Thursday, March 03, 2011

Espionage, Now With 100% More Looking Glass

From "On3Lung", in reference to my recent post about the dearth of espionage games:
Ok, it wasn't espionage that killed them, but an espionage game was central to the downfall of Looking Glass Studios.

The team that would become Irrational Games was at Looking Glass in Boston, and they had a contract with Microsft to do a FPS game capitalizing on the Thief style of game play. It was set in the 1950s, and the main character was a spy (think Monolith's No On Lives Forever without the campy humor and a better game engine). The Irrational team bailed on Looking Glass to set up their own studio (not hard to blame them as the relationship with Eidos was not good and the overall health of the studio was questionable). So management in Boston decided to ask the studio in Redmond (where I was) to represent themselves as the NEW team in charge of the property and represent that everything was sailing smoothly along, nothing to worry about. Those of us in Redmond elected not to do that, since we didn't have the personnel to pull that off (our three engineers were rolling off an N64 'racing' game, and we had no one with experience in the tool set). Besides we knew the folks at Microsoft well enough to know they would see through that little charade. It came to pass that Microsoft cancelled the project and wanted their advance back, which the studio had already spent getting other projects out the door. By the time all that went down, I was fortunately already out the door as the Looking Glass office in Redmond was closed down.

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