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[Gamasutra] Q&A: Phil Harrison On Why Atari Is Softening Its Hardcore Focus

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05.00PM PST, 05/23/08 - Chris Remo

Quote:
Phil Harrison hardly had time to settle into his highly-publicized new role as president of Infogrames before being shuttled across the Atlantic to head up a press junket for Eden Studios' upcoming Alone in the Dark.

Questions abound regarding Harrison's plans for Infogrames and subsidiary Atari - he has indicated he plans to focus more on online and social gaming, areas he was known to champion (sometimes with resistance) during his long tenure at Sony Computer Entertainment.

Soon he will be launching Alone in the Dark, an update to the classic survival series that has been in the works for some four years at Eden.

The high-budget title that hopes to bridge some of the gaps between games and passive serialized entertainment like television - it is sold all on one disc, but the game is split up into episodes, even allowing users to skip ahead to episodes they have not yet reached. It is set to ship this June for PC and Xbox 360, alongside Wii and PS2 versions from Hydravision Entertainment; a PS3 version is expected this fall.

Gamasutra sat down with Harrison during the recent event - although he was largely unwilling to stray off the topic of the headlining game, as we were reminded numerous times by multiple PR folk.

Still, he did touch on some of his longer-term plans for Atari, and indicated that Alone in the Dark is likely to represent one of the publisher's last forays into high-budget, single-player hardcore gaming...

Based on statements you've made, I get the impression this might be the type of title you're going to be angling away from - this large-budget, core title. You've spoken about a desire to do more social kind of gaming. Does Alone in the Dark represent a sort of swan song for that kind of thing at Infogrames/Atari?

PH: "Swan song" is probably not the right word, but I think Atari is part of an industry in some transition from pure packaged media to an online business model and social communication and community model. If we are part of that transition, perhaps we are going to take a slightly aggressive, leading-edge role in that transition.

I don't see that we're going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won't be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.
[SOURCE]

Fat lady tuning up for AAA single player narrative-driven games? I hope not...
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Where is my TDU2?
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post #3 of 3
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I don't see that we're going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won't be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.
Translation: Expect a MMORPG that can siphon off some of those WoW dollars.
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