RET­RO­SPEC­TIVE: SEC­OND SIGHT

Pub­lisheR Code­mas­ters / De­vel­oper Free Rad­i­cal De­sign / For­mat Xbox

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS -

You’ve heard of Per­fect Dark, right?

And Gold­enEye 007 for N64? Oh, and you re­mem­ber the TimeS­plit­ters se­ries, of course. Yep, those are some ab­so­lute clas­sics. You might also know that they all came from the same core team – a team that started at Rare, be­fore they splin­tered off as a new stu­dio. And it was at Free Rad­i­cal De­sign that they made the in­cred­i­ble TimeS­plit­ters se­ries. But that team cre­ated more than just those few gam­ing mega-hits. Be­tween the ex­cep­tional TimeS­plit­ters 2 and the un­der­per­form­ing

TimeS­plit­ters: Fu­ture Per­fect came an­other ti­tle – a mind-bend­ing, story-driven ac­tion ti­tle called Sec­ond

Sight. And it was bloody bril­liant. Bril­liant it might have been, but Sec­ond Sight wasn’t the com­mer­cial suc­cess it should’ve been. Prob­lems with the orig­i­nal pub­lisher meant the an­nounce­ment of the game was de­layed. The re­lease was un­for­tu­nately timed with an­other, sim­i­lar ti­tle. And in the end, not many peo­ple heard about the third-per­son ad­ven­ture made by the guys that cre­ated some of the best shoot­ers of a gam­ing gen­er­a­tion. It wasn’t the end for Free Rad­i­cal, but this is a game that de­served so much more. Trick of the mind The idea for Sec­ond Sight had been knock­ing around in the mind of its writer, David Doak, for a few years be­fore he and the team even­tu­ally got to make it. In fact, it was sup­posed to be Free Rad­i­cal’s first game as a new stu­dio. Back then it was called Redemp­tion, but the gen­eral idea was the same – your ac­tions in the game would change the course of the story. But when the re­lease of the PS2 was de­layed, Sony saw an op­por­tu­nity for a sim­pler, mul­ti­player-fo­cused shooter. One that re­quired less sto­ry­telling, and could be pro­duced in time to be a launch ti­tle for the new con­sole. That shooter was

TimeS­plit­ters. And after its suc­cess, the game that would later be­come

Sec­ond Sight was put on the back­burner – for more than four years.

But the idea was al­ways there. And when the game was even­tu­ally an­nounced in 2004 – just a few months be­fore its planned re­lease date – it had al­ready been in pro­duc­tion for a while. The plan had been to an­nounce it much ear­lier, but when the orig­i­nal pub­lisher got cold feet, things changed. By the time Code­mas­ters stepped in to help, it was al­most fin­ished, and the team had to work hard to build hype for a game that was com­ing out in just over six months. De­spite pos­i­tive cov­er­age be­fore and dur­ing E3, it wasn’t enough for Sec­ond Sight to light up the charts.

It didn’t help that the game launched within Gold­enEye 007 weeks of Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Con­spir­acy.

The two ti­tles were sur­pris­ingly sim­i­lar; both had psy­chi­cally-pow­ered pro­tag­o­nists, pow­er­ful men­tal at­tacks and awe­some physics. At the time, it was im­pos­si­ble to talk about one with­out some­one bring­ing up the other. The fates just weren’t on Sec­ond Sight’s side. But for many of those that did play it, it be­came an un­known gem.

Fans of TimeS­plit­ters could be for­given for think­ing it was a spinoff thanks to the art style alone. Its dis­tinc­tively blocky char­ac­ters were hugely ex­pres­sive, and at the time the game looked gor­geous. The team chose the graph­i­cal

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