After eight years of working on other people's ideas, developer Edge of Reality (whose recent projects include the canceled Fear & Respect, the PC version of Over the Hedge and the GameCube version of The Sims) is branching out with its own self-funded project. Due out sometime next year, Cipher Complex will apparently be a spy thriller, following secret agent John Cipher as he slips behind enemy lines to investigate the destruction of a recon satellite.
Little else has been revealed about the game, but we do know that the game will have a "serious, contemporary overtone," according to Creative Director Thomas Coles.
"It'll be the kind of stuff you see in the news," Coles said, adding that the realistic tone will make the game more accessible for anyone uncomfortable with a fantasy setting, or with "being a ninja."
What we do know about the game itself sounds promising. From the concept art we've seen - which we're told is very similar to what the actual screenshots look like - Cipher Complex appears to be a third-person action game with flight and stealth elements. Perhaps more importantly, the developers say they plan to spend roughly two-thirds of the development time testing, retesting and rebuilding the game to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Coles also told us that Cipher Complex will sport "one of the most sophisticated lighting engines ever," to the point that the lighting adjusts with your character's vision - i.e., spending time in darkness will allow your eyes to adjust, while leaving a dark building will make the sunlight outside much brighter at first.
The team also learned a lot about artificial intelligence while working on The Sims, Coles said, and that experience will be parlayed into complicated behaviors for the in-game characters players will meet in Cipher Complex.
But what sounds especially promising is that - according to Edge of Reality President Binu Philip - Cipher Complex is a case of a development team going all-out to just make the kind of game they themselves really want to play, without input from a publisher or other third party.
The downside of that, Philip said, is that they have only themselves to blame if it fails.
June 23, 2006