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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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X02: More on Sudeki

Set in a world ripped apart by deceit, surprisingly

Microsoft has told us more about Sudeki, the Xbox-exclusive RPG announced last night in Seville. Apparently a detail they managed to omit from their first press release was the developer - none other than UK-based Climax, the chaps responsible for recent stunners like MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology. This is a bit of a departure from tried and trusted avenues for them, but Sudeki already looks very impressive, as you'll no doubt have clocked from one of the hundreds of screenshots I was up at the crack of dawn posting. They get to go to Seville and ride on rollercoasters; I get to post screenshots and write copy. This is fair... how?

Anyway, Sudeki is a tale of four heroes on a flight into darkness; the sultry wizardress, a soaring gunslinger (with wings, perhaps?), a powerful swordsman and a dark huntress. This fearsome foursome will be decked out in no small amount of... well, actually, the bare minimum of clothing in the case of the lasses, but as far as polygons go, Sudeki aims to push the Xbox as hard as possible.

As previously mentioned, the combat is both cinematically framed and in real-time, with lots of moves to learn and gradually accumulate into an effective arsenal over the course of the game, and those characters with a penchant for the peculiar can perform spells and wield destructive ranged weapons. Characters will also be able to pull off cooperative "super-strikes" to devastate legions of foes. Speaking of which, we're promised 100s of enemies from deadly dread-spiders (presumably those are the handsome chaps in the screenshots) to massive battle fortresses, and not everybody in the world is a bad guy either - Sudeki should be bustling with NPCs.

Sudeki is due out in time for Christmas 2003.