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What Happened to Deal With the Devil?

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December 2015 brought with it the announcement of Deal with the Devil, a curious narrative-led horror game from the debut team at Round Table Games Studio (RTGS). The project never received a huge amount of attention, though it was featured on several well respected sites, including Rock, Paper, Shotgun; GameWatcher; and, of course, OnlySP.

WHAT IS DEAL WITH THE DEVIL?

Inspired by the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Deal with the Devil would take place in the 1920s and cast players as Amelia Woods, a morally ambiguous woman tasked with uncovering ancient mysteries. While many horror games feature relatively strong plots, RTGS wanted to go further with its project, stating several times that its intention was to create the strongest female protagonist ever seen in a game. To that end, Amelia would have a developed backstory as a suffragette, as well as being human above all else, and players would be able to choose whether to emphasise her positive or negative traits depending on their inclinations. To help craft a convincing female lead, RTGS sought the assistance of Tanya Krzywinska, a professor of digital games at Falmouth University.

Beyond the character, the studio’s approach to creating a sense of horror was fundamentally different to that of many of its contemporaries. Jump scares, gore, and similar shock tactics were to be sidelined in favour of a more nuanced and psychological method of creating tension and the unsettled feeling that generates fear.

deal with the devil

WHEN WAS IT SUPPOSED TO RELEASE?

Although the initial reveal indicated no release window, the team told OnlySP that it was targeting an early 2017 release for the first episode of a series. The exact number of episodes and the projected release windows for them were never made public.

Around the time that the first episode was scheduled to release, Gameumentary reached out to RTGS to uncover the status of Deal with the Devil, finding out that, due to an amicable split between the developer and original publisher AntiMatter Games, work on the title had been restarted in early 2016. As a result, the new expected release window was late 2017.

WHERE IS IT?

That period has now long since passed, so OnlySP contacted the head of RTGS, Rich Barham, for an update. Unfortunately, RTGS has officially ceased work on the title, and “[p]roduction closed late last year” after approximately two years of active development.

Said Barham, “unfortunately, [my partner and I] just weren’t both able to put the time into the studio with other concerns and responsibilities, so it didn’t make sense to keep the studio alive as a vehicle for future opportunities.”

Deal With The Devil - Yokohama (1)

However, the issues facing the project were more focused around funding shortages than time or passion. According to Barham, “the funding I’d been led to believe was extremely available for games as part of the digital economy in the region just wasn’t available.” He says that investors in the south west of England are leery of supporting not just Deal with the Devil, but video games in general because of the “long delay to see money and [the] unpredictability video games represent. They’d rather put their money in a person making a new product they can make somewhere cheap and show a quick turnaround profit per unit.”

Meanwhile, the lack of funding meant that the team was unable to progress far enough to be able to attract the interest of a publishing company, putting the studio in a catch-22 situation. Despite the disappointing outcome, Barham retains the rights to the project and insists that he “will work on it again in the future, but how and when isn’t certain.”

Until he is able to get together an experienced and the required funding support to bring Deal with the Devil to life, he is a director and executive producer at AntiMatter Games, which released Rising Storm 2 : Vietnam last year and is currently working on a variety of unannounced projects.

Deal with the Devil is no longer in active development, but hopefully Barham is able to gather the resources to try again to bring the ambitious horror story to life.

For more lost and forgotten games from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to follow OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

E3 2019

The Winners of E3, According to OnlySP

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E3 2019

The OnlySP team has been rather negative about E3 2019 as a whole, sharing undisguised disappointment about Ninja Theory, Microsoft, and Ubisoft in particular. However, we are gamers first, and the show had plenty to excite, so we wanted to share at least a small ray of positivity by rounding up some of our winners from the past week.

Best AAA Trailer

Cyberpunk 2077

Two of the most anticipated games of 2020 topped the list, with Cyberpunk 2077 just pipping Final Fantasy VII Remake. The trailer was exactly what you want from a major production with the insane amount of hype that Cyberpunk 2077 is enjoying: mystery, emotional story moments, and heart-pounding action.

