View Full Version : Project Ego. A huge info list on what the game will be. Get those glasses out!

01-11-2002, 07:04 AM
Widely regarded as a Gaming God, Peter Molyneux has most recently received acclaim for his highly innovative PC title, Black & White. Known for his intuitive understanding of what is fun and his willingness to push the boundaries of current technology to achieve his vision, Molyneux has already carved a place for himself in gaming history. However, anyone who thought Black & White was to be his greatest achievement - his magnum opus - could not have been more wrong. Project Ego has been revealed and Peter Molyneux is about to turn the role-playing world on its ears.

"Project Ego" (working title) is, in Molyneux's words, an RPG done in a "completely and utterly different way". When explaining why he decided to make "Ego", Molyneux described two key limitations of current RPGs that he finds aggravating. First is the static nature of much of the game's world. For instance, NPCs never age, never seem to acknowledge changes you have made to their environment (unless programmed ahead of time on a situation to situation basis) and rarely even acknowledge your previous interaction with them except when it pertains to the script. Secondly, he was bothered by the need to select a character at the beginning of many current RPGs as it limits the players ability to adapt naturally to their surroundings later in the game.

To do away with these restrictive features that are so often seen as necessities, Lionhead's satellite, Big Blue Box and Peter Molyneux have begun work on creating the most free-form game world ever, and a character that develops around your playing style. This will be a game that bends and adapts itself around the user's actions and should deliver an experience completely unique to each gamer.

Let's get into the story. You begin your journey. You are a young, inexperienced character, man or woman, at the early adolescent age of 15. Your every characteristic in appearance is of yours to choose, and every one of your actions throughout the game will affect look and personality. You may grow to become a well-respected knight of nobility, who receives praise and honor by doing good deeds for those in need, or you may become a ruthless murderer, spreading evil like a plague throughout the land. Choose which path to take, for the choice is yours.

Depending on what feats you accomplish in the game, your character will respond to it, either mentally or physically. Let's say you refrain from doing work, and your sole activity consists of eating, you will quickly gain weight. If you choose not to regularly shave your hair or facial hair off, it will keep growing. If you are injured in a battle, you will be scarred. If you choose to learn, you will become wise. All these cause and effects just add more realism to Project Ego, if you aren't already satisfied with the game's tendency to surpass reality visually, that is. Even as the game advances, your character's appearance changes as you age. Wrinkles slowly appear, and hair begins to whiten. Also, it may be possible that speed and agility drop, as well as strength. These natural aging processes that happen to the players also increase the realism of the game drastically, and creates an illusion to fool your senses into believing it's a true, living, breathing environment.

This leads us to our next subject, Graphics. As said earlier, Project Ego was named the most visually stunning and realistic game at E3, and that's nothing short of a fact. This is all thanks to the high level of detail in the environments, as well as in all the character models. The anatomies of the character models are probably the most accurate to those in real life seen so far, and textures on all the objects are clear and not repetitive. Lighting and shadow effects are perfectly placed to hit the surface of every building and person it encounters, and even the smallest things, such as a blade of grass or a strand of hair, waves independently and according to the direction of the breeze that's causing it to move the slightest amount. Though we're told the graphical power of Project Ego is still in the alpha stage (very early stage), and that the visuals will improve 100% by the time it's released, the images displayed so far have surpassed anything ever seen in a video game.

In truth, when it comes to realism, Project Ego pushes the limits.

AI has become a major factor in games today, and the most impressive has got to be Project Ego's. All villagers will respond to your character in a different way depending on how you look, how famous you are, how poor you are, what you're wearing, and if you're a good or bad character. Let's say you stride into village wearing brilliant armor, well groomed hair, and had just returned from a battle victorious; chances are they will look up to you, even bow at your presence, and treat you with respect. On the other hand, if you trample into town a weak, rag-wearing, un-groomed individual, chances are they will look away from you, and maybe even ignore you when try to talk to them. So this also shows, that your outcome as a character will affect everywhere you go.

