2003/4 was, this could be a more sedate contest, or it could be instrumental in persuading modders at large to pick up a copy of the game.

“To all you aspiring game developers out there – this is your chance to get in the big leagues. We have categories for all kinds of creatively talented people including programmers, artists, 3D modelers, designers and even aspiring film directors,” says Epic’s Mark Rein. So there.

– As a semi-relevant adjunct to Kieron’s essential Making of System Shock 2 humdinger, here’s Ken Levine giving VE3D a little extra commentary on his (in)famous “If you want people to follow your plot, it has to be really f****** stupid” GDC talk:

“…In BioShock all the other storytelling devices kick in: the diaries, the public service announcements, the posters, the thousands of little scenes in the world of Rapture that tell the story of what happened there. But I like to assume there’s going to be some part of the audience that doesn’t care about that, and those people can opt out of it. But for the people who do care, they can choose to opt in and get a fairly complex story (and a VERY complex story relative to other console first person shooters).

..Shock 2 sold 200k units. Deus Ex maybe sold a couple hundred thousand more than that…The broad shooter audience is just not that accustomed to complicated story. However, I think BioShock (and other games this year such as Portal) demonstrates that audience is ready for more.

– Finally, playtime:
The Roslin Station is a short fan-made Lost game/short story/virtual tour hybrid that doesn’t mean much to me, as I decided I had better things to point my eyeballs at back during the second season, but I’m hearing some rumbling that it’s a whole lot better-realised than Via Domus, the official Jack’n’Kate ’em up.

– And, as this is Space Week, here’s Play This Thing shining a light on Space Barnacle, a tricky-but-pretty lo-fi platformer made for TIGSource’s B-game contest. Video of it below, while here its creator offers a sort of making of piece in response to hilarious criticisms that it’s too polished for a B-game.



  1. Larington says:

    Oooh, I’m muchos intruiged by the HAWX game (Yep, I feel silly typing that too), its been too long since I’ve seen material for a non-space flight sim that actually manages to give me some feeling of excitement… They carry the feeling that promo gives into the game they should do well out of this.

  2. The_B says:

    I’m not using Kieron’s picture again, but there seems to be a theme running here…

  3. Högni Þór says:

    Big boom.

    Trailer fade out.

    Huge logos for XBOX360, PLAYSTATION3 (sic), and in the far low right, a tiny little pc-cdrom thing… I know what is wrong with the PC market. We need a bigger logo.

    As a side note, I find it a little ironic that the plane depicted, though futurized (new word, yay), seems closely based on the Dessault Rafale (french), with a little EuroFighter Typhoon (uk, italy, germany) and Gripen (swedish) mixed in.

    Maybe Ubi is french after all…

  4. Thiefsie says:

    Hawx looks wicked!

    can’t wait

    (huge fan of Ace Combat games etc) and anything with less stereotypical asian manga silliness is probably a good thing

  5. Noc says:

    “OMG, you totally stole the whole “reborn as a cyborg” thing from my game. ”

    “I thought your game was about poop! and david bowie in general midi!”

    “Yeah but it also has a cyborg battle with the unicorn.”

    I don’t think I have to say anything anymore.

  6. CLLMM says:

    I’m sorry but if they follow with the Tom Clancy idea, you’ll get a sim-lite that will be too complex for arcadey players and too shallow for hardcore simmers. It sounds like a lead ballon, with an AIM-120 coming straight for it. (And to head off any complaints, I enjoy both Ace Combat,IL-2 Sturmovik, and LOMAC)

  7. AbyssUK says:

    I might have to break out my joystick *gosh*

  8. Sander says:

    Hey! The failed joke worked, for once! Nice.

  9. kalain says:

    Looks like a nice game, but I have a single fear about it.

    it’s being developed for consoles as well, so does that mean that they will do a cop out and do our version with console controls, like most other companies do nowadays? Be sorry if they didn’t tailor it for our lovely range of force-feedback joysticks. And if they did have specific PC controls, it might actually appear on my ‘buy’ list and the old Sidewinder comes out to play again.

  10. marilena says:

    @Högni Þór

    I’m pretty sure hat’s a Dassault Rafale pure and simple, not futurized or mixed in with other planes.

  11. Simon says:

    I wonder if in HAWX you’ll be able to get points for doing ‘xtreme’ areal moves which you can then use to ‘pimp out’ your plane.
    I mean, it can’t be hard to give a top-gun like game at least the same ammount of juvinile gay as Army of Two has.

  12. Philip says:

    I think you’re thinking about Tony HAWX… :P

  13. Taximan says:

    Last I heard of HAWX was when it was Tom Clancy’s Air Combat or something of the like, which sounds a lot like Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat (Now there was a nice combat air sim back in the day. Nothing like shooting down B17’s, completely anachronistically, in an F4 Phantom. P-51’s vs. MIG 15 was interesting, though.).

    As far as I know it’s being developed by the people who worked on Blazing Angels. Could be a good thing.

  14. Simon says:

    It’d be better if it was by the Secret Weapons over Normandy people.

  15. Taximan says:

    True that. Lawrence Holland & Splash Damage should be working on every lite-sim.

    I’m sure there are legions of us who spent their teenage years optimizing their shield-engine-blaster energy-feeds in their sleep and dreaming of that lovely shorn-wing death spin of Y-wings or Tie-Fighters before they explode.

  16. IvanHoeHo says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to be flying kinda….. slow, for a jet.