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E3 Exclusive: Midway's Smith Working On Open-World RPG Title

Speaking to Gamasutra during E3, Harvey Smith, studio creative director at Midway Studios Austin (Blacksite: Area 51) revealed an unannounced open-world title that he's currently working on - more details on Blacksite also included.
Speaking to Gamasutra during a lengthy interview that will run in the future, Harvey Smith, studio creative director at Midway Studios Austin revealed an unannounced title, on which he is currently working with the studio. We spoke initially about the origins of his involvement with Blacksite: Area 51, a first person shooter with very impressive subversive political undertones. "I moved to Midway to work on this game that we haven’t announced yet, which is part open world, part RPG features," he began. "And I said ‘wow, this is fucking great! This will be my kind of thing!’" "And in the background, I love shooters too. There was this first person shooter," he continued, "and I just wasn’t that interested in it. And at first, I built the department there. The first year I was just hiring and firing, I hired more people than anybody, and fired more people than anybody. I sort of framed up the two games. It was effective I think but it was very personally dissatisfying because I wasn’t actually on a team. Then this game got into trouble about a year ago, and my boss, Denise Fulton, called me in and said ‘do whatever it takes.’ And I said ‘ok, but I’m going to have to move my desk!’ So I moved in with the team." Smith also outlined a dream game of his, in order to illustrate a point about Blacksite's political undertones. Initially, the concepts were resisted, just like the concepts in the game he mentions here. "This one game I want to make, I’d describe as a game that moms would like, more than hardcore gamers," offers Smith. "And yet it would benefit from something like the Unreal tech -- it would be very visceral, it would be very much about moving through a space, it would include breakables, and it wouldn’t be comedy. It wouldn’t be a soap opera either, kind of Lara Croft without the guns or something. I have no idea whether I’d ever get to work on it, but whenever I mention it, 10% of the industry is like ‘woah, way to go, that’s cool.' The other 90% are like a giant wall of resistance." A full interview with Harvey Smith, touching on politics and messages in entertainment games, the power of context, and the importance of designed moments in games, will run in the coming months.

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