Another factor that needs to be reviewed to increase realism is time. Time meaning, everything should keep moving along its schedule throughout the game. Such as people living their daily lives with out refrain and day/night transitions should be illustrated through contrasts of the sky. Everything must keep moving in time, to make the environment extremely believable. When you're in one village, another should continue to change, continuously in random ways. Say you enter a village and speak to a boy who had just turned 5 years old, when you return 20 years later, (in-game) that boy would have already become a married adult with seven children. Who knows?

As for storyline, no major details of Ego's plot have been announced; only this brief summary given to us by Big Blue Box is available:

"The land of Albion is a wild, beautiful place. There are bustling market towns where thieves lurk in every shadow. Woodcutters' encampments are nestled on the shores of forest lakes while strange sounds fill the night air. Brave fishermen live out their austere existence in coastal villages wracked by storms. fur-hooded mountain children listen to tales of the demons that lurk in the darkness while wolves howl at the moon. The people who live there are much like the people anywhere. They are thieves and gentlemen, assassins and clergymen, storekeepers and housewives. One day, something comes along which changes their lives forever. You. You are born with the power of the will. Albion will never be the same again."

So what we know from this summary is that it takes place in Albion, a calm beautiful place were only stories of demons and corrupt evil exist, until now. You become the one destined to destroy this new lurking evil and restore Albion, or you can choose to aid those attempting to destroy it. That is what the glory of Project Ego is; the freedom choice. Independence seems to be an important factor in games today, and this is as independent as it gets.

01-11-2002, 07:05 AM
Setting The Stage:
While the exact setting "Ego" will take place in has yet to be decided, Molyneux did mention England as being a possibility. Should they take this route they will turn back the clock a few centuries and go through the pain-staking process of recreating England in its entirety (or well as recorded history will allow). What was certain from the demo shown during an E3 conference (the game has actually been in development for a year so it was being played live) is that it takes place in a time when peasants still led quiet existences in small villages that dotted an unspoiled country-side filled with vast forests and sprawling plains.

While countless RPGs have taken place in this exact style of environment, none have come close to the beauty of "Ego". The first thing you notice when watching the game in action is, oddly enough, the plant life. Rather than the cardboard-cutout look of so many other games, all of "Ego"'s foliage is realized individually. This not only lends the world a very realistic air but allows tall grass and shrubs to sway with the breeze. While it may sound relatively minor, watching the plant life gently bending in the wind increases "Ego"'s immersive factor ten fold.

The village that was shown was also highly detailed (humorously, while everyone in attendance watched the game unfold in awe, Molyneux seemed almost embarrassed with what was on the screen and quickly pointed out that, graphically, the game was no where near done and will improve 100% before launch). The houses were richly textured and awash with deep, warm colors. Villagers went about there business while children giggled and played with one-another. Those of you who have been wishing for an "Ultima 9 - Done Right" will immediately fall in love with this world.

The world outside of the village was no less astounding. The Xbox has provided Big Blue Box with the power to not only have a jaw-dropping viewing distance but also have enough detail on the horizon to keep you from being pulled out of the game. It was hard to tare my eyes off the distant hills and valleys knowing that when this game is released we can just point ourselves in the direction we want to go and explore almost endlessly.
Never the Same Hero Twice:
The game starts off with a small family and you playing as either the son or daughter of the house. You are sent out on your first adult chore (ie: delivering a message, going to the store alone, etc.) and return to find your family killed. Now alone and inexperienced, you must strike out into the world to build a life for yourself. Of course, what style of life that will be is up to you.

Just as in Black & White, "Ego" gives the player complete freedom when it comes to how you approach any given situation. For instance, does the slaughtering of your family simply free you to explore the world? Or maybe you feel driven to vindicate their deaths and show compassion to others who have been wronged. Perhaps it has driven you mad and your only goal is to commit the same atrocities your family was subject to. Whatever the case may be, the "Ego" world is your playground and you are free to do whatever you wish and in whatever manner you choose. However, every one of your actions have its corresponding consequences... both for yourself and for the world around you.

