The scene was set, it was E3 2006 and the big boys were showing off everything in their arsenal. The next generation of video games was upon us and the game industry was buzzing. Among the plethora of fantastic looking games unveiled to the public over the days of the show there were two Sony titles, both developed closely that truly stood out. One a cult hit on the PS2, the other a new IP that based on first impressions seemed to have the potential to be a blockbuster. In June 2008 came the news that both titles had been cancelled, a shock for all PS3 fans whom at the time were yearning for more exclusives to play in the face of strong competition from Microsoft that were paying big bucks to cut down the strong PlayStation exclusive line-ups of yester-year. Hope came in the form of an official statement from Team SOHO (in-house developer of both titles), announcing that the games had not been cancelled but only put on hold.
The video demo of “The Getaway” sent pulses racing at E3 2006, particularly the millions of fans that had played the original. Us Londoners have a soft spot for the game and wanted to see our own version of Grand Theft Auto in similar surroundings in it’s next-gen glory. Although they achieved relative success, the first two titles on PS2 (The Getaway and The Getaway: Black Monday) only achieved Metacritic scores of 72 and 57 respectively. It was clear that Grand Theft Auto had set an incredible benchmark that made it difficult for any newcomer to match.?
However that was then, and this is now. GTA IV released in 2008 has again managed to set an extremely high benchmark but this is a whole new generation and Sony now have the expertise and tools required to create a more than worthy competitor/alternative for PlayStation fans to thrive on. The original tech demos promised so much and this may all still be achieved.
What we still only know as “Eight Days” was truly an enigma. A simple trailer shown at E3 and then nothing was ever heard of it again. But it was obvious from the community on forums throughout the Internet that the initial cancellation news was a major blow and disappointment to all gaming fans. President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Shuhei Yoshida stated that cancellation of “Eight Days” was not because it was failing in production, but because Sony is increasingly moving towards online-supported games, and Eight Days did not fit that overall strategy.
There were rumours at one point that the game would be released as episodic content, split into 8 chapters (one for each day) and sold via the PlayStation Network. However, these reports have no solid foundation or source. Furthermore, suggestions from many gaming pundits that the E3 demo was purely CGI and not in-game as the HUD in the videos suggested. Patrick Klepek (1UP.com) referred to the footage as having “almost too much polish” compared to other games that were shown. Alex Navarro (Gamespot) also doubted the footage, saying “Certain sequences included a full HUD but even then, is it too good to be true?” The most resounding comments coming from the UK, with Mike Jackson (CVG UK) claiming that the video is “blatantly pretend in-game CGI”.
So how does Nathan Drake come into all of this? Very simple. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is currently the definitive PlayStation 3 title (although that may change with the arrival of God of War III). What the producers of Uncharted (Naughty Dog Studios) achieved with Nathan Drake’s story is nothing short of phenomenal as both a game-play and visual gaming experience. This knowledge and expertise can obviously be passed on internally to the London based Team SOHO who are working on “The Getaway” and “Eight Days”. Given how successful Uncharted 2 was and the graphical peaks that the developers reached, i’m sure some of the experienced gaming pundits above may want to retract some of their comments in the previous paragraph. Particularly since the graphics, level of detail and action achieved in Uncharted 2 was previously described as “pretend in-game CGI”.
The future is looking very rosy for PlayStation owners with the plethora of Triple A titles coming from Sony’s in-house studios. The quality of the games is increasing almost exponentially year on year as the developers become more familiar with the complex but powerful hardware inside that lovely black box. Hold on tight people, we predict more blockbusters on the way.
A big thank you to Suff from WENB and FSB for the fantastic article.