The Spy

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In­dulge the Spy for just a mo­ment as we ex­plore the won­der­ful world of videogame nam­ing con­ven­tions. Ac­tu­ally, ‘con­ven­tions’ is a bit of a strong word. Films and nov­els have nam­ing con­ven­tions. Videogame ti­tles em­anate from a place be­yond struc­ture or pat­tern, more like bursts of dis­tant and im­per­sonal cos­mic en­ergy than a mean­ing­ful at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate.

Sorry, sorry. This month SEGA is re­spon­si­ble for in­vok­ing this headspace with a dis­crete trade­mark fil­ing for a new game: Re:volvers8. Not much is known about it, and the mir­a­cle of this ti­tle is that not much can be known. Ac­cord­ing to its heav­ily stylised logo, Re:volvers8 could also be called any­thing from Re:volverS8 to Re:vo 8 VerS. There isn’t a game called Re:volvers, so this isn’t the eighth one of those. ‘ Volvers’ isn’t the name of a game ei­ther, so this isn’t a rogue email sub­ject line. Ba­si­cally, no­body knows what this is or what it means, ex­cept that it ex­ists. It’s sim­ply a lit­tle bit of in­for­ma­tion added to ex­is­tence, oc­cu­py­ing space in the uni­verse’s RAM. Thanks a lot, SEGA.

Else­where: the sud­den clo­sure of Tell­tale Games – and the re­dun­dancy with­out sev­er­ance of over 200 em­ploy­ees – is a hard re­minder of the con­di­tions that this in­dus­try im­poses on many of its most tal­ented peo­ple. It is (and should be) taken se­ri­ously, so no jokes here: but the Spy thought you might be in­ter­ested in the can­celled Stranger Things game that the stu­dio was work­ing on prior to the events of mid-Septem­ber.

Tell­tale’s Stranger Things would have adopted a sim­i­lar stylised vis­ual de­sign to the stu­dio’s other games, but make use of a mix of a much tighter third-per­son per­spec­tive for ex­plo­ration and puz­zle-solv­ing as well as – for the first time, as far as the Spy un­der­stands – first­per­son for par­tic­u­lar se­quences in the eerie oth­er­world of the Up­side Down. Leaked footage shows an at­tempt to flee, Am­ne­sia- style, from the mon­ster: in­clud­ing lots of spooky dis­tor­tion and a lot of hid­ing un­der a bed. The game will not be re­leased: all you can take with this is that de­vel­op­ers at Tell­tale were start­ing to break away from the for­mula es­tab­lished in The Walk­ing Dead by the time the stu­dio’s man­age­ment dev­as­tat­ingly let them down.

Devil in the de­tails

Lighter things, then: Bl­iz­zard is work­ing on a first-per­son co-op ac­tion game and pos­si­bly a new Di­ablo. Both projects were un­earthed by a Bl­iz­zard fo­ru­mite via the time-hon­oured tra­di­tion of por­ing over job list­ings. They’re hir­ing ex­ten­sively for the Di­ablo se­ries, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to some­thing called ‘ Di­ablo World’. An ex­pan­sion? Di­ablo IV? World of Di­ablo? Reader, the Spy sim­ply do not know, be­cause names do not mean any­thing, re­mem­ber?

There’s no name for that first per­son co-op game, ei­ther, ex­cept that it’ll be ac­tion packed and they’re look­ing for peo­ple with co-op, table­top and RPG ex­pe­ri­ence in or­der to make it. Given Over­watch’s ori­gins as the PvP mode for a Des­tiny- style MMO called Ti­tan, the Spy reck­ons there’s still a lot of PvE ex­per­tise knock­ing around that team. Could that re­solve it­self into some­thing like Over­watch meets Left 4 Dead? It’s very pos­si­ble. Then they’d only need to make Over­watch Counter-Strike and Over­watch Ric­o­chet and they’d fi­nally have made off with all of Valve’s mul­ti­player shoot­ers. Re­venge for DotA at last. Spy out.

Tell­tale was start­ing to break away from the for­mula es­tab­lished in TWD

The Spy The Spy’s full name is Th­e­saurus Spy­rovitz.

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