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Atari to publish time-bending FPS

Blinx the first-person shooter for PC and Xbox? Say hello to TimeShift. Or it'll rewind and rewind until you do.

Despite forming the backbone of platform games like Prince of Persia and Blinx, the ability to manipulate time is still an area of gaming that, going into 2005, we'd like to see more fully explored - so it was with no small amount of interest that we greeted news this morning that Atari is to publish a PC/Xbox first-person shooter almost entirely built around the idea. "TimeShift" is due out this autumn.

Developed by New Jersey-based Saber Interactive, it's an FPS where you can slow down, stop and rewind the game world, allowing you to move freely among enemies and, thanks to the now-requisite clever physics technology, realistically tumbling objects as they're frozen in time. There's no word on how the time-tinkering will work in practice - whether it'll be time-limited (ha) or what-have-you - but it should certainly make a big difference to the way the game plays out.

Using the developer's proprietary Saber3D engine, TimeShift will also look rather lovely thanks to techniques like normal mapping (the flat-textures-that-appear-to-have-depth trickery made famous by Riddick and Doom III, and also evident in Half-Life 2), highly detailed textures and characters, and advanced parallax lighting. You can see a trio of rather nice screenshots here.

As well as putting a twist on what's expected from FPS combat thanks to the time manipulation, we can also apparently expect "bizarre" incarnations of the likes of the sniper rifle, machinegun, pistol - all products of the game's alternate timeline, a universe and scenario borne out of the imagination of a renowned Hollywood writer and director, apparently.

It all sounds jolly interesting to us, which, given the impact made by last year's bounty of FPSs, is no mean feat. We'll be sure to make more time for it in future...