Some Factor 5 news

#1
Factor 5 had some troubled years in recent history. How did it come to that point when everything looked quite promising in 2002?
Let us start in 2001, Factor 5 and LucasArts released Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, which was both a critical and commercial success. LucasArts and Factor 5 had established a long-term partnership with several Indiana Jones and Star Wars games. Factor 5 described their collaboration as having “changed the lives of the Factor 5 team forever”.
At E3 2003, Nintendo revealed the game's successor, Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, during its press conference. Satoru Iwata went even further: He announced another exclusive GameCube title from the Californian-based studio:

"And the same talented people at Factor 5 who design this game are also at work on another exclusive for GameCube. You will be hearing more about this soon."


We never heard of it, at least not officially. It is an open secret that Iwata was talking about a new Pilotwings game. Factor 5 had been involved in the development of the GameCube platform and the MusyX tools – now they were going to expand their partnership with working on a classic Nintendo franchise.


However, not everything worked out as planned. Sales of the GameCube platform were in decline and Nintendo was not entirely satisfied with Factor 5’s performance. It was decided to put the game on Nintendo’s next generation console, then known as ‘Revolution’, which somehow never happened in reality. As Julian Eggebrecht admits, Factor 5 expected Nintendo to move in the same direction as Sony and Microsoft:

"It was 2004 and I think, quite frankly, it came down to us wanting and needing to move on to the next-generation consoles. Nintendo at that point in time hadn't made up their mind, and I don't blame them, what the next-generation for them meant. We, of course, assumed that it was going to be something in the same vein of Microsoft and Sony, so we were kind of prodding and pushing them a little bit. We were saying, 'Come on guys. The road is pretty obvious. Why don't we get going on developing something in that vein because we all know where it's going to lead?' And they -- now in hindsight, of course, I know why -- but they always told us, 'No, why don't you keep it down? Don't think about 10 million polygons more. We're trying to figure something out here.' It was very mysterious throughout the year. Quite frankly, simple business matters happened. We had to run a studio, we had to pay people. And we had to jump onto something. That something at the time was basically the other upcoming consoles. Those guys were very aggressive as partners and at the time we didn't want to lay off anybody, and we needed the cash. So we happily went along with that also expected that sooner or later we could translate it back to whatever Nintendo came up with. Of course, we were blown away when they said, 'This is it, by the way,' which happened way later."


Around late 2003 and early 2004, Factor 5 resumed work on another game: Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Trilogy for Xbox (never officially announced). When IGN reported about the trilogy, they named declining sales of GameCube games and hardware as reasons for LucasArts’ decision for porting the Star Wars games. Although a release was expected for late 2004, it remains unknown why the trilogy was not published.


In March 2004, it became clear that Factor 5 would probably not stay Nintendo-exclusive when Julian Eggebrecht praised Microsofts’ XNA initiative:

"Havok, as the leading supplier of physics middleware for the game industry, believes that only through increasingly sophisticated software components and tools that integrate seamlessly with each other can the power of the next generation of entertainment platform be leveraged by game developers. The XNA initiative is important for the industry in that it represents a commitment to providing the software infrastructure to make this happen. We are looking forward to leveraging XNA technology and participating in its success."


Around that time, Factor 5 had terminated work on (by then) current generation platforms including GameCube and Xbox. In fact, they were both researching development for next-generation platforms and pitching game ideas to different publishers.

At E3 2004, Sony even revealed that Factor 5 would be developing titles for their PSP handheld. Still, this announcement never materialized into any retail project and we do not know whether any project left the prototype stage.


It was only a few months later that Factor 5 were contracted by Sony for a PlayStation 3 exclusive game, soon to be unveiled as Lair. Sony - in comparison with Microsoft - offered a more convincing contract and package. Factor 5 wanted to create their own game worlds and move away from producing franchise games. SCEA made it possible.

