Chris Delay of Introversion has just posted a surprising blog entry on the Introversion site . "A few hours ago I submitted Introversion's latest game to the IGF 2012," he writes. "This game was NOT Subversion."
Subversion is the game that the creators of Uplink, Defcon and Darwinia have been working on for the last few years. They've shown tech demos here and there, revealing an incredibly ambitious project in which players must rob bank vaults in procedurally generated cities. It's gorgeous, exciting, and now on hold for the foreseeable future.
Delay says that the project lost momentum when they showed a demo at the World Of Love conference in London. "Internally we had come to realise that somewhere along the 6 years of part-time development, we had lost our way. We couldn't even remember what sort of game it was supposed to be anymore," he writes.
"We'd ended up with a game that looked and sounded brilliant, classic Introversion with its blue wireframe and sinister faceless characters. But there was a massive gaping hole where you would normally see a “core game”. We'd tried and tried to fill that hole with ambitious tech and experimental systems, but you couldn't escape it."
August last year, Delay went on holiday, and came back with an idea for a new game, writing it into a ten page document on a freshly bought notepad on the flight home. "That was when the next game idea arrived. This new idea was fully formed, just like DEFCON, just like Uplink. I could see most of the core game design straight away. I could see how much of the tech that we'd designed for Subversion was directly applicable, if properly turned on its head. And within an hour or two, I'd made up my mind," he says.
"And like that, the decision that should have been incredibly difficult was made. We don't have the manpower to do multiple projects, so it was one game or the other, and I had no trouble convincing Mark and Tom which way I wanted to go."
Delay says that Subversion hasn't exactly been cancelled, but we shouldn't expect to hear anything about it anytime soon. "Without a core game it's all a worthless distraction, and I will NEVER again spend so long making tech for a game without having a solid core game in place first," writes Delay. "Subversion needs a total rethink from top to bottom, and some long standing sacred cows need slaughtering."
Which raises an exciting new question. What is Introversion's new game?