Monolith scaring up new F.E.A.R.s

WBIE-owned studio announces sequels for PCs and "next-generation consoles." Sequel to lose F.E.A.R. name but continue storyline, keep character set, stay in existing universe.

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Monolith Productions likes to scare people. The sadistic studio was responsible for two of last year's most frightening experiences with Condemned: Criminal Origins on the Xbox 360 and F.E.A.R. on the PC. Both games were produced with the same technology, which used dynamic lighting and realistic sound to give gamers goose bumps.

Today, Monolith announced it is continuing the story of F.E.A.R. on PCs and multiple next-generation consoles. However, due to Vivendi Universal Games owning the name F.E.A.R., the sequels from Monolith will carry a new, as-yet-unannounced title.

The sequel's publisher has not yet been announced, nor has any release date.

Though VU Games owns the series name, Monolith, which was purchased by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment in 2004 after development of F.E.A.R. was under way, owns the rights to the game's characters. However, VU Games may not be done with the F.E.A.R. name, as the company was recently rumored to be working on an Xbox 360 port of the original. A release from Monolilth today made no mention of an Xbox 360 version of F.E.A.R.

Samantha Ryan, president of Monolith Productions, told GameSpot that the sequels "will not be called F.E.A.R., but the IP ownership rests with Monolith and Warner Bros. Fans should expect that the sequels will be set in the universes they know and love."

Monolith is tailoring the sequel's content between the PC and console iterations. The practice of releasing IP on PCs first, then giving console versions a console-specific overhaul is becoming more and more common, as evidenced by Infinity Ward's Call of Duty franchise and Ubisoft's Far Cry franchise. Developers can use each platform's strengths and control schemes to deliver different experiences.

Ryan said, "We believe that the PC audience is entirely viable and can support a game just as it did support F.E.A.R. To deliver the best quality title, the PC needs to be a focus. We believe that next-gen will also be awesome, but again, it has some differences and this is the approach that we're going to try."

The story, however, will remain consistent between different platforms and pick up where F.E.A.R. left off.

"It's an exciting and different universe, and when you have something you love, you want to continue it," said Ryan.

Ryan emphasized that Monolith is hiring staff to work on the new titles. "Talented people in the industry who are excited by this universe should apply," she said. "There are a lot of talented people floating around...and we have a lot of positions to fill."

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