Nevertheless, Lair confronted Factor 5 with severe problems during development. Staff departures, quality issues and missing out on deadlines did not only make the game’s development troublesome, but also led to an aggrieved relationship with Sony itself. The partnership was later terminated when Lair was a critical as well as a commercial failure. Therefore a further project, which entered pre-production, was put on hold.


Beside this PS3 retail game, some PSN projects were cancelled. Asked by Gamasutra Julian Eggebrecht revealed in late 2006:

"Actually I'm really looking forward to 2007, because we're going to finish Lair, which is my biggest concern right now, but also, I'm really looking forward to working on a couple of smaller projects [for PlayStation 3], with the so-called EDI [E-Distribution Initiative] from Sony […] ."

Sadly not much is known about those projects or even reasons for their cancellation. At least we know of one game idea: an arcade shooter called ‘Virus’.


Mock-up for arcade shooter 'Virus'


In early 2008, Factor 5 officially announced to work on Nintendo platforms again. Even though they ported Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Rebel Strike to Wii, they still decided to put a little bit more effort into an entirely new project. For that reason the team recreated parts of the Lair engine on Wii.


A few weeks later, IGN indicated that Factor 5 was working on an all new Kid Icarus adventure. While not naming sources, ***** found some pieces of concept art relating to the game. These assets were created for a pitch which was send to Nintendo: Factor 5 really wanted to get the permission to create a Kid Icarus for Wii.


In March 2008, the company announced an agreement with Brash Entertainment to develop a movie tie-in for a release in 2010. The project was an untitled Superman game for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. However, in November 2008 Brash Entertainment had to file bankrupty. Eggebrecht was still kind of confident on the project’s status:

"Things are obviously in flux and we hope that the game proves to be as indestructible as our hero…"

Since a new publisher could not be found in December 2008, the game did not prove to be as indestructible. Factor 5 were forced to lay half of their staff – around 35 people; they could neither fund development of such a high-budget game on their own nor assign all developers to their other projects.


So what are these other projects? We can only say that those are two Wii games and a technology project and that work is still going on. One of their Wii titles is even planned for a release this year. But it is evident that Factor 5's 2005 announcement of moving away from producing franchise kind of failed when Sony terminated their contract. So could the project be Kid Icarus? Pilotwings? Who knows...

While we cannot go into detail, we may reveal that you will be able to fly to London, to Athens, to Lisbon or even to the Netherlands in one of the new titles. Expect to see more in the coming months.
http://goneisgone.blogspot.com/
After the Halo MMORPG and Indiana Jones thing that blog returns. Screenshots and videos can be found on that site too ;)
It's good to hear that they really did not have to close down.
 
#4
Julian has wanted to work with the Wii for some time now, I think he knows he can get people to get a hard-on since him and the rest of Factor 5 were able to do at GC launch what many companies cannot even do now with a higher powered piece of equipment.
 
#8
Jethro said:
Ah, that was your association to a new Pilotwings title?
What?


DuckRacer said:
Also, since when did they port rebel strike to the wii?
I guess it was an internal project. Think Eggebrecht said something like that in an IGN interview - if I remember correctly.
 
#11
Factor 4.5 for sure should collaborate with Factor 8.8 to get their engine out to other developers, at least.

Also I'm pretty sure the Rogue Squadron III thing was an internal experiment only.
 
#13
DuckRacer said:
Hello surfer girl


Also, since when did they port rebel strike to the wii?
they mentioned in an interview last year they ported it for their own use as a test, seeing how much in the shit they seem to be they should release it ASAP i mean new play control: rebel strike would probably be by far the best looking game on the system
 
#15
Y2Kev said:
So who is funding their other project?
Good question. If I had to guess, it would be Nintendo. Still, there might be more publishers looking for some talented Wii developers since their own studios have other duties.

This story kind of reminds of Ninja Theory. After Heavenly Sword they were abandoned by Sony, now they are doing some work with Sega on a DS project and then a different next-gen game.

