Arkane Studios - All News
Thursday - June 28, 2012
Arkane Studios - The Mirror Men @ The Verge
The Verge has a fantastic article titled The Mirror Men of Arkane that examines the formative times of Raf Colantonio and Harvey Smith, their similarities and how their lives eventually intersected. This is a great read, both as a games article and a human interest story:
It is 1993. It is a time of great change.
Bill Clinton is the President of the United States. A bomb explodes in a parking garage at the World Trade Center. Intel introduces the new Pentium processors. Computer scientists at CERN invent the World Wide Web.
Jurassic Park is in theaters. Nirvana is on the radio.
Doom is on computers.
Meanwhile, a company called Origin Systems is making a game called System Shock. Like Doom, it will change the way games are made forever, but in a different way and for different reasons.
Where Doom is brash, bold, massively popular, and a harbinger of the blockbuster multiplayer games to come, System Shock is introspective, narratively rich, and technologically innovative. Aggressively single-player. It will spawn a lineage of direct and spiritual sequels that are still revered among gamers today, and will inspire game makers for decades to come.
Two of those game makers are Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith.
Both men will fall in love with a game called Ultima Underworld. Both men will assume it was made by Origin Systems (it wasn't). Both men will decide to break into games so that they make one just like it.
Over the next 20 years, their resumes will include stints working with companies like EA, Valve, Origin, Ion Storm, 2K Games, Activision, Ubisoft, Looking Glass, and Midway. Separately, they will help build games like System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Thief, Dark Messiah, Relentless and Arx Fatalis.
Twenty years later, along with a team of like-minded folks, they will build a game called Dishonored.
This is their story. It begins in 1993.
Thursday - August 04, 2011
Arkane Studios - Dishonored Dev Diary @ PC Gamer UK
PC Gamer UK has a video dev diary on Dishonored with Raph Colantonio talking to the camera and some art and new (?) sceens. The blurb:
Arkane studios have released a developer diary introducing their new assassination game, Dishonored. It comes from the creators of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and is being co-directed by Deus Ex lead designer Harvey Smith, with art from Half Life 2 artist Viktor Antonov. It’s set in a “retro-futuristic” world powered by whale oil, and lets you use a combination of supernatural abilities, gadgets, cutlasses and guns to get past your enemies.
Wednesday - August 03, 2011
Arkane Studios - Modeling Morality
Time for a quick update on Arkane's Dishonored, with GameInformer posting a video titled Modeling Morality: The Chaos of Dishonored a few days back. The intro:
With the concept of a morality system becoming more and more commonplace in gaming, Game Informer's Adam Biessener sat down with Dishonored's co-creative directors Raf Colantonio and Harvey Smith to get a better understanding of the team's approach. The conversation flows from the specifics of Dishonored's chaos system to their thoughts about what works and doesn't work in the implementation of morality systems in other games.
...Part 2 here.
Sunday - July 24, 2011
Arkane Studios - Dishonored Art, Choose Your Path
There are a couple of interesting Dishonored articles at GameInfomer - a video interview with art director Viktor Antonov that discusses the look at style (with some concept art to illustrate) and a Choose Your Path mini-game that shows the sort of choices the game offers. Definitely looks interesting if you're into Deus Ex style games.
Monday - July 18, 2011
Arkane Studios - Dishonored Map
I still don't know enough about Dishonored to know if we'll cover it in depth but GameInformer has kicked up an interactive map of the gameworld. Here's the intro text and head over to look at the map:
Dishonored tells the story of one man's quest for revenge in an otherworldly industrialized city. While touch-points recall elements of our real world, Dishonored is actually set in a startling and dangerous land quite different from our own.
Though the game is primarily set within the boundaries of a single city, the folks at Arkane Studios feel that there needs to be a depth and authenticity to the game world that can only be provided by creating a complete fiction beyond the borders of that city.
Our interactive map shows the breadth of that vision, detailing elements of the surrounding world from geography and science to religion and industry.
Thursday - July 14, 2011
Arkane Studios - Heritage Video
GameInformer has posted a video titled Dishonored: The Heritage of Arkane Studios.
While their eyes are set on crafting a new IP called Dishonored, the team at Arkane Studios can't forget the past. The offices (one in Austin, Texas and the other in Lyon, France) contain developers that have helped create titles like Deus Ex, Half Life 2, and Arx Fatalis. While visiting Austin, we spoke with members of the team at Arkane Studios about their past in the gaming industry and which games and ideas have helped to shape the direction of Dishonored.
Monday - July 11, 2011
Arkane Studios - Getting to Know Dishonoured
GameInformer has a little information on Arkane's Dishonored, which is described as an "assassination game" and a "stealth action/adventure" with references to Thief and Deus Ex in the preview text:
Who are you?
Players take on the role of Corvo, the Empress’ legendary bodyguard. As the game starts, Corvo is falsely imprisoned for her murder. What the corrupt Lord Regent behind the coup didn’t realize is that Corvo is legendary for a reason. He’s not only a skilled combatant accomplished in the art of not being seen, but Corvo has a suite of supernatural powers that combine with his natural talents and unusual gadgets to make him one of the most lethal men in the known world.
