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The Quest To Reclaim Identity: Flashback Dev's Subject 13

The CV of Paul Cuisset, lead designer of Flashback (plus the oft-infuriating but semi-brilliant Future Wars), is a bewildering one. King of the world after Flashback, surely, yet his follow-up to it was Shaq Fu. While that no doubt bought him a mansion made of solid gold basketballs, his titles since suggest a slow decline, with his once-great studio Delphine Software International closing down in 2004. Follow-up company VectorCell met an abrupt end in 2008 after a Flashback remake and disastrous horror game AMY failed to generate requisite digital funbucks.

I would have predicted a Kickstarter any moment now, but looks like he’s instead gone traditional and partnered up with a publisher for his next effort, Subject 13, which is billed as a return to his acclaimed sci-fi adventure roots.

Details are sparse, including those on intended platforms, though “French-developed adventure game won’t be released on PC” is a relatively unlikely headline, eh? The plot synopsis we do have definitely evokes Flashback, though frankly it sounds more like his Delphine colleague Eric Chahi’s rather more more timeless Another World.

Here we go:

“In Subject 13, players will take on the role of Franklin Fargo, a reclusive physics professor. Fargo leads a solitary and bitter existence following the death of his fiancée, Sophie, during a robbery that should have targeted him. One morning, he wakes up in an abandoned underground scientific facility with no external contact other than a mysterious voice. The voice calls him “Subject 13.” As Franklin Fargo, players will interact with the 3D environment around them by collecting, using, and manipulating objects to overcome a multitude of devious barriers to the professor’s escape. Fargo’s goal is to not only set himself free but discover the true reasons for his imprisonment — can he escape from the prison of his past?”

‘Franklin Fargo’, eh? How very Stan Lee.

It’s unclear if this is a pointer-clickerer, a shooty-jumpy affair in the manner of Flashback, or, as the concept art above suggest, something with a touch of the Portals. Let’s hope for a game with some of the spirit of Flashback and Future Wars, but modern-day rather than consciously retro design values.

Release date, platforms, trailers, in-game screenshots, we don’t gots ’em, but we do know that Microids are on publishing duties. More soon, no doubt.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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