@Jethro
Now I know what you are talking about ;)
 
#16
With such a troubled recent development history, I doubt Nintendo would've given them money and support to make Pilotwings/Kid Icarus. But who knows..
 
#17
GCX said:
With such a troubled recent development history, I doubt Nintendo would've given them money and support to make Pilotwings/Kid Icarus. But who knows..
Well Retro Studios was a trainwreck and even N-Space got funding to make a game.
I guess it all depends on the quality of the game they're developing, since EAD is spread thin over multiple projects Nintendo might need programmers/designers to work EAD concepts into actual games.
 
#18
I think this year's game will be Kid Icarus.

Nintendo's core Fall title and a 6 month period between announcement and release. Sounds perfect.

If it's Man Icarus though I'll kill something.
 
#20
gamerecks said:
Doesnt sound like they'll be working with Sony again. Too bad. It sounds like they got alot of freedom and squandered it.
Well I understand Sony, these guys flushed like $20/$30(?) million down the toilet, I'd be pissed too.
 
#24
If Nintendo is funding a Factor 5 game, they had better keep a very close eye on it. The company can makes amazing looking games, but I've yet to play one that I enjoyed.
 
#26
Factor 5 working on Nintendo hardware again = good/great news

That said, this seems like a Sp*** article in its blatant statement of rumor as if it were fact.
 
#29
donny2112 said:
Factor 5 working on Nintendo hardware again = good/great news

That said, this seems like a Sp*** article in its blatant statement of rumor as if it were fact.
I think it's easy to gather this intel, but no one bothers to do it.

In February, two "head honcho's" at RARE left, they put new job listings on their website I think they searched for a marketing director and producer. Not a snippet of news regarding this. :lol
 
#32
So...

Company has several false starts and even goes as far as developing for a platform that didn't, and never did, exist (their idea of the Revolution), and then have problems developing their first major game in years and then must cut staff.

Figures.
 
#34
They should just release a Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Trilogy to get some cash flow going again. I don't imagine it would be too hard for them to package those games up and sell it on Wii. Doesn't the Star Wars brand sell fairly well on Wii, I think I remember that SW:TFU sold second best on Wii or am I incorrect on that?
 
#35
Stalfos said:
They should just release a Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Trilogy to get some cash flow going again. I don't imagine it would be too hard for them to package those games up and sell it on Wii. Doesn't the Star Wars brand sell fairly well on Wii, I think I remember that SW:TFU sold second best on Wii or am I incorrect on that?
I believe you're correct, actually. It really depends on Lucas Arts.

If they could do that, and get a nice engine running on the Wii to sell, they could probably pull themselves out of the dirt.
 
#36
donny2112 said:
Factor 5 working on Nintendo hardware again = good/great news

That said, this seems like a Sp*** article in its blatant statement of rumor as if it were fact.
I don't think that ***** supports their stories with videos and artwork. ;)
 
#37
bridegur said:
If Nintendo is funding a Factor 5 game, they had better keep a very close eye on it. The company can makes amazing looking games, but I've yet to play one that I enjoyed.
Go play Super Turrican, seriously
 
#38
Stalfos said:
They should just release a Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Trilogy to get some cash flow going again. I don't imagine it would be too hard for them to package those games up and sell it on Wii. Doesn't the Star Wars brand sell fairly well on Wii, I think I remember that SW:TFU sold second best on Wii or am I incorrect on that?
I'd buy it, that's for sure. (seeing as I've never played any of them)
 
#39
Holy shit, anyone think that recently announced 'Project V' for PSP/PSN could have some relationship to Factor 5's Virus PSN game? They're both retro arcade shooters... maybe I've just got conspiracy on the brain after reading the article, though :lol
 
#40
CO_Andy said:
I'd like to see a Star Fox from Factor 5
Dear God, this would be fantastic, as long as the art team comes directly from EAD. Not to knock Factor 5, but sometimes, I do believe that they use way too much realism in situations where it's not completely necessary.

