We reported back in March that Warren Spector, the famed producer of games including System Shock, Crusader: No Remorse, and Deus Ex, has returned to the business of making immersive sims (opens in new tab). Today we learned a little bit more: It's got a title, Argos: Riders on the Storm, and it's multiplayer.
"From the creative mind of Warren Spector comes a new game, set in an alien yet strangely familiar world," the Otherside Entertainment website (opens in new tab) states. "As with Warren’s earlier work in the Immersive Simulation genre, the world will offer players the chance to 'pick a playstyle' - to decide for themselves how to interact with a deeply simulated outdoor environment.
"But be aware that the choices you make will have consequences, large and small, and directly affect your experience. You will be able to team up with friends to weave a unique story unlike that of any other players."
The website unfortunately does not offer any further detail, but there is a logo, so that's something:
The multiplayer angle is new, not just for Spector but for immersive sims in general, which tend to be singleplayer experiences. That's what attracted him to the idea in the first place.
"I’m a relentless advocate for immersive sims," Spector told IGN (opens in new tab). "I’ve been thinking for years now, 'What is the next step in immersive sims?’ I think I've figured that out ... It’s about time I tried multiplayer."
Later in the interview, Spector said the multiplayer component will work on a relatively small scale, rather than with tens or hundreds of players running around at the same time. That's understandable, and probably unavoidable, given how tricky it is to pull off multiplayer in immersive sims. System Shock 2 multiplayer is a great example of this: It was fun, but it was also a gong show for hackers and OSA agents trying to move through the game professionally while gun-crazed marines were running around blasting everything in sight. Definitely not the sort of thing that's meant for pick-up games.
Otherside's Underworld Ascendant (opens in new tab), a spiritual successor to the great Ultima Underworld games, was an unadorned catastrophe when it came out in 2018, but Spector has very high aspirations for Argos: Riders on the Storm. "If people want ‘unique and innovative', even I look at what we’re doing and think we’re crazy," he said. "The team is accomplishing more than I asked."