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Monolith gives us FEAR

Apparently it's like "The Matrix meets The Ring". (Question of the day: which came first, the snappy acronym or the unwieldy title?)

Just before E3 (he says, trying to recall what it was like "before E3"), we reported on Vivendi-Universal's plans to announce a mystery PC shooter from No One Lives Forever and TRON 2.0 developer Monolith Productions. And now we know what it is - it's an FPS called FEAR, or First Encounter Assault and Recon. Yeah. We'll stick to FEAR.

Described as "The Matrix meets The Ring" before E3, and described as "an intense first person close-quarters combat experience" in the aftermath, we'd be more inclined to describe it as "Half-Life from a Special Forces angle," if only because we don't want to be left out.

The game begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates one of those tempting army compounds, and subsequently violently dispatches the government's Special Forces response as an eerie signal breaks up radio communications.

But of course we're much harder than mere Special Forces, and that's why we're being drafted in as part of a classified strike team created to deal with paranormal and supernatural threats that "no one else can handle", with a brief to eliminate the intruders and uncover the source of the mysterious signal.

Doing so will unmask a chain of horrors, and Monolith is aiming for a very atmospheric shooter compared to its previous output - using a brand new engine (rather than the traditional LithTech kit) with support for lots of tasty DirectX 9 functionality, and a lot of telltale signs of horror (flickering lights, mysteriously shredded bodies) to keep you on the edge of your seat.

And despite rather shamelessly incorporating a slow motion effect, the developer seems to be putting it to good use, with some nice effects like the way grenades detonate catching our eye in the footage we've seen.

Hopefully we'll be able to give you the FEAR in greater detail as it closes in on its 2005 release target.