Project Ego

   Better known for such strategy titles such as Syndicate, Populous, and the more recent Black and White, Peter Molyneux lends his creative talents to the Xbox in the form of the action RPG Project Ego. The game, an exclusive for Microsoft's machine, intends to radically redefine what constitutes an in-depth RPG.

 Please, no more blue lipstick
Straight out of the D&D movie and into your heart

   In the grand tradition of Princess Maker, Project Ego bestows upon the player a young child who can be raised and shaped howsoever the player wishes. After choosing a gender and name for the little sprout, the next seventy to eighty years of the game are entirely up to you. The character's appearance, skills, deeds, and reputation are determined by the course of action designated by the player, not wholly dissimilar to many MMORPG's.

   Also like several online RPG's, Project Ego includes a melange of subtle nuances that allow players to fully customize their characters. For a unique appearance, hair can be fashioned in nearly any way desired, and prolonged exposure to sun will result in tanning. Chopping wood or lifting heavy objects will eventually increase muscle mass. Conversely, lazing around results in atrophy. After battles, any particularly nasty injuries could leave permanent scars.

The thunderous sound of splintering wood and lives that are claimed
You don't understand what's at stake here

   But in the end, your character will ultimately be praised (or shunned) for his or her deeds. Those who play the role of the chivalrous knight will be met with swooning women, schmoozing bards, and even admiring children who might wear their hair in emulation of you. On the flip side, characters who murder and backstab others without remorse to get what they want will be feared and possibly targeted by the local law enforcement officials. Those who choose spouses for their characters can even raise their children to be as noble or despicable as they.

   Adding to the Shenmue-esque feelings of freedom are the game's lush and immersive environments, as depicted in the few screenshots that have been released. Forests, fields, and ruins are beautifully rendered, giving characters places to hunt, work, and explore. One particularly interesting aspect of these locales is the degree of interaction inherent within them; if a character were to drop an acorn on fertile land, a tree will eventually grow, affording the player a new set of choices involving the tree.

   Project Ego is still very early in the developmental stages, though there are signs that the game will be enjoyable and interesting to fans of heavy character customization. An online mode is currently being considered, though to what end is unknown at present. Project Ego's emphasis on character creation and reputation will give console gamers something new when the game is released at the end of this year.

Preview by Alex Fraioli, GIA.
Project Ego
Developer Big Blue Box
Publisher Microsoft
Genre Action RPG
Medium DVD-ROM
Platform Xbox
Release Date  ??.??.??
 Q4 2002
20 screenshots
6 concept sketches