As we reported back in May 2009, Arkane Studios’ unique-sounding Source engine game The Crossing had unfortunately been put on hold thanks to unforeseen financial complications. In July of the same year, however, we also learned that Arkane had been secretly aiding 2K Marin with the development of BioShock 2.
This is an exciting moment for Arkane. After 11 years of independent development, we couldn’t think of a better publishing partner,” said Colantonio. “We share so many creative values. Joining the ZeniMax family will allow us to grow stronger while staying true to the games we love.
Now, as it relates to the comments above, I know what you’re thinking, and you know what I’m thinking! Whereupon I’d like to guide us all to Will Porter’s April 2009 CVG article entitled “The Biggest Games We’ll Never See.” In the story, Porter interviewed various project leaders on the topic of failed big budget productions, one of them Arkane CEO Raphael Colantonio. In the interview, he explained why the studio had put The Crossing on hold:
Being an independent developer has great advantages as you can do the games you want, but it has a constraint too: money! We self-funded enough of the game that we could demo it to potential publishers. However, of the proposals we had, we never managed to reach an agreement that we felt was fair. Having been burnt in the past under similar situations, we decided to not do the game until all the conditions for doing it right were met. This happened at the same time as another publisher invited us to work on a very sexy game with good financial terms, so the choice became obvious.1
While much of the rest of the interview details how fun The Crossing’s 20-minute gameplay demo was (baww!), in closing, Porter questions Colantonio on the game’s future probability:
It’s a possibility. We’re really happy with how things turned out for us since then: our collaboration on BioShock 2 along with some other stuff. I’m also co-directing the game of my dreams with Harvey Smith [lead designer on seminal classic Deus Ex] now, so who knows?1
Now that Arkane is in the big leagues with what can only considered an amazing line-up of games of the same style – Brink, Rage, Fallout: New Vegas and The Hunted – the studio might finally have both the financial possibilities and freedoms to actually go back to The Crossing. Fingers crossed, eh? Eh!
If you’re interested in the Colantonio/Smith joint venture mentioned above, Rock, Paper, Shotgun published an extensive interview with Colantonio and Smith just last July.