Editor's Note: The mysterious figure known as Superannuation is back with more fistfuls of gaming gossip about the people who made SOCOM, a mystery Crytek project and... more Dead Rising?. What has Superannuation dug from the internet this time to share with you wonderful Kotaku readers? Read on.
Some secrets are no longer secret.
According to a former senior Zipper designer, the studio was working on "two unannounced projects" at the time of its closure — one of which listed for PS3 and the other on a "TBD" platform. Based on the brief descriptions of the designer's roles on the two projects, it seems both were in the studio's wheelhouse of multiplayer-oriented shooters. In addition, another former Zipper senior designer lists two unannounced projects for an "Unannounced System" as his last credits. Could both projects have been targeting Orbis, or is "Unannounced System" just a standard vague descriptor?
Also of note: the entire development cycle of Zipper's Vita title Unit 13 lasted eight months — which seems a rather protracted amount of time when compared to other vanguard first-party titles with a two-year development cycle like Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Little Deviants.
Another Crackdown does not appear to be in the cards for Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian Games, but the studio seems to have turned into a general contractor for various Microsoft titles, as Ruffian was prior to the development of the aforementioned open-world sequel.
The Dundee-based firm was most recently one of the many teams credited on Star Wars Kinect, contributing to the game's Duel of Fates Mode. A Ruffian lead level designer's CV also mentions the recently-announced Nike+ Kinect Training, some multiplatform linear action game pitch, and more intriguingly, an "Unannounced Kinect Title" for Microsoft and Crytek featuring "multiplayer arenas."
Another CV discusses Ruffian's work on "a multiplayer map for a first person melee combat game based in the CryEngine" for 360. A Ruffian lead programmer's LinkedIn profile talks of "a first party CryTek project which [Ruffian] were contracted onto" which "focussed [sic] on melee combat [with] AI capable of evaluating dynamic combat situations and working as part of a team." The profile also describes a more recent "unannounced third-party project using CryEngine 3" that "makes extensive use of the Xbox Live server platform and Kinect" that I would suspect is the same as the previous game.
Crytek is, of course, notably working on the first-person hack-and-slash Kinect title Ryse for Microsoft — which the Ruffian project descriptions seem to match quite well, despite the various "unannounced" labels. Although Ryse's E3 2011 reveal depicted a very linear single-player experience, neither Microsoft nor Crytek have ever said that the game was exclusively single-player or even described the game with any degree of specificity, something that lends credence to Ruffian working on what sounds like a multiplayer mode for the game.
Codemasters appears to be well into development for the next generation consoles, according to online postings. A former user interface programmer states that she spent summer 2011 working on the studio's "EGO 2 engine, whilst at the same time developing and implementing the UI system for a new IP at Codemasters, that will span at least 6 platforms including true 'next-gen' hardware." She also mentions that the game will be the first to utilise the EGO 2 engine, which, contrary to popular belief, is yet to appear in any sort of game.
Job postings from last summer mentioned that the UK racing giant is working on a new racing IP alongside its F1, GRID, and Dirt franchises, and the studio has an incubatory team "to take [Codemasters] through the next five to 10 years" — presumably this new IP is related to one of those endeavours.
*** A senior software engineer who left Dead Rising 2 developers Capcom Game Studio Vancouver last month says the studio — which is currently working on two games — has a "soon to be announced AAA game." While a job posting from earlier this year revealed that Capcom Vancouver was working on an "Unannounced New IP" that is some sort of third-person action game, apparent details of a third Dead Rising leaked late last year, suggesting that is far further in development and a more likely candidate for this announcement (TGS perhaps?).
Finally, it seems we know the developer of Jordan Mechner's Karateka, which was announced back in February for a late 2012 release on XBLA and PSN. Among the credits on a Liquid Entertainment programmer's LinkedIn profile is ""Karateka" for XBLA & PSN," and the game appears to utilise UE3. Hopefully, Mechner's involvement will ensure it is better than Liquid Entertainment's previous console release — the critically eviscerated Thor tie-in game.
Superannuation is a self-described "internet extraordinaire" residing somewhere in the Pacific Time Zone. He tweets, and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.