Haze Hype - Day 1: Halo 3's Competitor Is Not Unproven

By William Usher 2007-08-09 01:39:53 discussion comments
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A lot of comments have been tossed around from readers about Haze being unproven IP. It's being said that the game doesn’t deserve hype or to be compared to Halo 3 because no one heard of "Haze". If this was Stranglehold we were talking about, I would readily agree. The IP is unproven because it’s based on licenced property (viz., Hard Boiled) and it’s aiming to do something very ambitious. But unlike Tiger Hill, Free Radical has been around for a very long time. A lot of people tend to forget that Free Radical were the original designers of the first-person shooter that radically changed the console gaming industry – I’m talking about GoldenEye for the N64.

These guys and gals at Free Radical are not inceptive to designing games in the FPS genre. For them to take on new intellectual property doesn’t mean that they have to “prove” their skills to gamers every time they come up with a new idea in the same genre. If Bungie decided to take on a new shooter franchise, would everyone say that they have to prove their abilities with the new IP? Of course not. In fact, if Bungie announced a new IP directly after the successful release of Halo 3, everyone would flock to the news and instantly claim that it’s a project that’s worth keeping your eyes on.

This exact same scenario has already played out with Microsoft and Epic's Gears of War; a new IP that quickly turned into a hype machine with very little backlash. People weren't saying "I'm leery of this game, it's new and the developers have to prove this will be good" they were saying "Gears of War looks freaking awesome! It's the Xbox 360's first real killer-app". The game didn't offer anything new in the gameplay department, but that didn't matter once Microsoft spear-headed a Halo-sized hype parade a year before the game was released.

Gamers seem to forget that just because it’s a new IP doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an entirely new gaming experience (i.e., Gears of War, Hour of Victory, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, etc.) A lot of readers are claiming that Haze is an “unproven franchise” simply because it's a new franchise. But Free Radical's expertise in the FPS genre carries a lot of weight when taking into account the possibility of the game being successful. And often times established developers – when designing new IP – utilize features, functions, ideas and tools from previous games and implement them into their latest project. Take for example when id Software first released Doom...it was just a beefed up replica of Wolfenstein. Yuke’s Def Jam: Fight For NY was also a modified version of the No Mercy engine from the N64, which was a hardier engine from the PlayStation’s WCW vs The World.

Now in some cases, older games in the very same franchise are sometimes completely transformed into a whole new game (i.e., Splinter Cell: Conviction, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, Metal Gear Solid, etc) yet we don't consider them as games that require proof of potentiality. A perfect example of this is that Rockstar already has a powerful following for Grand Theft Auto IV, despite the fact that it’s running on a new engine; it has whole new gameplay features and is completely different from any GTA game before it. Yet no one has stated that Rockstar or Take-Two needs to “prove” themselves with GTA IV. Gamers are simply expecting a good game from Rockstar.

Also, take into account that games like Mass Effect may be considered as new IP, but it’s still running on some of the technology that proved to be award-winning when used for Knights of the Old Republic, and originally Baldur’s Gate. So let’s not pretend that new IP necessarily means “unproven”. Because in some cases, long-lasting franchises actually become worse over time (i.e., Medal of Honor, Madden NFL, Nascar, Dynasty Warriors, etc.,) and essentially the developers have to go back to the drawing board to reinvigorate the franchise. But simply based on the provided examples, “unproven” does not qualify as a descriptor given Free Radical’s past projects (i.e., GoldenEye, TimeSplitters, Perfect Dark, Second Sight, etc.) I’m not saying that Haze has nothing to prove, but I am suggesting that it’s not a game coming from developers who are far left-field.

Hopefully readers will take to heart that this is not to badger Halo, but it’s simply to help hype a game that could very well be just as good, if not possibly better than Halo. For anyone who doesn’t mind the competition (or an alternative to the Halo hype) I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of CB Games’ Haze Hype.
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