In a decision made out of desperation and geek enthusiasm, developer Arkane Studios (Dishonored) abandoned its groundbreaking The Crossing to work on filmmaker Steven Spielberg's EA game LMNO, in late 2008.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Arkane founder Raphael Colantonio said the studio decided to stop development on The Crossing in order to work with Colantonio's heroes (Spielberg, Doug Church, Randy Smith) and pull in some money for his financially troubled studio.
"It was a way more secure deal than the other one," Colantonio said. "The other deal was setting us up for failure with The Crossing, with a lot of suffering. But doing ... this other game ... was actually pretty f***ing cool, too."
In a cruel twist of fate, EA would cancel LMNO in 2010, leaving Arkane in the same place they started. It was around this time the studio did level design for BioShock 2 and Call of Duty: World at War, leading up to development on Dishonored.
The Crossing gained some media attraction in 2007 for its proposed blending of single-player and multiplayer within a narrative. It seemed awfully ambitious for a Source Engine game in 2007 or even now! However, Arkane wanted $15 million and a publisher's trust. Neither of which they would find in this sequel-driven industry. They did, however, find Bethesda who helped them fund Dishonored, which repurposed some of the research and development that went into The Crossing.
To be fair, The Crossing was going to be inevitably put on indefinite hold sooner or later. Still, one has to wonder what could have become of Arkane and The Crossing if they had passed on EA's offer. Maybe they could have helped finish StarCraft: Ghost or Command & Conquer: Renegade 2!
In the Polygon interview, Colantonio also said Arkane has a fully playable build of The Crossing that they play together as a company whenever a new member joins staff, so maybe we'll see some of its ambitious "crossplay" ideas come to retail in the future. I just hope they don't continue to use the term "crossplay." Because, Google image search.
The Mirror Men of Arkane [Polygon]