What's Up At Arkane Studios? Color Us Interested

by Andy McNamara on Aug 26, 2010 at 08:35 AM

On August 12th, Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax, announced the acquisition of Arkane Studios at Quakecon in Dallas, Texas (the official site has remained "under construction" since). While the announcement itself was rather low-key, if you take a look at the people on hand at Quakecon representing Arkane, it does bring up some interesting possibilities.

For those unfamiliar with Arkane Studios, it was founded in 1999 and is best known for Arx Fatalis (2002) and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (2007). More about its gameography can be found here.

One of the interesting things to note is that the company was working on a game called the The Crossing, which has sent been put “on hold” officially since its unveil in 2007.

The Crossing

Is this the mysterious game the reason that ZeniMax picked up Arkane Studios? We don’t know for sure, but it is a possibility. However, we have the feeling that it is a new game entirely (hopefully in the vein of a first-person RPG), but the real story here is the talent working on this new project.

The team at Arkane has some interesting talent on tap for its new product. Co-directing with Arkane founder and CEO, Raphael Colantonio, is none other than Harvey Smith, who is best known for his work as lead designer on Deus Ex. Joining them is Victor Antonov, who is best known as the mastermind behind the art direction for City 17 in Half-Life 2.

At Quakecon, Game Informer did a fair share of asking around, and while no one was willing to spill the beans, we got a number of comments hinting that “it’s unbelievable” from some select Bethesda employees who have seen the product. It must be, as the game has to be at least good enough for ZeniMax to want to purchase the entire studio.

The mysterious title sounds like it is still a long way off, but any game featuring talent that played such pivotal roles in some of gaming’s greatest titles in Deus Ex and Half-Life 2 (numbers 48 and five respectively on our Top 200 Games of All Time from Issue 200 last year) has definitely got our attention.

[UPDATE] Harvey Smith posted this from his Twitter account (@Harvey1966) today : "Arkane Studios ("a Zenimax company") seeks another senior AI engineer for an immersive first-person game." Interesting...