The Journal of New England Technology brings word that former Iron Lore lead designer Arthur Bruno and art director Eric Campanella have formed a new studio called Crate Entertainment. Not only that, but they've also acquired the rights to two of Iron Lore's previously unannounced projects, including an Xbox 360 action RPG entitled Black Legion.
In the world of action role-playing games, Iron Lore Entertainment couldn't get to the next level but the games it was developing will live to fight again. Titan Quest II, perhaps?
Iron Lore ran out of cash last February while trying to duplicate the success it had with Titan Quest, a computer RPG, with an offering on the Microsoft Corp. Xbox 360 gaming console. That project, dubbed (Black Legion,) is now out to game publishers in a demo, after two former Iron Lore employees quietly formed their own gaming company, Crate Entertainment, and bought the rights to it.
(One of our real goals is to take the solid game play we established in Titan Quest and repackage it to make it sort of grittier and more appealing to the mainstream audience,) said former Iron Lore lead designer Arthur Bruno, who founded Cambridge-based Crate with Eric Campanella over the summer. The Black Legion developers are using facilities at Demiurge Studios, through a cooperative arrangement with the Cambridge company, Bruno said.
Often derided as (hack and slash,) or (rat pellet) games, the outcome of combat in PC-based action RPGs like Titan Quest, Diablo or Dungeon Siege is usually statistically determined. Such treasure hunting and statistics-based character progression can be addictive, Bruno said but console players demand more sophisticated action. (We're trying to evolve the action to something that will bring the RPG to its next level,) he said.
Crate Entertainment also plans to include Internet-based player-versus-player combat in the title. Bruno declined to disclose details of Crate's second project, also purchased from Iron Lore.