TimeShift Update: Changing the Game

The time-bending shooter has undergone yet another face-lift, this one the most extreme yet. We got a brief look at what's new.

If it seems like you've been hearing about the still-unreleased TimeShift for years, it's probably because you have. The game began as an Xbox first-person shooter under Atari's auspices, before jumping ship to both a new publisher, Vivendi, and a new platform, the Xbox 360. We expected the finished game to finally hit last fall, when we even played several levels from what seemed like a nearly final version. Since that time, though, developer Saber Interactive has practically gutted the game, with a visual overhaul, mechanical redesigns, and more. The result is a game that's not even recognizable to anyone who played the old builds of TimeShift in the last few years.

The look and storyline of TimeShift have been almost completely overhauled in the last few months.

What remains from the previous game is as follows: You're still a guy with a fancy suit who can bend time in multiple directions, and you're still fighting alongside a ragtag rebellion against a nefarious, imperialist chrome dome named Krone. Just about everything else is different, though. You're not playing as square-jawed Colonel Swift anymore; the newly redesigned main character is encased in a full-body suit that makes him look like a high-tech cybernetic ninja. In fact, the entire story (aside from the aforementioned points) has been scrapped, so you likely won't hear the voice-overs provided by Dennis Quaid and Michael Ironside in the final version of the game, either.

As mentioned, TimeShift started out on the original Xbox, and to be honest, it showed. That's not the case anymore, though, as Saber has apparently invested a lot of effort in shoring up the artistic and technical execution of the game's visuals. The game finally looks like it was created for next-generation hardware, with extensive new surface and lighting effects that are up to par with competing games. (You can contrast the latest batch of screenshots with previous ones for yourself.) TimeShift will also be one of the first games to ship with the 4.5 version of the Havok physics engine, which will allow the designers to use more fluid surfaces and more rigid bodies in given environments, as well as add better rag-doll physics to the characters.

The vaunted time-control mechanics in TimeShift--which brought to mind the similar abilities in the cutesy Xbox platformer Blinx--have been thoroughly condensed. Previously, you could stop, slow down, or rewind time at your leisure, but this proved too complex for many of the game's situations. Now, your suit will do all the decision-making for you. At any given moment, it will be tracking all the specifics of your situation, and you'll merely have to hit a single context-sensitive time button to engage the most appropriate power. The developers are referring to the suit as Sam right now, since it's sentient and sort of a character in its own right, somewhat like Halo's Cortana. In essence, the designers have taken the puzzle-solving element out of the game and made it a faster-paced experience more along the lines of Call of Duty--less thinking, more shooting, in other words.

Expect the time-control mechanics to be much more simplified in the final version of the game.

That was evident when we got to see a brief sample level from a current build of the game. Saber has tossed out just about all of the game's bathwater at this point, including the art design and a number of the early levels. The new version has you fighting against a darker and more sinister imperial force amid a more dystopian, bombed-out urban landscape. It's a little reminiscent of F.E.A.R., which is appropriate considering that the new art director previously worked on that game. The old version of TimeShift featured a lot of open, unprotected expanses that forced you to use your time powers to survive, but the new game is a lot more about intense firefights, ducking for cover, and going up against imposing forces like a couple of massive bipedal robots that demolished an entire building looking for us.

Some games languish notoriously in development year after year before their release, but few of them have done so publicly as TimeShift has. This is now essentially the third incarnation of the game, but it's encouraging that Vivendi has taken the extra time and made the effort to improve the experience when it was previously below par. The result, from what we saw during our demo, is a striking contrast to the game that was previously slated for release last year. TimeShift is now scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, so hopefully we'll find out by then if the extra development has paid off.

