Long read: What might the ultimate character creator look like?

Baldur's Gate 3, Street Fighter and Lost Ark developers discuss.

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

THQ announces Alter Echo

And forces vodka on teetotallers

THQ was kind enough to have us round the vicarage for tea and biscuits this afternoon - if for vicarage you'll accept swanky numedia boozepot Red Cube in Leicester Square, and for tea and biscuits you'll allow vodka and canapé. And the multifaceted publisher was also nice enough to introduce us to the latest product of internal dev studio Outrage Games; a PS2 and Xbox project entitled Alter Echo, due for release in spring 2003.

Alter Echo is best described as a bizarre mixture of as-yet unreleased Xbox concept platformer Blinx: The Timesweeper and your average third person action game. Cast in the role of Nevin, players will use the mysterious powers of "time dilation" to cue up events and play them out in real-time against enemies with similar time-juggling abilities. Events unfold on Proteus, a planet covered entirely by an organic substance called Multiplast, which can be shaped into all sorts of bio-machines - the semi-creatures Nevin manipulates in battle.

It's an interesting idea, but it wasn't quite obvious from the trailer we saw whether you have direct real-time control over Plast-based creatures, although the visuals undulated and throbbed with all sorts of nifty frame buffer effects. Fortunately, an American THQ producer was on-hand to address our queries. Nevin's PolySuit allows him to change between three modes - Melee, Gun and Stealth - which means he can move rapidly and perform typical combat moves in third person, transform into a walking tank and become invisible respectively. The game will use a combination of these different sorts of gameplay, and Nevin will morph around restoring order to a planet whose very surface is alive and wants him dead.