Shelved PS3 exclusive Eight Days looked “jaw dropping”, says developer

By Debabrata Nath, Monday, 1 August 2011 23:12 GMT

Eight Days, the PlayStation 3 exclusive which was cancelled in 2008, would have been “jaw-dropping”, a developer who played a role in the project told Eurogamer.

Richard Bunn, who recently left Sony to co-found Crazy Horses developer Nice Touch Games, said that if some of Eight Days’ unannounced features were revealed, they “would have definitely impressed” the general public.

Bunn also clarified that contrary to popular assumptions, Eight Days wasn’t canned because of lack of online multiplayer.

“It was going to have online co-op,” he said. “The entire concept behind the game was based around buddy gameplay.

“Imagine Uncharted, where you have two Nathan Drakes, and you can cover swap between each other and chuck ammo between each other. That was pretty much the game.

“We fully intended to have online co-op support. No multiplayer, but online co-op. We definitely didn’t have any plans to do multiplayer modes.”

Bunn only worked on Eight Days for four months, but his buddy and co-founder of Nice Touch Games David Green built the entire engine that powered it and the game’s AI.

“The game was looking spectacular,” Bunn continued. “A lot of what was shown off publicly had a bit of a mixed review. But what was going on in-house at the time was looking quite spectacular.

“I designed a new opening level for them. My goal there was to make the opening level every bit as good as something you would see in God of War. We had that fully playable in prototype form and it was jaw dropping. It was exceedingly good. All of the other level designers on the team were doing great work.

“It’s just what had been shown publicly was a bit hit and miss. And then the amount of work that needed to go into finishing the game was phenomenal. But it had some great features in there.”

He went on to discuss some gameplay features which he felt would have definitely made a mark if they were shown to the public:

“It had directed moments, which were big cinematic scenes similar to God of War,” he said. “It had driving sections. It had duck and cover style gameplay.”

Sony’s decision to cancel the production of both Eight Days and The Getaway was because “it was deemed that with the incredibly strong list of exclusive first party titles coming up both this year and in the near future, resource should be reallocated to enhance those projects closer to completion”.

Bunn said that the game was in pre-production for a long time and it had already soaked up a lot of money by the time this decision was taken.

“You have to think back as well, this was when the PS3 was in its infancy and was considered overpriced and it wasn’t doing as well as Sony had hoped.

“Eight Days had already cost a fair amount of money. They’d done their maths and said, ‘it’s going to cost this much to finish the project,’ which I’d rather not disclose. It was quite a bit. It was about another year’s worth of development, so you can probably work out roughly for a big game how much that might have come to. And then they basically said, projecting forward what the PS3 user base is going to be a year from now, you’re going to have to be way above the trend on user tie-in to make a profit.

“At the time tie-in for a very good game was about ten per cent of the user base. They said we needed to be two or three times above that to be able to make a profit. It’s not the sort of thing that ever happens.

“And plus, Uncharted had just come out. So, they already had a third-person action game in the stable. At that point they decided they were going to re-purpose the Sony Soho studio as being an EyeToy, motion gaming studio and move away from doing games like The Getaway and Eight Days, at that location.

Bunn revealed that although he personally didn’t invest a lot of time into the project, there were people who has invested years into it, and it was a real shame to see it all go to waste:

“It was a crying shame for a lot of people. There were a lot of people who had worked on it a lot longer than I had. So it wasn’t a huge blow for me personally. Some people had put several years into it. It was really sad to see those guys have lots of work go.”

Bunn said that Eight Days was farther along the development line than The Getaway, which was led by L.A Noire head Brendan McNamara at one point of time. “They were just building a tech demo,” he revealed.

He went on to disclose that both cancellations took place shortly after Shuhei Yoshida replaced Phil Harrison as Sony Worldwide Studios boss.

“[Harrison] left and Shuhei Yoshida came on board as head of worldwide development,” he said.

“He did the rounds basically doing a big shake-up. He saw where the successes had been at the London studio and where the big failures had been and decided we should be the casual, social studio. So games like Singstar and EyePet. Actually there’s quite a lot in development at that studio along those lines that could turn out to be very nice.”

Bunn said the Sony management told the development team of Eight Days that the project was simply “on hold” but it has since been dead.

“It was a bit of a sore point for a while,” Bunn said. “If there was any talk of resurrecting it or reusing any of the technology from it, it was just like, we’re all a bit sad about it, let’s not do anything with Eight Days for the time being.”

Bunn wasn’t able to provide a accurate answer when quizzed about the future of the project and if it’ll ever see a release:

“I don’t know the current status of it. It would be lovely to see that game resurrected in one form or another because it had a lot of potential.”

Eight Days was first shown at E3 in 2006 and was being developed by SCEE’s London studio. In mid-2008 it was unfortunately cancelled along with fellow SCEE London developed project – The Getaway.

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