(Looks at Man Icarus concept art)

Also, it really is good to hear that these guys didn't go out of business. I can only hope that we'll be hearing lots more from them in the coming future.
 

Totobeni

An blind dancing ho
#41
Shiggy said:
Good question. If I had to guess, it would be Nintendo. Still, there might be more publishers looking for some talented Wii developers since their own studios have other duties.

This story kind of reminds of Ninja Theory. After Heavenly Sword they were abandoned by Sony, now they are doing some work with Sega on a DS project and then a different next-gen game.

@Jethro
Now I know what you are talking about ;)

Factor 5 wasted $20 million of sony's money on pure shit of a game, Ninja Theory wasted most of the $20 million on actors and toys for Andy Serkis to play with and forget to polish or fix their game ( which Other SCEE studio do most of the tech stuff for them anyway ) .

as SEGA fan I hope they don't waste their money on Noob theory like what Sony did .

but on Factor 5 side , uh , can they even do anything decent without Star Wars magic license to cover the poor quality of their games ?
 
#42
EXGN said:
Holy shit, anyone think that recently announced 'Project V' for PSP/PSN could have some relationship to Factor 5's Virus PSN game? They're both retro arcade shooters... maybe I've just got conspiracy on the brain after reading the article, though :lol
I don't think "Project V" is made or imagined by Factor 5 ;)
They probably concentrate on their Wii projects and that technology thing.
I would really love to know what those projects are, if only...
 
#43
That's a lot of cancelled / unfinished projects. Maybe funding is an issue but it seems like they should be a little more focussed and see things through.
 
#44
Shiggy said:
Good question. If I had to guess, it would be Nintendo. Still, there might be more publishers looking for some talented Wii developers since their own studios have other duties.

This story kind of reminds of Ninja Theory. After Heavenly Sword they were abandoned by Sony, now they are doing some work with Sega on a DS project and then a different next-gen game.

@Jethro
Now I know what you are talking about ;)
I blame that on the PS3 hate crowd ... YOU know who you are... (Yes especially you gaming journalists)

You douchebags hated on a game so much for such stupid reasons... A game that was actually GOOD.. but not perfect.. Why? Because of the Sony publishing.. ridiculous..
 
#45
BenjaminBirdie said:
Yikes. That's a pretty rough typo.
:lol Nice. Let's hope that's a typo and not a sign that their money troubles has made it difficult for them to hook up.

This interview didn't answer the main question I have about F5 - Was that quote about tricking 720P out of the Wii legit or was that another case of internet chatter gone awry?
 
#46
methane47 said:
I blame that on the PS3 hate crowd ... YOU know who you are... (Yes especially you gaming journalists)

You douchebags hated on a game so much for such stupid reasons... A game that was actually GOOD.. but not perfect.. Why? Because of the Sony publishing.. ridiculous..
Yes, Heavenly Sword was damn good. The ending was complete shit and shows that the author or producer knows nothing about games
(Never let the protagonist of a game die without giving the player a chance to do something about it! If you believe that's important for your story, your story sucks and should be canned or rewritten!)
, but it was fun and the presentation, especially the facial expressions in cutscenes, were top notch. The best I've ever seen, way ahead of MGS4.
 
#47
I thought that Matt from IGN said Icarus was dead. Factor 5 pitched it and Nintendo said no.

I'd be real suspicious of any new news today about Factor 5 Wii games.
 
#49
bridegur said:
If Nintendo is funding a Factor 5 game, they had better keep a very close eye on it. The company can makes amazing looking games, but I've yet to play one that I enjoyed.
If Nintendo is funding a Factor 5 game, they will be keeping a close eye on it.
 
#50
Yaceka said:
I'd buy it, that's for sure. (seeing as I've never played any of them)
It would be an amazing package. They'd have to rework the missions from Rogue Squadron a little to run under the current build of the RSIII engine, but the work to include RSII is basically already done. It would be one of the most graphically impressive Wii titles :lol , but most significantly it would actually use the analog triggers on the classic controller.