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180 comments
patrickstat
patrickstat

this is a fantastic game that is teribely under rated. you have lots of freedom to choose different time abilities and the actual gun fights are amazing, ranging from sniper to close combat machine gun action with grenade launcher. graphics are great and the music slowley becomes sentimental. the game has a special something about it. tottaly under rated!

markimsoad
markimsoad

its fantastic... why 6,5? tsc tsc

pabloegalvan
pabloegalvan

the game has all of the abilities, and the simplified system. But, you can also choose what abilities you want when you want to. the automatic system they added was for people who don't want to think, but we can still use the other abilities freely.

superstew68
superstew68

i hope that they release it this year

James5000
James5000

I hope that this isn't just another FEAR, with the whole slowing down time abilities.

blkhand
blkhand

Sounds like its gone down the tubes since I played the last demo. What a pity. What are they thinking with simplifying it, we're not THAT dumb are we?

ctg867
ctg867

Yes, yet another game that gets changed to look like the last great game: GoW. Look at Dark Sector, that games gonna blow now. Just. ****ing. Great. I hope this game goes under and the company files for bankruptcy for being that damn stupid.

lord-azrael
lord-azrael

The vaunted time-control mechanics in TimeShift--which brought to mind the similar abilities in the cutesy Xbox platformer Blinx--have been thoroughly condensed. Previously, you could stop, slow down, or rewind time at your leisure, but this proved too complex for many of the game's situations. Now, your suit will do all the decision-making for you. wow that sounds real lame,what is it with game makers dumbing down there games,what if i dont want to use what the game thinks i should use.Maybe a barrel will fly at me and ill press the time button and it'll rewind when I wanted to just slow down time so I could duck barrel and then unleash lead in a enemies face

FLOWZMENTAL
FLOWZMENTAL

I just hoped they changed the contol set-up. If you played the first demo then you know how bad it was. And if you haven't leave it that way cause they control will frustrate you more than the cheap deaths. And yes the game did look very xbox 1.5ish

PHeMoX
PHeMoX

(@Gamespot: Halo's Cortana is a computer A.I. program not connected to the masterchiefs' suit actually.) . I like this graphic style WAY WAY better. I hope they do change certain gameplay things indeed, as one of their demos showed they had much to improve. Perhaps less complicated is better indeed. I don't expect it to implement the time traveling features as good as the latest 3 Prince of Persia games did, but I surely hope it won't end up being 'just a gimmick'. "you cant choose what time changing ability you use? WTF?" What makes you think that? TimeShift will still feature different time changing abilities, it just helps you figure out easier what to use when...

brannigancarter
brannigancarter

This game....it's....beautiful...but i wanna control time my DAMN SELF!!!!!!!!

Alucard62889
Alucard62889

I totally agree with SpazH3d, why did they get rid of all the potential puzzles and awesome time traveling fights by scrapping the open ended time warping? Now it just seems like a standard FPS, no innovation at all... oh well...

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

Sounds to me like them made it more like a generic fast-paced shooter. How disappointing, i was so looking forward to stopping time and setting up traps. :( Yes, give us a new demo!

phatgirl
phatgirl

What alot of you guys are assuming is that it was a crappy first person shooter redeemed with the ability to control time, and now that the ability has been limited so significantly people are complaining that the game will suck. If they get the combat right, and the pacing is good, the little bit of time control might be just the perfect amount to bring a shooter from average to awesome.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

tehhousemastor Chintastic MY ANUS IS MASSIVE. Timeshift looks good. wtf ANYWAY if wait 4 the score and stuff if its good than why wouldint i buy it and sumtimes u can change stuff 4 the better so dnt juge b4 u play it Posted Apr 15, 2007 9:35 pm CT

GLADLY..Just give us an updated Demo with Multiplayer mode included

tehhousemastor
tehhousemastor

Chintastic MY ANUS IS MASSIVE. Timeshift looks good. wtf ANYWAY if wait 4 the score and stuff if its good than why wouldint i buy it and sumtimes u can change stuff 4 the better so dnt juge b4 u play it

Sydwynder
Sydwynder

Interesting.......................... I had forgotten all about this game, and yeah it sure does look like FEAR. But really against games like Halo3, GTA IV and Assassin's Creed this fall, does this game stand a chance? We'll see.......

zrocknrollerz
zrocknrollerz

Wait for it to come out before complaining, you never know it might suprise you that they actually made it better. Complete overhauls actually CAN make a game better, so give the game a chance before b*tching please.