Should you decide that you are best suited with a large sword and shield, your muscles will grow accordingly. On the other hand, should you choose the path of a mage, your muscles with begin to wither. These are two very contrasting examples but since each muscle grows independently of the others, you can expect an vast number shapes and sizes for your character to take on all depending on what you put him or her through.

One of those little features that make "Ego" so mind-boggling and delicious is the inclusion of a scarring system. If you are the type of player who likes a fight with there eyes closed and sword flailing then you are bound to get hurt. Unlike previous games where a quick heal spell or potion would have you shiny and new, "Ego" will keep track of these wounds and put them through their natural course; A well placed gash along your face will heal to the best of your body's ability until it becomes a scare and gives you nice momento of that particularly nasty battle 15 game years ago.

The elements will affect you as well. If you spend a large amount of your time exploring and fighting your way through the world during the day you can expect to get quite a tan (not necessarily a good thing as you'll become very leathery and wrinkled as you age). Conversely, if you are a creature of the night, then you can expect your skin to take on a deathly pallor.

Offering that last push in terms of customizing your character's appearance is growing hair. That goatee or mustache you think would look so good good (or hide a particularly ugly scar) is only a few weeks of forgetting to shave away. The same goes for hairstyles.

Finally, when you tie all of this together, you get a character that is unique to you. If you spend most of your time in the wilderness fighting and exploring then you will likely have a strong, tan and scared character with a long, hermit-style beard; while if you take things more slowly and enjoy the night life then you may end up with a thin, pale character with a well manicured appearance.

Life, Longevity and Death:
Heroism is one thing but everyone needs a home to return to. "Ego" will allow you to not only have a home but find a wife/husband and raise a family. This naturally brings in certain financial matters into the picture so the gamer who wants to keep a good home should also expect to put in some overtime doing the more profitable of heroic activities.

This also implies some form of deep social interaction. Molyneux explained that he wants everything to be dual sided - having its own negatives and positives - so although drinking may not be the best past-time, if you are looking to stay in top form, the drinker will have more social prowess.

How death is will handled (when caused by player error or during combat) was not addressed, the message seemed to be that the only permanent death in "Ego" is brought on by old age. As was mentioned, you start the game at 15, however, there is no set age for death. Instead, "Ego" will take a number of factors into account when deciding when you should kick the bucket. If you have spent the game avoiding an excess of liquor and have kept your body in good shape, then you are likely to live longer than if you were to spend you time sitting around town getting drunk.

This matter of health also comes into play in other, surprising ways; a person in poor health may contract the flu or suffer from allergies. Perhaps it does not seem like an serious matter but, as Molyneux mentioned, if you were hoping to use stealth to your advantage, an unfortunate sneeze may leave you with a few extra scars and a less than heroic retreat!
An Evovling World:

As was mentioned earlier, Molyneux wants to do away with the static worlds of previous RPGs. With this goal in mind, "Ego"'s world is always running. Even while you are in one village, the other villages and their inhabitants are running in a compressed mode. So although you are not always there to see it, the world is continuously changing

What this means for you is that every time you return to a village, you can expect a new experience; a young peasant you talked to ten game years ago may now be married with children and be a leader in his community. This ever-evolving world also means that your actions affect those around you in a far greater way then past games have allowed. In an uniquely gruesome example, Molyneux explained that if you met two young brothers playing in a field and killed one of them, you could return twenty years later to discover the surviving brother's life has been dramatically influenced by your action. He could have since decided to become a hero himself so avoiding him might be a good idea as he is likely still be hot for your blood.

This same effect also pertains to the world as a whole. Molyneux described a situation where an acorn could drop from a tree, have someone crush it under foot and then have the released seeds plant a tree that would grow over the years. In essence, every single footstep you take may have an impact in the world's development.

01-11-2002, 07:05 AM

One of the most remarkable aspects of "Ego" is your interaction with the villagers. As was previously mentioned, the NPCs have a memory and non-static personalities. This allows for them to respond uniquely to any given situation.

NPCs are capable of "seeing" you and, in turn, reacting to you appearance. If you are dressed in expensive linens, then they are more likely to treat you with respect than if you were to stumble into town wearing dented armor and a shaggy beard. Also, those of you who take to dark and ominous apparel should be pleased to know that people will become nervous as your mysterious silhouette enters town.

