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Wednesday, August 30, 2000
Oni Beta 'Imminent'
11:08 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

It has been a long, long time since we have had news about the shooter/fighter hybrid Oni, developed by Bungie Software over the past three years. Delayed again and again, sold to Take Two Interactive as part of the Microsoft buyout of Bungie, Oni has had a checkered history to say the least. Now it seems that this game is finally nearing Beta status, complete except for bug fixing and speed optimizing.

A news item on iDevGames.com pointed us to Oni Central, which has an extremely short news item which seems to confirm that this game has reached beta. A forum post first put them on the trail, as an inquisitive user noticed that there were three new, password-protected newsgroups available on Microsoft's news server: microsoft.public.oni.beta.bugtracker, microsoft.public.oni.beta.gamebugs and microsoft.public.oni.beta.suggestions. These private groups are for the use of beta testers only, which would of course indicate that there is a beta to be tested.

Oni Central contacted Max Hoberman of Bungie, who confirmed that the game had indeed gone Beta. One small post does not mean this is absolute fact, however. We contacted Alex Seropian at Bungie, and he replied that the game is not yet there, but that a beta release is coming soon. Oni is "not beta yet - we have an alpha version floating around - but beta is imminent," Alex said.

For those new to this game, Oni is a stylish and stylistic blend of action and adventure, a long solo game (multiplayer support having been cancelled some time back) which features the protagonist Konoko in a near-future world informed by anime-style action and characters. Viewed from a third-person camera angle, Konoko does more than shoot -- she has a full complement of fighting moves, including kicks, punches, throws and combos, as well as finishing moves. The Oni engine allows for huge levels to be rendered smoothly, and the levels themselves were designed by real-world architects. Mac users have been anticipating this game since the very day it was announced -- the idea that it might be just a month or two away from store shelves seems quite surreal.

In any case,once Oni reaches Beta, this means copies will be going out to testers soon afterwards and many more details on this game will rapidly become available. Typically a game is in beta stage for two to three months, which would put Oni on track for the projected end-of-October release. In addition to Mac and PC versions, Oni is also one of the 'debut' titles for the PlayStation 2 console, which is supposed to arrive in the US on October 26th. The PS2 version is being done by Rockstar games. The Mac OS version of Oni will be published by Gathering of Developers. For more information about this game, read our past interviews with Oni developers.

Interview: Oni's Brent Pease (Feb 99)
Interview: Oni's David Dunn
Oni Web Site
Oni Central

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Archives  News  Oni Beta 'Imminent'