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Rumour: Singularity, Jedi Knight dev working on Bond game. New lease of life, or kiss of death?

So it's being rumoured that Raven Software, the Activision-owned developer of the criminally under-promoted Singularity, is hard at work on a unannounced Bond game that had previously been stalled by MGM's financial troubles. I don't know whether to happy about this story or not. Reasons I should be: Raven have previously been said to be reduced to Call of Duty DLC monkeys since Activision ensured that their excellent time-travelling FPS didn't sell.  Reasons I shouldn't be: A Bond game tends to be the kiss of death, however good your studio is.

Seriously, Activision giving you the Bond license is like being given a massive cake for your birthday, only to realise it's your 30th and you're in Logan's Run.


Above: The screens on this page come from a showreel by Raven animator Hanjin Song. Intriguing, no?

There's just something about that license that honks "Danger, Will Robinson!", alongside a couple of slashing red lights and the occasional klaxon for emphasis. Let's look at the historical evidence. Treyarch had long been lambasted as the poor relation to Infinity Ward, written off as the second-tier developer who made the 'fake' Call of Duty games that gave the big-boy team the time to make the real ones. As such, it was saddled with the Quantum of Solace license. And despite Treyarch actually being a decent team, said tie-in turned out to be completely average, and the studio didn't gain wide-spread respect until things all went tits-up at Infinity Ward.

Then Bizarre Creations, developer of such gems as Geometry Wars and the Project Gotham series, had an Activision bomb in the shape of Blur. And Activision responded by sticking it on the Bond License. It made Blood Stone. Which sucked. Now Bizarre Creations is up for sale or closure.

And now Raven, with its lengthy history of great PC and console development, has been handed what seems increasingly to be a poison chalice, following a great but vastly under-selling game. You can probably see why I'm worried.

Of course, this could turn out fantastically well, if indeed this rumour is true at all. Of all film licenses, Bond has the greatest potential for a great video game. A Bond title should be Metal Gear with Martinis, Gears of War with gadgets and Burnout with bazookas. And Raven has more than enough talent to make it work. Let's face it, everyone was dubious when Nintendo picked up the Bond license and gave it to Rare, and look how that turned out. Fingers, eyes, and legs crossed, people.

But just what is it about Bond that has led to such a string of failures, despite all the potential and the creativity involved? Has it just been a case of otherwise great teams working with too many constraints as a result of dealing with a licensed property? Is the Bond movie-going demographic out of step with the triple-A game-buying demographic? Or is this all just a string of unfortunate coincidences interpreted by a supersticious games journalist? Let me know what you think.

Also, buy Singularity.

17 comments

  • EnragedTortoise1 - December 7, 2010 12:32 p.m.

    I'd buy Singularity if I could, trust me. :( But really, this is sad. Sadder than sad. The game will suck, and everyone will mourn the loss of another great dev. Let's just hope they are put to better use elsewhere. also, firsts.
  • JD_Method - December 7, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    I thought Blood Stone was alright, actually. Have you played it Dave?
  • ryanjohnson - December 7, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    I am highly enjoying Blood Stone. It may be scripted and linear, but it is necessary for the story to be driven at the pace expected for a Bond game. I love the controls, and feel like Bond in it. Sad to see the group behind it is having troubles. I'm highly enjoying Goldeneye as well....plus Everything or Nothing was great, too. Quantum and Russia weren't amazing, but not terrible either. A great developer can make a great game, no matter what. I'm excited to see a fresh face on Bond, just like the actor changes. They all brought something special to the role, just as each company can bring something fun to it as well.
  • NeelEvil - December 7, 2010 2:43 p.m.

    @ RavingRudeboy- Bit of advice, don't feed the trolls. On topic, Activision seem to have gone a bit mental between handing off the bond license as punishment & their policy of dev teams having to earn the right to develop new IPs. Hopefully the staff at Raven find better jobs after this inevitably bombs.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - December 7, 2010 3:13 p.m.

    Troll neutralised. Nothing to see here.
  • crumbdunky - December 7, 2010 3:52 p.m.

    Can't we actually neuter, rather than neutralise trolls and stop them breeding? I'm up for spaying a few meself.
  • crumbdunky - December 7, 2010 3:52 p.m.

    Can't we actually neuter, rather than neutralise trolls and stop them breeding? I'm up for spaying a few meself.
  • crumbdunky - December 7, 2010 3:53 p.m.

    Stupid double post-after being told I may be a robot just for being blind.
  • cracker33 - December 7, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    I really hope that Bond isn't poison. I love Raven software and their games, especially Singularity and Wolfenstein.
  • FOZ - December 7, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    Without Raven, who will develop new versions of old id franchises? But Raven seems to pretty much stick to one thing. Having them make a Bond game pretty much takes away everything they've had in their previous fps's.
  • fattoler - December 7, 2010 4:54 p.m.

    I bought singularity for £20 in GAME yesterday. Utterly Brilliant.
  • slowdrum13 - December 7, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    Everything or nothing wasn't based on a movie either and it was awesome.
  • RicePuddingUK - December 7, 2010 5:38 p.m.

    At least this game looks like its had effort put into the graphics, Blood Stone had borderline Playstation 2 graphics when it came to character textures, lazy. This looks the real deal and Jedi Knight is one of my favourite game series back in the glory days of the PC
  • TruckThunders - December 7, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    I'd much rather have another Jedi Knight game. But since Lucasarts has their own studio now I'm sure that won't happen. I have no interest in the hack and slash style of The Force Unleashed series. Someone let Raven make another Jedi Knight title.
  • gamingfreak - December 7, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    Heres hopin' Activision dosen't kill another decent dev team.
  • batmanboy11 - December 7, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    I have faith in Raven, but I hope Activision has some and gives them as much times as they need. Providing this is true, of course.
  • JangoFettN7 - December 7, 2010 9:20 p.m.

    Raven is a fantastic developer, If anyone can make a great Bond game- its them. Although this game appears to be 3rd person, and they are typically a FPS developer... Why does Activision like to kill their own Dev teams?

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