A couple of years ago, several key devs who once built MMOs for Cryptic – Craig Zinkievich, Shannon Posniewski, and Matt Highison – announced they had formed a new gaming studio called Cold Iron to build a “high-quality AAA online action game” that later turned out to use the Aliens IP. At the time, the company was talking it up as a shooter, but with a persistent world. In fact, we asked point-blank how much of an MMO the title would turn out to be, given the MMO pedigree of its developers. Here’s what Zinkievich, who once led the Star Trek Online team, told Massively OP two years ago.
“If you look at the gaming landscape, more and more games in different genres are incorporating elements and systems that are considered ‘MMO features.’ Those familiar with MMOs, know how compelling a lot of these systems can be – progression, world persistence, social interactions, shared experiences. It’s no wonder everyone is trying to get these elements in their games. Including us! Yes, we’ve got tons of MMO and online experience and we love what that brings to the player, but we don’t believe ‘MMO’ describes a genre anymore. We think it describes a suite of connected experiences (those things I mentioned and more) — MMO is no longer synonymous with tab-targeting RPGs, you know? We’re making an online action game, but I think it’s fair to say our title is going to feature and rely on MMO-like systems. We are absolutely using our expertise in MMOs to make gameplay even cooler. How much of an MMO will our game be? What’s the gameplay going to be like? The specifics are what we’re not prepared to divulge just yet. When we do the reveal and get you guys playable, I’d be curious what you think, for sure. We hope it’s MMO-like enough to warrant coverage and interest from your audience.”
I certainly interpreted that as a polite “no.” But that was 2016, and new info this week sheds some more light on how to characterize the project, as a new press release on Alien: Blackout includes a throwaway blurb on the Cold Iron game.
“FoxNext Games’ studio, Cold Iron Studios, is also currently at work on a massively multiplayer online shooter set in the Alien cinematic universe for consoles and PC.”
So still maybe not an MMORPG, but an MMOFPS is a possibility – we’re now assuming the game will turn out more like Destiny than like anything.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the FoxNext part? Last year, Cold Iron Studios was bought up by FoxNext, which also owns FogBank – that’d be the newish studio led by Daniel Erickson and fronted by multiple other BioWare (and specifically SWTOR) developers. Now there’s an interesting parent company, wouldn’t you agree?