24 is set to get the videogame treatment late this year, with Sony reportedly bagging the license to Fox's all-action counter-terrorist-busting TV hit starring Keifer Sutherland.
News of the title slipped out some time ago when one of the show's stars Elisha Cuthbert mentioned it during a BBC Radio One interview, but recent months have put Sony in the frame - and most recently those whispers have turned into more concrete reports, with the normally reliable UK Official PlayStation 2 magazine including the game as part of its 100 Most Wanted supplement in the January issue.
Sony's Cambridge Studio (Medieval, C-13, Primal, Ghost Hunter) has reportedly been working on the title for some time, with UK development sources close to the studio confirming our suspicions recently.
Official word has been less forthcoming, though, with Sony's own press office apparently out of the loop with developments. Sony's UK representative Jennie Kong could offer no official confirmation at this point. "I don't have it on my schedule," was the most recent comment we could extract. "[We did see] it in OPS2M on their schedule but there isn't anything official on it. I have no idea where they have got that from."
Excitable rumour or no smoke without fire? Given the snippets of information we can gather so far and reliability of sources, we'd say this was more unconfirmed fact than idle gossip.
As a game, it'll be interesting to see how the TV show's time-based dynamic translates to a videogame. Having watched all 72 episodes (so far) of the escapades of the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) it's fair to say the explosive subject matter at hand lends itself exceptionally well to numerous videogame genres, particularly third or first-person combat, stealth, driving, and even flying.
With the pressure of real-time decision-making playing a key role in the show (each series being a real-time enactment of a day in the life of the CTU) and a large number of core characters to choose from, there's a large amount of rich source material to pillage. But how the game's 24 hours will be structured is likely to be a logistical headache that no other development team has previously faced. For example, how do you structure a coherent game that runs in real-time with multiple story threads all running concurrently? Needless to say, with most events in the TV series always being mission-critical and time-sensitive, expect a series of tense, against the clock set-pieces that all interweave towards averting certain global disaster.
With a sizeable budget behind it and a large potential worldwide audience, there's every chance Sony will be able to get the full voiceover support from the original actors, including Kiefer Sutherland (Jack Bauer), Dennis Haysbert (David Palmer), Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeda) and James Badge Dale (Chase Edmunds). But with various characters having been written out of the series at the end of the third run, it'll be interesting to see which of the cast will make it into the game, and in which timeline the game will be set in.
With a release date reportedly set for the end of this year, we're expecting to hear full confirmation in the run up to E3, with the game's premier likely to coincide with the LA-based event. More news as soon as we hear more.