Why should you care?
Even if you haven’t played them, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Thief and Deus Ex. One of the main minds behind those two games, Harvey Smith, is the co-creative director of Dishonored along with Raf Colantonio, the founder of developer Arkane Studios. The two share a vision of a game that gives players the power to be creative with their skills and tactics, and invites them to come up with interesting solutions to the obstacles in front of them. Arkane is known for its immersive first-person gaming (Arx Fatalis, Dark Messiah of Might & Magic), and the power of a talent-driven publisher in Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3) behind the team is promising.
Thursday - July 07, 2011
Arkane Studios - "Dishonored" Revealed
Bethesda sent us a press released announcing Dishonored, a new first-person IP from Arkane Studios and the first project revealed since their acquisition by Bethsoft's parent, Zenimax. The game will be unveiled in the next GameInformer and details are currently limited - we certainly don't know if there are any worthwhile RPG elements but comments over the last couple of years from Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith - co-creative directors - would lead us to hope for a Deus Ex-like experience. Time will tell.
BETHESDA SOFTWORKS ANNOUNCES DISHONORED
Arkane Studios Reveals New First-Person Action Game
July 7, 2011 (Rockville, MD) — Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax® Media company, today confirmed that it will publish Dishonored™, an all-new first-person action game under development at Arkane® Studios. Dishonored will be the first project for the studio since being acquired by ZeniMax in 2010.
Under the direction of co-creative directors, Raphael Colantonio, lead designer on Arx Fatalis®, and Harvey Smith, lead designer on Deus Ex®, Dishonored is set for release on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows® in 2012.
Details on Dishonored will be revealed in the exclusive cover story in Game Informer®’s August issue, which ships to subscribers in early July 2011 and hits newsstands on July 15th. Coverage of the game will also continue on the magazine’s website, www.gameinformer.com/dishonored, through the beginning of August.
“At Arkane we have a passion for creating deep, immersive game experiences,” said Colantonio. “To be able to finally share details of our project is both extremely exciting and satisfying.”
The game will also be featured in magazine cover stories around the world throughout the month of August. Check the official site for updated details: www.dishonored.com.
Forums are up at Bethsoft and GameInformer has some vague hints and a single piece of art showing some sort of scifi / cyber influence:
We've seen the game running, and now we share Colantonio and Smith's vision too. Dishonored is the antithesis of a edge-of-your-seat roller-coaster ride. 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.
Tuesday - August 17, 2010
Arkane Studios - Interview @ Gamasutra
In a follow up to Arkane's recent acquistion, Gamasutra has an interview with Raph Colantonio and Harvey Smith:
This acquisition means you'll never get to work on [outside properties like] Ultima Underworld, or Half-Life, or Deus Ex. Was that a hard decision?
HS: We routinely describe our current game as a combination of Underworld, Half-Life, and Deus Ex. I think it's important to note that as much as Raph and I love Thief, System Shock, Arx Fatalis, Deus Ex and BioShock, that style of game.
Ultima Underworld is perhaps the patient zero, I would say -- it's not the IP specifically, it's the spirit of what the player gets to do in this atmospheric environment where the player can play with systems, and play creatively.
Thursday - August 12, 2010
Arkane Studios - Acquired by Zenimax
Do you remember Arkane (Arx Fatalis)? Zenimax announces they have acquired Arkane, where they'll join Bethesda Game Studios and id as an internal development studio. The PR only says they are working on an "unannounced title" for Bethsoft but perhaps it's the RPG-ish project hinted at several years ago and lead by Harvey Smith. Here's the PR:
ZENIMAX MEDIA ACQUIRES ARKANE STUDIOS
Veteran Studio Joins Bethesda Game Studios and id Software as
an Internal Studio for Bethesda Softworks
August 12, 2010 (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of noted game publisher Bethesda Softworks, today announced it has completed the acquisition of veteran game developer Arkane Studios.
Founded in 1999, Arkane has offices in Lyon, France and Austin, Texas and is led by co-creative directors Raphael Colantonio, Arkane’s founder and CEO who will also serve as president of Arkane, and Harvey Smith, lead designer on Deus Ex. Arkane’s first title, Arx Fatalis, was released in 2002 and became a fan favorite with its highly detailed environments and innovative gameplay. In addition, Arkane developed Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (PC version), and has collaborated on a number of high profile game projects, including Bioshock 2. Arkane is currently working on an unannounced project with Bethesda Softworks.
“This is an exciting moment for Arkane. After 11 years of independent development, we couldn’t think of a better publishing partner,” said Colantonio. “We share so many creative values. Joining the ZeniMax family will allow us to grow stronger while staying true to the games we love.”
Arkane joins a group of development studios which includes id Software and Bethesda Game Studios, two of the finest, most respected videogame developers in the world. This deal further underscores Bethesda’s commitment to delivering premier titles to gamers worldwide.
