Bad news for those of you anticipating Arkane Studios' and Valve's "crossplay" FPS The Crossing (and for those of you with good memories). After the two-year anniversary of the game's debut passed earlier this year, we renewed our attempts to get some information on the innovative shooter. In case you don't remember, The Crossing promised to merge single-player and multiplayer gaming (hence the "crossplay" moniker). Two years ago, the premise seemed impossibly ambitious; now, after the success of Valve's Left 4 Dead (and, specifically, its Versus mode) we're a lot more confident the approach could work.
So, what happened to the project? "We ran into an unexpected financial challenge some months ago and we had to put The Crossing on hold," Raphael Colantonio, CEO and creative director of Arkane Studios, told us. "Since then, we shifted our efforts to other very good projects." Two of those projects are reportedly underway at Arkane's Austin studio, an FPS RPG and a "casual strategy game" for the iPhone, under the direction of Deus Ex-alum Harvey Smith.
So, what financial challenge is Colantonio referring to? If you'll recall, in November of last year Colantonio said the ongoing EA job cuts had an "unfortunate consequence" for Arkane. "The next morning the team on EA's side was greatly downsized and we were told about the strategic decision and its unfortunate consequence on our collaboration," Colantonio told GameDaily at the time. That EA would be involved in the publishing of The Crossing makes sense, since the game's already-announced publishing partner, Valve, has buddied up with EA Partners for its last several releases. Another possibility: the economic hit of losing the EA partnership resulted in halting active development on The Crossing.
Our repeated requests for comment from both Valve and EA have gone unanswered; however, if you have any relevant information regarding The Crossing, you can always share it with us (anonymity assured!).
One last note: Colantonio told us, "I can't comment too much about The Crossing other than saying that we have a really fun demo (really, really fun)." While you won't be playing that demo anytime soon, you can experience a little more of how The Crossing was shaping up (two years ago!) by checking out 1UP's preview (tied into the game's Games for Windows cover story debut) and the "Crossplayer" trailer below. Or hop straight into the gallery for the last round of pics seen of the game.