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Adam Creighton, Computer and Video Gaming (Subscribe)

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Austin Edition (one good, one bad)

  1. Edge of Reality goes after original IP
  2. NCSoft Austin downsizes


1. Edge of Reality goes after original IP

On the positive side, Austin-based Edge of Reality, after solidly producing licensed content for publishers (PS2 The Sims, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, etc. ), is going the Gearbox (Halflife Blue Shift-cum-Brothers In Arms) route and producing original IP in the form of Cipher Complex.

According to Edge of Reality president Binu Philip:
“The evolution of action games has seemed to plateau, perhaps because of the emphasis on sequels. We are exploring and developing brand new styles of gameplay and methods of storytelling. The concept and mechanics of Cipher Complex have been incubating in our mind for years, and with power of the next-gen consoles, we can finally make our dream project a reality.”

You get to play as John Cipher, a covert ops soldier who is trying to find out what happened to a recon satellite that was knocked out of orbit. Right, the treatment sounds canned, but this may be the game for which I auditioned in February. If so, it's got a unique look, and a team that really wants to do something different. I shall follow up with Edge of Reality ...

No publisher is attached as of yet, and according to the company, this is by design -- they want the lattitude to build the game they want the way they want before signing a publishing partner.

The game is due 2007, and other Edge of Reality will continue to work on licensed IP.

2. NCSoft Austin downsizes

On the less-positive side, the Austin branch of Korea-based NCSoft has laid off approximately 70 of its 300 employees. An NCSoft spokesperson ackhnowledged "an immediate restructuring ... that included the difficult task of reducing members of its workforce."

Supposedly, none of the publisher's development teams have been affected by the move, (the forever-in-development Tabula Rasa team is still in hiring).

A lull in current and new NCSoft product launches is pinned on the flux of the MMORPG market, but it's probable that the flagship (at least stateside City of Heroes/Villains is seeing a subscriber decline, and AutoAssault, NCSoft's "caRPG", hasn't done so well.

My thoughts and well-wishes go out to those folks who lost their jobs, and their families.

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SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.


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