"We are very pleased to be able to bring another experienced, high quality developer like Arkane to the ZeniMax group of studios,” said Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. "Raphael and his talented team have earned a reputation for creating immersive, innovative games which enhances our ability to deliver AAA quality games to our many fans."
Thursday - December 10, 2009
Arkane Studios - Profile Interview @ Gamasutra
It would be fair to argue Arkane is of limited relevance to us these days but as one of the four studios working on Bioshock 2 and with the vague possibility they may be working on a new game of interest, here's a profile interview with founder Raphael Colantonio. Here's an encouraging snip on their next game:
"Wait for next announcements," says Colantonio. "It's gonna be exactly what we want to do. Not a compromised, marketed game. We've been lucky to find a publisher that supports us and understands this kind of game and is supportive of them. The people who like the kind of games that we like are going to be really excited.
"There are companies that do first person shooters," he continues. "There are companies that do sports games. We do first person immersive games with depth. That's what we do.
Friday - July 10, 2009
Arkane Studios - Working on Bioshock 2
Unexpected news that Arkane is collaborating with 2K Marin on Bioshock 2. According to their website, they are helping in the areas of "design, animation and art". Another snip:
Here is what Alyssa Finley, producer at 2K Marin, says about Arkane’s contribution to the game :
“BioShock 2 is a world class project led out of 2K Marin that features involvement from a variety of premiere studios from around the world. In the past we’ve been working closely with 2K Australia for our tech needs and Digital Extremes for our robust multiplayer experience. Today I’m proud to say that we’ve added another important developer to the mix. Under the direction and leadership of 2K Marin, Arkane is assisting in the creation of levels that embody the aesthetic and gameplay ideals that make BioShock such a unique and exciting experience”
Thanks dju and stealth!
Sunday - May 17, 2009
Arkane Studios - Update
This is a tangential newsbit but it's been a while since we had any news of Arkane, so I thought it might be worth a mention on a slow weekend.
Wandering over to their site, they seem to have two projects in development in Lyon, France, based on a recruitment call. Four projects? We'll have to wait, because Arkane isn't saying a lot.
Friday - November 07, 2008
Arkane Studios - Hit by EA Cancelations
GamesIndustry.biz has news that recent project cuts at EA have impacted Arkane. We don't know what they were doing with EA - it's been a long time since we heard anything about their FPS The Crossing and we know even less about their RPG/FPS with Harvey Smith. Here's a snip:
Lyon-based Arkane Studios, one of the independent developers hit by EA's recent announcement of staff and project cuts, has told GamesIndustry.biz that the company is ready to move on from the set-back, and that the overarching economic situation could actually benefit indies in the long term.
"We're moving on," said CEO and creative director Raphael Colantonio. "We do have some reserves, some cash that allows us to wait for a while, to find deals and reassign staff. But the right deals - that's really important, to keep the vision of what our objective is as a company, and what our identity is.
"The context right now - the climate, everybody is looking at making sure they'll be profitable, or at least get through the crisis, and we're just one of them. We want to make sure things go fine with us.
But Colantonio, while admitting that the situation was disappointing, was upbeat on the company's future.
"The positive side is that we have the capacity to work on other projects now. To some degree, although it sounds like a bit of a paradox, all these publishers cutting things right now - I think it will eventually benefit the independent developers.
Thursday - September 18, 2008
Arkane Studios - New FPS-RPG Revealed
Well, well, well...this an unexpected one. Although we were disappointed when Arkane switched gears and undertook The Crossing instead of returning to the FP-RPG genre (like Arx Fatalis), Gamasutra has news of their return to an "immersive first-person RPG" from an Austin Game Developers Conference address. The added twist? It's being developed at their Austin studio by Harvey 'Witchboy' Smith of Ion Storm fame. Nothing is revealed of the game other than "Smith mentioned that he was particularly happy in getting back to the kinds of experiences that he helped to design with titles such as Deus Ex and Thief: Deadly Shadows".
Wednesday - August 29, 2007
Arkane Studios - New Project?
You may recall some time ago we had news that Arkane's next project would be a full-blown MP-focused shooter called The Crossing (story). Worthplaying has a short bit an another title, although no details are currently known:
An overview of Arkane Studios' CEO Raphaël Colantonio LinkedIn profile reveals that the French development studio is not only working on its Source-powered shooter The Crossing, but also an unannounced new project. No further details were revealed about whether this is in the works at its Lyon headquarters or its recently formed Austin, Texas-based studio.
Saturday - December 23, 2006
Arkane Studios - The Crossing Revealed
It looks like Arkane's next project will fall out of our coverage with The Crossing just revealed. There's little information at present but the graphic at Arkane's site says "Fusing Single Player with MultiPlayer" and a sneak preview in Episode 60 of The 1Up Show apparently refers to it as a "crossplayer FPS" -- you'll have to download the 519Mb video file to find out for yourself.
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