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Conspiracy thriller for next-gen

Frontier announces The Outsider.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Frontier Developments - the studio behind RollerCoaster Tycoon, Dog's Life and a host of ancient classics, including much-loved space shooter Elite - has announced its first project for next-generation consoles.

The Outsider is described as a "gripping, high-tech thriller" that takes place in a city based on present day Washington DC. Locations include the CIA HQ at Langley, Andrews air force base and the Newport News naval dockyard.

You play as a top CIA operative, equipped with all manner of cutting-edge gadgets, high-powered weapons and badass combat skills, who gets blamed for a crime he didn't commit. It's up to you what happens next: you can wreak violent revenge on those responsible, expose the shady organisations you've gotten mixed up with or fight valiantly to clear your name.

We like the sound of all three, personally, but anyway - Frontier says the point is you're free to change the story outcome "in a way that has not been seen before," since The Outsider abandons "The traditional, prescriptive, mostly linear story of current generation games, and replaces it by simulating characters’ motivations and aims.

"Each player will get a truly unique, sophisticated, visceral experience rather than simply switching between 'good' or 'evil'," apparently.

Thing is, Frontier says, great graphics do not a true next-gen game make - so they've been focusing on new gameplay elements specially designed for the new consoles, developing "Several key proprietary technologies" to "Bring the sort of freedom of action first seen in Elite bang up to date."

But which new consoles, exactly? Well, Frontier says we can expect to see the game on next-gen platforms "Including the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360." Now, if we were being literal about it, we would conclude that "including" means the Nintendo Revolution, seeing as it's the only other next-gen platform on the list... But who can say.

"The new games consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 offer a massive opportunity in the future of gaming," Frontier founder and Elite's daddy David Braben said.

"One comparison I like to make is with the film industry- we’re at the stage that industry was at in 1930, where people had started to tire of effects driven ‘car-on-a-train-track’ films and wanted something more, just as technology and budgets greatly increased to bring in the golden age of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and many others.

"A golden age of games is now just around the corner, and I believe The Outsider is one of the first of these," he added. Let's just hope he's right, and that The Outsider really is a Citizen Kane rather than a Weekend at Bernie's. A release date has yet to be announced - we'll keep you posted.

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