At times the vision of a developer can be too radical for what a publisher expects and it seems like Stuart Black is a man whose goals and convictions don’t exactly tow the company line. After leaving Codemasters while Bodycount, the game which Black created and was the Creative Director of, Stuart has left yet another studio and a game that’s isn’t even done yet.
City Interactive have confirmed that Stuart Black is no longer with the company and that Enemy Front, the game he was working on, is currently undergoing major changes. This totally passed my radar, but rumors reportedly had Stuart leaving City Interactive in August and it turns out such a thing was the truth.
The reason for Black’s departure is rather straightforward as his vision apparently differed from that of publisher City Interactive. I would actually love to know where the differences stemmed from since Enemy Front is a FPS set within the WWII genre so there‘s only so much you can do unless a more stylish approach is taken similar to the criminally underrated game The Saboteur.
I was able to see a demo of Enemy Front at E3 this year and to be honest the game looked like it had a ways to go as the visuals, which are powered by CryEngine 3, were simply ok and the gameplay didn’t have a true spark to it. Gauging the overall quality of a game in development based on a ten minute demo isn’t terribly fair, but I did have the feeling that Enemy Front was shaping up to be Bodycount 2.0, it has a good premise but the vision wasn’t being executed to its fullest.
An Enemy Front demo via Gamespot
City Interactive have yet to explicitly outline the core changes that Enemy Front will be receiving though it was mentioned that the game will receive additional work in the story, gameplay, and character department; essentially it’s being reworked from the ground up. This latest development could mean that the game will miss its intended early 2013 release window unless City Interactive merely puts a bandage on the game to ship it out the door quickly.
It’s likely that a mass amount of gamers aren’t sad concerning this Enemy Front news considering the game hadn’t garnered a large amount of buzz within the last year. The one sad if simply disappointing element of this news is that Stuart Black has once again had to leave a project before its finally done. Having molded the PS2/Xbox FPS Black, Stuart has the knack for creating an engaging experience and based on prior interviews it seems like he wants to make a difference in the genre, but sadly publisher mandates have resulted in vastly different games.
As of now Stuart is reportedly flying solo as a developer but I hope we see him surface again soon.