Leslie Benzies has revealed the first project his new company/companies will be working on after reports of their incorporation began circulating recently. His recent schism with Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive hasn’t slowed the man down and based on his descriptions of “Everywhere“, it merely spurred him on.
The first important takeaway from this reveal is that he’s already begun poaching talent from Rockstar North, the studio he previously headed. Both Colin Entwistle, former lead programmer and Matthew Smith, former audio director at the studio, have joined him in his new endeavor. Both seem to hold high-ranking positions in the new studio, and it is unknown how many others of the 90 people working under Benzies are former Rockstar employees.
Benzies, Entwistle and Smith gave an extensive interview to Polygon, a leading gaming publication, which had also run the story about the upcoming project first. The trio spoke up a storm about the new project, but we don’t quite have a clear picture of what to expect – but based on how ambitious it sounds, it might be difficult to classify it at all.
One concrete thing we know about Everywhere is that its logo does that cute reverse letter thing and that it’s being built on Amazon’s Lumberyard engine, which is a heavily modified variant of the CryEngine (so the game’s visuals are bound to be top-notch). This choice allows Benzies’ team to focus on the creative aspect of development first and foremost.
We’re using Amazon’s Lumberyard which takes a lot of the grunt work out of making games and leaves our team to concentrate on the creative process. We’re able to move production forward in a far more elegant and speedy way than we were able to in the past.
Everywhere is a video game, but it’s also some kind of online platform that may or may not resemble a social network. It also has a story, narrative and characters, however players are encouraged to come up with their own stories, narratives and characters. The platform is described as being more open and less restrictive than any other game before it.
We’re building a video game. Our working title is “Everywhere.” While it’ll have many established gaming elements, we’re also including features that games haven’t touched on yet. I’d like to tell you all the stuff we’re excited about, but I have to keep the specifics under wraps for now.
The developers made it clear that the project is, for all intents and purposes, a video game, but one which pushes the boundaries of the medium and does something truly innovative. Of course, none of them could clarify in what way it’s innovative due to it being too early, but they’re all really enthusiastic about it.
It’s a game at heart — but not one that fits comfortably into any existing genre, and it definitely breaks out of the existing boundaries of what are typically classed as games.
While much of the interview contained a lot of big, hype-inducing words and little by way of actual answers, that is something to be expected at this point. However, let’s take a step back and look at what we have here. There is a simple reason why we shouldn’t write off Everywhere as the next No Man’s Sky.
And that reason is the talent involved. Not only is Everywhere being spearheaded by the man who was deeply involved in making GTA popular and commercially successful, but the team is being led by other accomplished veterans from that same group.
“The Benz” has been lauded as a project management genius, as evidenced by the fact that the Housers brought him in on Red Dead Redemption late in development as the project was a mess. Benzies promptly whacked things into shape, producing one of the most popular games of 2010.
Benzies also clarified in the interview that this project will be clearly distinct from GTA and any other project he worked on in the past. While he stated that obviously there will be recognizable aspects, the team is taking a fresh perspective with Everywhere. Studio Head Matthew Smith went on to explain that not being bound by deadlines and established IP was inspiring to the team.
We started by stepping away from everything done previously, and looked with fresh eyes at what the entertainment industry is crying out for and not currently doing a great job of making.
However long we might have to wait – and based on that description of the game, it will be a long wait – Everywhere’s team is a solid guarantee that the game won’t disappoint. We just hope Benzies’ ongoing legal battle with Rockstar and Take-Two can be sorted quickly so both camps can concentrate fully on making awesome games.
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