Tinklesburgh
Tinklesburgh

The complex powers were the only reason I wanted this game. I could go out and spend 10 bucks on a crappy FPS that's full of intense firefights and stuff. I wanted an intelligent, interesting game. I was very intrigued by the powers but it really doesn't sound all that interesting anymore. I'm pretty dissapointed.

A_Dude64
A_Dude64

gamer freak?! HA! more like gamer n00b! look at it! you cant choose what time changing ability you use? WTF? when i played the demo, it was fun playing with time! now they scrap it and take the "F" out of "TimeShift". i was so into this, now its like its another F.E.A.R but with sh*tty time abilitys! "OOO, AINT THIS GONNA BE F****ING FUN!!!!! THANKS SABER! THE CRAPIEST GAME COMPANY EVER! im a vivendi fan, to >.

gamerfreak667
gamerfreak667

gassy_human: STFU just cuz they changed alot doesnt mean itl suck if anything i think they probably did it so it could be the best game they could get

gassy_human
gassy_human

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

gassy_human
gassy_human

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

LordLeckie
LordLeckie

WTF? i just was reading through all the original things and now i read this. seriously, why the hell would you simplify the goddam time powers i mean they were one of the few attractions to this game but now.....i guess i might buy it if gets good reviews..

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

Chintastic MY ANUS IS MASSIVE. Timeshift looks good. Posted Apr 14, 2007 4:02 pm CT

There's no DENYING...TIMESHIFT does look good graphicswise

...err actually? I take that back. I'm having a hard time making out what's what in some screenshots.

Take the one where a guard was standing against a brick column and started to move... The shift to dark coloring against dark desolate colored backgrounds could make the game challenging visually speaking...

But it would be nice to be able to tell what is shooting at you and with the context sensitive control button scheme unless its Rewind by default it will be a pain in the butt to have to replay the same section over and over again scratching your head trying to figure out where those death dealing shots came from...

So as I said I'm not sold on the singleplayer gameplay yet...Multiplayer DEMO PLEASE

Chintastic
Chintastic

MY ANUS IS MASSIVE. Timeshift looks good.

TheCrapp
TheCrapp

Im agree with nick2shy and bonafidetk, i played the demo of the old version of Timeshift and liked it, what left me waiting the full version... Now all of this new stuff sounds lame, except the new reinvigorated graphics

bonafidetk
bonafidetk

The suit does all the time warping for you? Sounds like its going to suck.

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

yeah, this game looks like just another generic FPS as mentioned before. There doesnt seem to be anything that really makes it stand out that i can see in the trailers. Ill rent it tho. i give everything a chance, at least once.

pathogenb
pathogenb

i don't what you kids are talking about. the demo was ok, but it was just like every other FPS (basically). at least the game looks a hell of a lot better now.

Factor-Zer0
Factor-Zer0

this game looked so cool at first, then they changed it and it sucked. maybe this will be better the the demo.

Inde_
Inde_

I hate Dennis Quaid. The Rookie brings back so many bad memoryies.

war3
war3

this game wont compare to other FPS games out there and upcoming ones.

makemeweak
makemeweak

Why invest all that money to reinvent the game? I don't get it.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I STILL want a DEMO preferably of the multiplayer mode

olberto Wow, another generic looking FPS, yeah I am sure it was worth lavishing more money and time on this yawn fest. Then again, it was even more generic looking before so maybe... Being similar to FEAR is not a bad thing, it might be good."Time" wil tell... hahahahaha Posted Apr 13, 2007 6:02 am CT

Hey olberto, when's the last time you played F.E.A.R. for me? Its been a while...A LOOONG WHILE...

nick2shy
nick2shy

I don't like this game anymore, They removed some of the best elements that I played in the demo, the time shift was not complicated to figure out it was fun, and Dennis Quaid and Michael Ironside were removed why oh why, well I know why but I am just not happy, I will pass on this game.

beckoflight
beckoflight

well its good taht they improved the game now its a full time project not some cheap project :D

olberto
olberto

Wow, another generic looking FPS, yeah I am sure it was worth lavishing more money and time on this yawn fest. Then again, it was even more generic looking before so maybe... Being similar to FEAR is not a bad thing, it might be good."Time" wil tell... hahahahaha

stevenk4k5
stevenk4k5

I think they made a mistake when they chose to let the game decide which power is correct for the situation. Sucks all the fun and originality out of the game.