With the goal of becoming the greatest Hero, there is naturally a fame system. Should your fame (or notoriety) be sufficient, people may well be aware of your past adventures before you have met them. In this situation you will hear people whispering about you excitedly as you pass by or, should you be a known villain, become frightened.

Just as in real life, stories of heroism and conquest are likely to be exaggerated as they pass from person to person. Do not be surprised to hear that the bear you chased off a few months ago has become a blood-thirsty Dragon you killed using only your bare hands as the tale passes along the grapevine.

However, this sort of inflated fame is a double edged blade. While the people may show you great respect and the children may hold you up as a role model (even going so far as to mimic your clothing), should your mortality be revealed through a show of sensible caution, the people will ridicule you and the children will all enjoy a good laugh at your expense. Peter Molyneux gave a humorous example of walking past a pub and over-hearing a few drunken villagers singing a song mocking your cowardice.

Although Molyneux did not go into detail, he did mention a new form of speech system. This technology will allow the characters to respond to you intelligently rather than saying the same thing over and over again.


While not due out for at least another year, "Ego" is likely to change the way RPGs are made forever. With revolutionary game play, unheard of player freedom and stunning graphics, "Ego" is almost certain to find its way on to every Xbox owner's wish-list (Big Blue box is a second-party Xbox developer and Molyneux mentioned that its game play would not translate well to a keyboard and mouse setup so do not expect to see it anywhere else). While the cautious gamer will be sceptical when reading "Ego"'s huge list of innovations, it should be remembered that Black & White promised more than seemed possible and then delivered it. Look for more "Ego" information on MSXbox as it becomes available.

Probably one of the most impressive titles displayed at this year's E3 had to be, with absolutely no doubt, Big Blue Box's very own, Project Ego (known to some as Heroes and Fables). Not only has Ego been given the praise as being one of the most visually stunning game at the show, but it also has been called the most innovative, as well. Even though at first Project Ego was not intended to be such a big up bringing at E3, it soon became one. Some even said it was the most overall impressive game there.

Why, even though being at its early stage, does Project Ego create such high expectations? Simple. The main man behind the project is the one and the only, Peter Molyneux. For those readers who are not familiar with Peter, in short, he is one of the best game designers the industry has, and whenever he has anything to do with a title, it usually is proclaimed a masterpiece even before it's released.

Project Ego will be an exclusive title for the Xbox, and it is set to release in fall of 2002.

01-11-2002, 11:21 AM
Ohh sweeeeet, Im a big project EGO fan, I know its not out but I am reading all I can about it.:D

01-11-2002, 11:31 AM
Project Ego is a must buy for any Xbox fan or RPG fan...it has unlimited possibilites I am intrested to see how long it would take you to do every single possible combination on the game...or even if you can do every single possible combination...:eek: :eek:

rune holm
01-11-2002, 01:43 PM
Wow thats a looooong post Vipermmx , couldnt you just make a link to the site? Or cook it down to like ten lines if you really wanna be helpfull...

Thnx for the info anyway

01-13-2002, 06:24 PM
Project- Ego will have the most replay value of any game ever created.

01-18-2002, 04:01 PM
i cant wait for PE, i need it NOW! the more i read about it the more impatient i become

01-21-2002, 01:34 PM
man, cant wait for this game....i'm getting morrowind also, both should be very fun games.... but ego is the one i really want. =)

deez nuts
01-31-2002, 02:49 PM
they look amazin....PrO EgO and mOrrOwind..they will make me go indeed crazy...but i wanna get my guy as fat as he can and just roll around....i will roll over the evil...morrowind is a gotta getta too.I still dunno who i am ganna be...someone tell me who they are ganna be in..feb 15 baybee...oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh :eek: yyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaa


I gO like grandulf:)

01-31-2002, 07:27 PM
Project Ego should be good just because of PM and the amazingly interacting world which changes according to your actions...but mirrorwind should be great as well...