New IPs? Nah, we don't do that anymore, sunshine. Too risky, see. People only want to buy things they've already heard of. Or is it that publishers are only prepared to invest enormous marketing budgets in what they consider surefire hits already, thereby damning their less-established names to relative obscurity even before they make it out the starting gate? I forget. Bethesda's one of few big publishers still prepared to take a risk. Granted, Hunted was a bit of a misfire and Brink didn't quite scale the heights we were hoping, but that makes it doubly pleasing that Beth are continuing to push new names.
Just as excitingly, this is the highly mysterious new game from Arkane -they of Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Bonus - they recruited Deus Ex veteran Harvey Smith as co-creative director. Bonus bonus: they also recruited the visual architect of Half-Life 2's City 17, Viktor Antonov. It's called Dishonored. We barely know anything at all about it. We're really very excited.
The game's detailed in the next issue of de facto exclusive-grabber GameInformer, but they've put out the cover and the broadest overview for us to thrill to in the meantime:
"It's a game about assassination where you don't have to kill anyone. It's a game about infiltration where you can set up traps and slaughter the entire garrison of an aristocrat's mansion rather than sneak in. It's a game about brutal violence where you can slip in and out of a fortified barracks with nobody ever knowing you were there. It's a game about morality and player choice where the world you create is based on your actions, not navigating conversation trees."
It sounds like Thief and Hitman and Deus Ex and STALKER and none of them. It looks like Half-Life 2 (quite a lot, in fact) and BioShock and 1984 and none of them.
It's a game, in a year in which we've so far only been told to be excited about things we already know pretty much what to expect from, to be excited about.
It's called Dishonored, it's due on PC and playboxes next year, and it's going to be a real pain in the arse for any games journalist with their word processor set to British English.
Seems like a good time to revisit our interview with Harvey Smith and Arkane founder Raf Colantonio about the legacy of Deus Ex from last year, and pore over it for clues...