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Remembering forgotten experiments in the birth of a genre

"Many people talked about an unusual magnetism to the game, which even found its way into their real-life dreams." - Chris Stashuk, co-founder of Immercenary developer Five Miles Out
"Many people talked about an unusual magnetism to the game, which even found its way into their real-life dreams."
- Chris Stashuk, co-founder of Immercenary developer Five Miles Out. In 1995, the FPS genre was still new, and so were 3D, CD-ROM based console games. In a new Gamasutra feature, we take a look back at Immercenary, an Electronic Arts-published shooter for the 3DO -- a console footnote, but an early playground for new ideas. The game was developed by first-time studio Five Miles Out, which brought together influences such as Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and the nascent popularity of the internet to create a cyberpunk-inflected free-roaming shooter set in a virtual city. "We loved the idea of the player moving back and forth. The virtual world was seductive, and being a super hero avatar felt great. Leaving the 'real world' was not hard, even though it came with a hidden cost: the loss of freedom and self-determination," says Marla Johnson-Norris, who worked on the game at Five Miles Out. The game may have been unique, but the studio soon found it couldn't find significant work after its first project, and ended up shifting gears away from games. You can learn more about the development of this unusual, early attempt at rich, character and world-focused FPS gameplay -- with never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos and new interviews with key developers -- by reading the Gamasutra feature.

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