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Cloud game company from former Square Enix boss showcases early work

Matt Leone has written about games for three decades, focusing on behind-the-scenes coverage of the industry, including books on Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2.

In a roundtable format at E3 today, Shinra Technologies — the cloud-based streaming company founded by former Square Enix head Yoichi Wada — revealed a bit about the first three Western games announced for its platform.

These games are part of Shinra’s Prototype Accelerator Program, which is a fund designed to kickstart projects that will run on Shinra’s cloud technology, though the program doesn’t guarantee the games will be released. It instead funds their prototypes, and then leaves the games in the developers’ hands.

The first game discussed at the event is a "primordial playground" and "evolution simulator" (seen at the top of the page) from Hardsuit Labs, best known as the team behind Blacklight Retribution. Players take control of dinosaurs, monsters, turduckens, etc. and go to battle as the creatures evolve and the environment reacts over time. Hardsuit says there will be thousands of AI creatures on the screen at one time, which Shinra’s cloud technology makes possible. (Shinra didn’t provide game titles for any of these three projects.)

The second game comes from Human Head Studios, perhaps best known in recent years for its early work on Prey 2 before it left the project. Human Head’s project is a pirate ship online battle game, where masses of players can fight or spectate battles at any given time. According to Human Head’s Ted Halsted, the idea for the game came from Shinra’s technology and its ability to produce an endless amount of water physics that factor in wind, storms and currents, allowing the team to create large-scale battles without having to use to a simple flat ocean surface.


Finally, the third game comes from Camouflaj, the team behind episodic stealth game Republique. Camouflaj founder Ryan Payton describes the team’s Shinra project as a multiplayer stealth survival game that will be heavy on story. He says the team is trying to make the game more about strategy than reflexes, and that Shinra’s tech allows more environmental desctruction than in most games and may allow spectators to influence the game in some way. The game is being codeveloped by Darkwind Media.

Aside from the art on this page, Shinra didn’t reveal any assets from any of the games or show them up and running at the event, noting that these are prototypes and the company doesn’t want to commit to anything too soon.

Shinra head Yoichi Wada says that at this point he’s not sure whether Shinra may publish any of these games itself, or whether they will find other partners. Shinra’s Prototype Accelerator Program simply gets them off the ground. Wada also says that these three are just the start of what Shinra has planned for the program, and that while he can’t commit to a specific number until the deals have been signed, he would like to sign "two to three" times the number of projects currently announced over the next year.

Shinra is currently planning a technical beta of its service to run in Kansas City later this year, with plans to roll out a paid beta covering more of the United States and other parts of the world in 2016.