project-offset posts

Interview: We chat with Sam McGrath about Fractiv, what happened to Project Offset and more

It was a game project that was in the works at the biggest PC processor company in the world. Videos and screenshots of the game, code named Project Offset, generated a ton of excitement among PC gamers who saw it. And yet the project from developer Offset Software never came to pass as Intel canceled the project earlier this year.

What happened to what could have been one of the most innovative PC games ever made? In his first interview since the shut down of Project Offset, the developer's founder Sam McGrath tells Big Download why Intel wanted to have a game development team in the first place, what Project Offset was really supposed to be about and why Intel finally canceled the game. He also gives us the final word on if the team was able to keep the rights to the game and its graphics engine, the formation of his new game developer Fractiv and much more.

Offset Engine still being used by Red 5 Studios

Last week Big Download exclusively revealed that Intel had shut down development of the Offset Software project it had bought two years ago along with the Project Offset game. However the Offset Engine is still being used by a third party game developer, Red 5 Studios, for its long-in-development MMO game.

Red 5 Studios, formed in 2005, announced it had licensed the Offset Engine from Offset Software in 2006, two years before Offset Software was acquired by Intel. Gamasutra reports that a rep for Red 5 Studios confirmed today that it is still using a "highly-modified version of the Project Offset engine" for its unnamed game. The rep added, " . . . the closing of the Intel team does not impact our ability to complete our own project.." Red 5 Studios was at one point close to being shut down earlier this year before being acquired by China-based game publisher The9 for $20 million

As we reported last week the founders of Offset Software have regrouped following Intel's decision to shut down the project and have formed a new game development studio, Fractiv. The company has not yet commented on whether or not the team has the rights to the Offset Engine technology or the Project Offset game IP.

Project Offset officially shut down at Intel; founders launch Fractiv LLC [Update]

It looks like the long-in-development PC first person shooter called by its code name Project Offset by the development team Offset Software is officially shut down at its home at the PC processor maker Intel. Big Download contacted the the company to get an update on this long-in development project and received this response via email today:

Intel purchased Offset Software to improve our game development knowledge-base and to further Intel's visual computing technology development expertise, helping the company offer robust products, support, and tools to customers. With the recent changes in our product roadmap, some of the resources and technologies from the acquisition are being re-applied to help support new graphics related projects. Additionally, other Offset Software team members have moved onto other external projects outside the company.

The changes in Intel's product roadmap in the statement most likely refer to the company's decision to cancel the high-end graphics chip product code name "Larabee" that was shut down as a commercial hardware product last December.

Offset Software launched in 2005 and was formed by several former members of S2 Games who previously helped to develop the engine for the developer's first game in the Savage series. The development team released some test footage from the game, Project Offset, that showed a graphically rich first person shooter set in a fantasy world. In 2008 the company was purchased by Intel but development of Project Offset continued. While little of the game's development was made public a couple of test videos were released on YouTube that looked very impressive.

We have been told by the Intel PR rep that the founders of Offset Software have launched Fractiv LLC, a new game development studio. A quick WHOIS check of fractiv.com (which aside from an email address has little on it) does show that the domain is owned by Sam McGrath, one of the founders of Offset Software. We have emailed McGrath and other Offset Software team members to find out more about Fractiv including if they have the rights to continue development of Project Offset at their new company.

Update: Sam McGrath has responded back to our inquires with this statement: "Yes, we have indeed parted ways with Intel and I, along with the other original founders of Offset, have started Fractiv. Unfortunately I can't say any more than that at this stage but I'm looking forward to answering your questions in the near future."

New Project Offset tech demo video is looking good . . . and big

It's been nearly a year since the Offset Software team at Intel have shown anything of their long-in-development fantasy-themed shooter code-named Project Offset. Now a new tech demo video from the game showing some impressive looking in-game graphics has found its way to YouTube,

The video, which you can check out after the break, shows less than a minute of gameplay footage but's its pretty spectacular with a massive Grimm Fairy Tales-like giant in high polygon detail and super animation. Is this what we can expect when (or maybe if) the final game is released? If so color us even more interested than ever about this game. Hopefully Intel will give us a proper update on the game like they promised us a little while ago.

[Via Blue's News]

Intel: Project Offset info update coming in 2010


Late last week Intel announced that it was canceling plans to release a commercial graphic card and chip based on their Larrabee technology. One of the reasons this news was game related was the speculation surrounding Project Offset, a fantasy FPS under stealth development for some time at Offset Software. Intel bought the dev team back in February 2008 and many speculated that the game would be used by Intel as a way to show off what a Larrabee graphics chip could do for game development and performance.

So with this new Larrabee development, where does Project Offset now stand? Big Download contacted Intel and one of their reps responded back with a brief statement, saying only, "Expect an update in 2010 regarding Offset. " Hopefully that means the project isn't canceled.

Intel cancels plans for Larrabee high-end PC graphics chip

For the past few years PC processor maker Intel has been preparing a high-end graphics chip code named "Larrabee" that it hoped would be used for, among other things, high performance in PC games. Now it looks like those plans have been shut down, most likely for good. As reported by VentureBeat, Intel has now admitted it has canceled plans for a consumer product based on the Larrabee design. Intel still plans to release a stand alone graphic chip product and it says it will reveal more about its plans in that area in 2010.

While Intel stated that Larrabee will still live on as a software development platform, it's clear that its plans to go up against Nvidia and AMD on high-end PC gaming graphics have suffered a major blow. Intel has also been developing a game under the code name of Project Offset. While its development has been in stealth mode for most of its life, some have speculated the game's development was being used to help market the Larrabee graphics chip. It's currently unknown what the current status of Project Offset is.

Mysterious Project Offset coming out of the shadows?


It's been a long time since there's been any word on what's been going on with Project Offset. The fantasy themed action game from Offset Software was acquired, development team and all, by PC processor maker Intel just over a year ago. Now the game's official web site has gotten a revamp with a little more info and content for the game.

The content comes in the form of two Flash-based videos. One shows off the game's editing features but the other is a fairly impressive graphics film as a Asian-style temple is destroyed by some kind of mystical meteor storm. The web site also has a message from Offset Software founder Sam McGrath who states that we will see the fruits of their labors "in the coming months." While McGrath still doesn't mention why Intel has bought a game developer some have speculated that Intel will use Project Offset (still just a code name) to show off the graphical power of their upcoming Larabee chip.
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