Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

X02: All aboard the Galleon

From the bloke who made Tomb Raider and then got shafted!

Tomb Raider creator Toby Gard has been hard at work on Galleon for longer than I can remember. In the time it's taken him to perfect his vision of the game, Eidos has released a handful of sequels to his inspirational action heroine's first outing. Needless to say, many hope the attention to Ms. Croft's details went with him, and Galleon is hotly anticipated and despite a torrent of cynicism from journos and gamers everywhere, still pencilled in for December 2002.

The star of the game is obviously under the spotlight. His name is Captain Rhama Sabrier; captain, buccaneer, merchant and explorer of uncharted oceans. At the helm of his clipper Endeavour, he wanders through a luscious 3D adventure decked out with invincible skeleton warriors, spooky shipwrecks, pirate battles and legends of Gods and folklore.

His quest begins in the port town of Akbah as he's summoned by a famous healer. Thenceforth various unexpected events unfold centring around a mysterious boat and Rhama is plunged into the quest that drives the game. He heads around collecting clues and meeting characters in typical adventure climes, struggling to unravel the mystery on his journey from island to island.

Galleon will be pushing the Xbox to a certain degree, although its appearance on other formats will no doubt mean slightly lower standards than other games we've seen at X02. Galleon's characters will of course boast fluid, realistic movement (despite their cartoony fashioning), and the promise of innovative sword-fighting combat mechanics will be amply matched by smooth combat animation.

We might see it before the end of the year, but don't be too surprised if it slips into 2003.