As if all that is not enough, one of the hottest stars of the moment, Keanu Reeves, was revealed as a cast member.

Doubters were all but silenced, and everyone else was gratified. Even better, we got a release date: April 16, 2020. Could anyone possibly lust for more?

Best Indie Trailer

Tie: Spiritfarer and Way to the Woods

As usual, Microsoft brought the ID@Xbox goods to its E3 stage, and we just could not pick between these two.

On the one hand, the team at Thunder Lotus Games finally unveiled its new project, Spiritfarer. The game brings back the glorious hand-drawn art style that had us falling in love with Jotun and Sundered, marrying to a unique take on the Charon myth. Furthermore, Spiritfarer’s low-key charm and gorgeous watercolour was a perfect counterpoint to Cyberpunk 2077, which preceded it.

On the other hand, Way to the Woods got a sparkling new trailer. The two deer are simply gorgeous, and the bright colours and mellifluous music make the game seems a journey befitting the glory days of thatgamecompany. Simple puzzles, a moving story, an entrancing atmosphere… We just want Way to the Woods on its way to our homes.

Favourite New Game Announcement

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel

E3 2019 had no shortage of enticing new announcements, but nothing was quite so enticing as Nintendo’s “one more thing.” After Breath of the Wild set the world on fire in 2017, a sequel was basically a foregone conclusion. Even so, that brief tease set our hopes alight.

In truth, we know next to nothing about this new project—other than that it is set in the same version of Hyrule as its predecessor and Zelda is rocking a slick new hairstyle—but its mere existence is enough.

Biggest Surprise

Keanu Reeves is in Cyberpunk 2077

I may have already mentioned this, but Keanu Reeves is going to be in Cyberpunk 2077.

If we need to explain more, the world of gaming is familiar with seeing TV and film stars cross over—Kit Harington in Call of Duty, Emma Stone in Sleeping Dogs—but Reeves is a particularly hot property right now.

Moreover, the word is that this is more than just a brief cameo. Reeve’s character, Johnny Silverhand, has been a big part of Cyberpunk lore, and CD Projekt RED reportedly spent 15 days capturing his performance.

Even Watch Dogs: Legion looking as though it is finally going to deliver on the promises of the first game is not enough to beat Keanu.

Favourite Stage Personality

Ikumi Nakamura

Full disclosure: the team picked Keanu, but Keanu can’t win everything, damn it!

Therefore, this award goes to Ikumi Nakamura, protégé of Shinji Mikami, who took the stage during Bethesda’s press conference to reveal Ghostwire: Tokyo. Where most presenters—even developers—are reserved, sharing the soundbites that make the games sound appealing, Nakamura radiated enthusiasm for her project.

Put simply, Nakamura was a ray of sunshine to remind us all that game development is not always about cynicism and monetisation; sometimes, it is about genuine love and passion.

Biggest Winners

Nintendo

With “gamers” one of the options on the list, I thought this category would be a foregone conclusion. However, the outcome proved that adage about what happens when we assume things…

The team voted for Nintendo, and the why is easy enough to understand. A new Legend of Zelda game will always be an event. The addition of Banjo-Kazooie to Super Smash Bros. is a long-overdue coup. Luigi’s Mansion 3 looks better than it has any right to. Meanwhile, Daemon X Machina, Astral Chain, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order all got great new showings, and we officially learned of the arrival of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (among other, slightly less exciting titles) on the Switch.


These winners were all decided by those of us who stayed at home. However, you may have noticed that we had Mike Cripe and Dimitric Edwards on the show floor, so they went hands-on with a bunch of games the rest of us could only gawp at.

Over the coming days and weeks, Mike and Dimitric will be delivering previews of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Biomutant, as well as a few interesting interviews, so we’ll have plenty of fresh details for you all to pore over.

First, though, coming tomorrow will be Mike’s hands-off preview of one of the show’s most contentious games: Marvel’s Avengers.

For all those previews and much more from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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