November 28, 2006 - Videogame super spies move too slowly. At least the team at Edge of Reality studios thinks so. The Austin-based developer has played every stealth game under the sun and found them lacking. Now, after years of making profitable license games (think Shark Tale and Over the Hedge), they intend to do something about it. Put simply, they want to kick the stealth genre into overdrive by making it faster, smarter, and increasingly brutal.
The game to make it all happen is [Register or Login to view links], and it just happens to be Edge of Reality's very first original game. After years of squirreling away money from its franchise offerings, the team decided the time was right to start making Cipher Complex, an idea the team had been brewing for years. It would carve out its own subgenre by focusing on something the team likes to call "aggressive infiltration." And yes, it plays exactly like it sounds. Instead of sitting in a dark corner waiting for a guard to walk by, players will actively push through obstacles (living or otherwise) to achieve their goals. Players avoid detection through speed and lightning-fast executions -- not from hiding and avoiding confrontation.
That's the first cornerstone developers want to get right. The second has less to do with action and everything to do with how players fit within the gameworld. Specifically, the game needed an intriguing story and a strong cast of characters. To pull this off, Edge of Reality snagged Mark Bristol, a storyboard artist and film director who has worked on dozens of Hollywood projects including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Equilibrium and Memento. Taking the documentary Why We Fight as a major source of inspiration, Bristol set out to pen a compelling story with meaning - something few games can claim. With ties to real-world events, the story in Cipher Complex means to examine war as one of the most profitable businesses the world has ever known.
At the center of it all is protagonist John Sullivan, whom Bristol approached as if writing any other movie character. A nomadic orphan who joined the military, Sullivan spent his first tour of duty engaged in reconnaissance work in Iraq during the Gulf War. After a stint at the NSA, his reputation as a badass soon earned him a spot in a newly formed agency created to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Cipher went from everyday soldier to legitimate nuke hunter. At the start of the game, players find Cipher on the trail of a Russian warhead in Northern Iraq, just before the U.S. invaded in 2003.