Each of the three team members comes with an impressive history of developing for S2 Games, a seven man team responsible for the award winning Savage: The Battle for Newerth. Officially they were credited as follows:
Sam McGrath - co-founder, CTO, lead programmer, game designer
Travis Stringer - lead artist, game designer
Trevor Stringer - senior artist, game designer
Due to the small staff they in fact ended up doing far more than these titles describe, such as level design, score composition, package design, as well as promotional work such as the cinematic trailer, advertisements and more Offering a unique combination of first-person shooter and real-time strategy elements, Savage won some impressive awards, such as the Grand Prize at the Independant Games Festival of 2004. S2 was also nominated for the 2004 Rookie Studio of the Year Game Developers Choice Award.
Although early in development, Project Offset is generating both wild anticipation and fan support, mostly due to the two sneak peak videos which are available for download through their web-site: www.projectoffset.com. Sneak Peak 2 nearly blew me out of my seat, it's one of the most impressive graphical displays I've ever seen.
The gameplay promises to be both furious and inspiring, good and evil forces will wage wars across glorious interactive battlefields in various single-player, multi-player co-op and multi-player vs. modes. Players will choose a class (many of which incorporate traditional epic fantasy races), which they will gain levels for through skilful gaming. Each class will have both melee and long-range weapons, varying degrees of armour and specialties (area of effect attacks for sorcerors, demolitions/ repairs for Dwarven engineers and so forth). Multi-player mode promises teams of 4 to 32 players each battling it out in objective-based, teamwork-oriented battles. Also, teams will be able to wage epic struggles in wars, which will fundamentally be a string of battles where the outcome of each can influence what form the next battle will take.
Graphically, Project Offset is offering a tour-de-force even in its infancy. The Offset Engine has all the potential to blow the competition out of the water. The mentality behind it is to make it possible to incorporate full cinematic graphic quality into real-time combat. To my limited understanding it seems that McGrath is designing the engine with facilitation as a primary motivation, somehow it takes absurdly complex 3-D models of millions of polygons and allows them to be simplified into figures of far less polygons while losing none of the graphic quality. The Offset Engine also seems geared to raise the bar in lighting effects and I strongly urge anyone with any appreciation of video games or even graphic art in general to sift through the samples www.projectoffset.com has to offer.
The team seem to be very open-minded about which platforms they will bring their vision to. PC seems to be the core aim, but it is very likely PS3 and X-box 360 will be visited by this title, the team has even said they would like to bring it to Nintendo Revolution.
Which brings me to the impeccable artistic talents of the stringer brothers. If the finished game looks anything like the concept art, on any platform (and the Sneak Peaks show that it very likely will) this game will be the biggest achievement in epic fantasy visuals since Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.
As I said earlier, the small but devoted team of three have staked it all on this bold, wonderful, crazy, ambitious project. I reference you again to the Project Offset web-site www.projectoffset.com, where you can see what I've been raving about, join discussions with the creators and early fan-base, and even donate money to these three who have devoted so much to what could be one of the greatest games ever (the Offset team are currently funded solely by gamers, to the wonderment of the team members themselves).
Be sure to read Sffworld’s interview with Travis Stringer here.
Jon Peplinski © 2005