lantus
lantus

Well sounds better than the previous build, that looked terrible.

denaz
denaz

Man this game sounded awesome at first, now, its just like every other FPS on the market, cept you can reverse time, actually sorry, you can push a button and the suit decides if you can reverse time. Sounds like its going downhill to me

Xcelerate
Xcelerate

From the reading, it looks like the game has simply become your typical fast-paced shoot 'em up, with a little of time shifting now and then "when appropriate." All the unique skill and fun of doing it is now gone. It is now: "Generic fast-paced FPS with minor time shifting attached"

drechao
drechao

i wanted to get this game about when the 360 first came out because this game was suppose to come out 2 years ago.An i played the demo and it sucked bad.i happen the next demo be good,if they have one.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

I wonder if they're STILL TAKING SUGGESTIONS FROM the FORUMS

katmandu32
katmandu32

Taking out the ability to control time at will is going to cut the soul out of this game. I played the demo, and having to use your powers to survive out in the open was a huge draw for me. Now it just looks like they want to make a F.E.A.R. clone. Why don't they just give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it?

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

DaRkNeSs2393 I played an early build of the game at Gencon, and thought that with a little tuning and weapon balancing, this would be a great game. But a complete overhual? Droping Quaid? I don't know if that's wise... But hey, the graphics do look better now. We'll see how it turns out. Posted Apr 12, 2007 2:42 pm CT

Like I said I want a demo. I want to see how badly they've butchered this game.

henry777
henry777

scripted events, they should dump the project! ten people are gonna buy it,i had my eye on it , now ill move on the other games! another shooter,great!

darkpresence
darkpresence

they took out the ability to control time......bleh! booooo! just another standared uninspired shooter.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

huel same here i would prefer if i could make the decisions. The puzzle-solving element would make the game much more interesting or addictive but they have taken that out too. To Geigerdolylwodd: where's the game menu button??? Posted Apr 12, 2007 7:20 am CT

You know what huel? After I finished refining my ideal button/control layout for how I'd like the game to be I came to realize 2 things.

One I hadn't specified that strafing from side to side should also be done with the running analog. The other was that I completely FORGOT to take advantage of the directional pad.

And well? why not use the directional pad to bring up the menu? Yeah up for bringing up the menu. Down to tuck it away, with left being used to scroll through those menus to the left and right being used to scroll through those menus to the right.

There now every button has been used.

So again here's a quick recap:

START= Slow down time (HOLD)

Stop time (TAP) / Resume time (TAP)

BACK = rewind time

directional arrow pad = bring up menu (Up arrow)*

exit menu (Down arrow)

bring up next menu (Right arrow)

bring up prior menu (Left arrow)

X = Reload ammo

Y = switch guns

B = Melee attack / hit switches

A = Jump

Left bumper = Switch grenades

Right bumper = switch guns or secondary fire

Left trigger (LT) = toss grenades

Right trigger (RT) = fire gun

Right Analog = running forwards/backwards strafing left/strafe right

Right Analog button = ducking

Left Analog = Aiming/Turning

Left analog button = sniper zooming

NOTE: The time functions of START and BACK would be disabled during multi-player modes so that the chronogrenades would serve as the means through which time will be altered.

And as usual the controls should be customizable to your taste. As far as the guide button's concerned? It already has reserved implemetation built into the 360 to begin with. Thus its use? Is not on the table. *While in the menu the game would automatically shift to the Stop option if it hasn't already been activated. Also the functionality of the 4 face buttons would change accordingly. The Y and B buttons would be used to cancel a highlighted menu option. The X and A buttons would be used to confirm a highlighted option. Also movement on the analogs would be disabled while in menu mode instead they'd be used to highlight options on the menus. All functionality would return to normal once the menu is exited.

HACHET_MAN1
HACHET_MAN1

IF YOU CANT CONTROLE THE TIME NO POINT IN BUYING IT AND JUST SHOOTONG CAN GET REPETITVE