We're guessing that if you've worked hard to get into the games industry and then you find yourself working on a series of cheap platform tie-ins based on middling CGI cartoons (Over The Hedge, Shark Tale), then it's naturally important to have some big ambitions to cling onto. And, with their very first original title, Cipher Complex, Texas-based developers
Edge of Reality certainly have big ambitions. Kicking Sam Fisher's butt, for a start.
Edge of Reality president Binu Philip believes, "The evolution of action games has seemed to plateau... we're exploring and developing brand new styles of gameplay and methods of storytelling." However, despite the hiring of respected storyboard artist Mark Bristol to cook up a plot, we don't think that Cipher Code's story itself will break many moulds... waking up years after getting a bullet in the brain while hot on the trail of a Russian warhead, the appallingly-named US Government Operative John Cipher discovers that the same pesky warhead has been spotted on an island off Siberia - and it's not long before he's back on its trail, and this time it's inevitably personal.
But it's not what John's doing that matters, or indeed what Fisher-baiting doohickeys he's got to stealth his way to the prize - it's how he accomplishes his goal that matters in Cipher Complex.
Philip and his mates believe that stealth games have always been too much about skulking in dark corners waiting for pre-programmed guards to pass by, when they should be about speed, and action - and anyone who's seen Cipher clear a room of guards in ten seconds (with the last guard to be attacked dropping to the floor before the first one even realises that a knife's been stuck through his neck) will agree that they've got a point. "Aggressive infiltration" they're calling it... which, from what we've seen, is a good shorthand for "running around slitting throats like a psychotic Sonic".
Your number one weapon in Cipher Complex, you see, is adrenaline. A couple of bullets and you're dead, but it's your adrenaline meter that you'll be keeping the closest watch on - it's the secret to John's ability to strike before he's seen. The thing is, though, if you dash through corridors too often, you're in danger of not having enough adrenaline left to cope with whatever Uzi-toting nightmare may await you at the other end. You can inject precious vials of the hormone, but your main task will be to carefully decide when and how to use speed, and when to... well, skulk in the shadows. We'll be hands-on in no time.