No Oni Until March 2001?
9:45 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
A second preview of Bungie's action/shooter Oni from ECTS has seemingly confirmed the news that this title will miss its projected October release and not be available on any platform until well into 2001. If the definition of 'Beta' means 'complete and ready for testing' -- which it does -- then this reports suggests news that Oni has reached Beta is also false, as the preview claims that the game is less than 50% complete.
An earlier preview from ECTS posted by GameSpot featured the shocking information that this title -- which by all previous indications had reached beta and was on target for an October release for Mac, PC, and PS2 -- isn't due until 2001. This second preview confirms that news, much to the dismay of Oni fans everywhere.
If you have been following the saga of Bungie's sale to Microsoft, you know that part of the deal included the sale of Oni to Take Two Interactive, a company that had an 19% share in Bungie and was their European publisher. This is where the plot thickens. It turns out that the fabled 'October' date may have been a red herring, so to speak. That wasn't the release date for the game, it was the date that the code for the game will be turned over by Bungie West to Take Two Interactive/Gathering of Developers, after which that team will move to Redmond, Washington to join the rest of Bungie. Whatever state the game is in at that point, it will be handed over to another team to be finished for console, Mac and PC. It seems that Take Two has budgeted another 5 months to polish the title before release, if the March 2001 date is correct.
Here's an excerpt from the preview:
We were shown a couple of impressive new PS2 racers and then demonstrated Oni, a third person action title due out in March of next year on PC, PlayStation 2 and Mac. Our host Jen explained that it was about 50% done, but it looked pretty complete to be honest, and with that March 2001 deadline looming you could be forgiven for hoping that it was farther along than that.We have yet to receive direct confirmation of these dates from Bungie staffers, but from what we have gathered from off-the-record conversations this may very will be hard fact. We'll keep digging and see if we can shed some light on how a game which once seemed a shining light in the industry came to be so late, and so far from what we expected.
The game centres around an anime-style plot and graphical style, with central character Konoko, an elite Tech Crimes Task Force agent on a mission to infiltrate a ruthless crime syndicate and bring it to its knees in a day-after-tomorrow futuristic Japan. Unfortunately she is framed for the murder of a couple of security guards and has to prove her innocence and fight her way to the truth through 17 large levels, using her martial arts training and weaponry skills to overcome her oppressors.
As far as plots go it doesn't look like anything particularly to shout about, but the idea of mixing martial arts and shooting action into one seamless environment is quite endearing.
Oni Web Site
Oni Preview at Eurogamer
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