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What You Didn't Know About Singularity

Game development often lasts for years. And in that stretch of time, studios have their fair share of ups and downs. From humorous game bugs to stress-relieving antics, Game Informer peers behind the curtain of game development. In our first Tidbits column, Raven Software shares the stories behind the development of Singularity.

  • One of the designers is a Wisconsin state record holder in powerlifting.
  • Katherine, the female character in the game, was originally Russian and named Katya
  • Barisov used to be a character Renko met in 2010 named Yuri. Barisov and Yuri were actually the same person, but you interacted with them in different times.
  • The TMB Ice Cream bear, seen in the school cafeteria, was a drawing on a designer’s cubical whiteboard. TMB stands for Time Manipulation Bear.
  • The TMD used to be 1) A gun that you could switch to, which we felt was too clumsy. 2) An all-in-one weapon -- like a Swiss army knife. You can actually see this in the game in some old movies.
  • The children’s drawings in the old school house were original drawings from the children of Raven employees.
  • Deadlocks used to be a device you could find in levels, carry around, and use. Research labs in the front half of the game show them in one of the test labs; look for the red metal canisters.
  • At one point Demichev, the main antagonist, was a General named Zhukov. Unbeknownst to us, there really was a famous Russian General named Zhukov who was an American equivalent to General Eisenhower.
  • The player was originally going to be an investigator scoping out the conspiracy surrounding Katorga-12, inspired by a real-life Russian motorcyclist/photographer who would drive into Chernobyl-affected areas to document abandoned facilities.
  • One of the artists created a Renko figure made entirely out of folded paper with full-color art.
  • The Revert vomit vocalization sounds contain a performance by an anonymous sound designer who belched as loud and hard as possible in to a microphone.
  • Using the TMD’s Anti-Grav powers, one tester gathered 20 tires from around an entire level (Wastelands) in order to erect a set of stairs and hop outside the level geometry.
  • Sources for some of Singularity’s names: Katorga is Russian for penal servitude, as in serving hard labor at a Soviet labor camp. Inmates in Soviet labor camps were called Zeks. We used these names to infer that Element 99 was discovered at a remote labor camp and that the facilities on Katorga were built by Soviet inmates.
  • Motion capture actors had to rehearse a physical sequence and then figure out how to do it backwards. The backward performance was then played forward to make things creepy. It’s an old horror movie trick that was used for some of the ghosts that you see on the island.
  • Grahm McTavish, the voice of Barisov, also plays a Russian on the latest season of the TV show 24.
  • The revert design was inspired by the Rubber Johnny music video for Aphex Twin. We’re still fascinated by its disturbing imagery and tone. “Mama."
  • During multiplayer testing one programmer had fun using the enemy name Zek in his gamertag. Some examples:  Zeksual Healing, Zeks and Candy, Zeks Whacks, Group Zeks, ZeksInTheCity
  • Working on a new IP is hard, hard work.

For other Tidbits entries, click the desired game name: Shadow Complex, Borderlands, DJ Hero, Scribblenauts, LEGO Indiana Jones 2, Prototype, Fallout 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Ghostbusters, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, Overlord II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Red Faction: Guerrilla

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