Legendary Game Archon Set to Return?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Archon's Amazing Box Cover Art: From WikipediaArchon's Amazing Box Cover Art: From WikipediaAh, Archon for 8-bit computers, besides having one of the greatest videogame covers of all time on the famous Electronic Arts album format, was nearly a perfect blend of strategy and action. It's almost like a chess/checkers combination, but where the pieces battle for control of squares in fast action arcade style combat. The game was arguably best on the Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 (C-64), but it was released on many other platforms of the day, including the Atari XEGS (same as the Atari 8-bit version, just on cartridge) and NES consoles. While the game spawned a sequel, Archon II: Adept, in a short amount of time, that *gasp*, tried a totally different angle, it didn't have the same magic as the original. In fact, that would be a problem with other off-shoots and inspired-by's on various platforms, they just didn't capture the same feel as on the Atari 8-bit or C-64 for whatever reason. In fact, the developers, Freefall, tried their own update for the PC called Archon Ultra in 1994 on DOS, but despite some potential, it too failed in the gameplay department. Finally, of the offshoots and planned remakes, there was even one in development that was supposed to be based off the old 8-bit code and had the blessing of John Freeman himself, but was sadly never finished. After all that, and games like LucasArts' recent Wrath Unleashed (PS2 and Xbox), which was like a 3D update of Archon, but unfortunately had an impossible to see gameboard and poor action, we have yet to see a truly successful update. Hopefully what was announced in the following press release will change all that, once and for all, and 20 years of mistakes can finally be learned from:

MYRIAD INTERACTIVE SECURES ARCHON LICENSE
DEAL SIGNED WITH FREE FALL GAMES
For immediate release

London: 6th February 2007

Myriad Interactive begins the year with a series of license agreements. First to be announced is the signing with Free Fall Games of Archon, the title that made its first appearance in 1983 on the Atari 8-bit computer, but was then ported to classic consoles such as the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and even the NES. The game proved popular with its cunning mix of strategic gameplay and intense action sequences.

“We are incredibly pleased to have signed this brand. Archon is a well respected license that has huge nostalgic value for the right reasons - the gameplay, the great combination of strategic thinking and the intense arcade action,” says Leo Zullo, founding Partner, Myriad Interactive.

“Archon was such a favorite that we’re pleased to make it available to a new generation. We look forward to a new version of the game that combines the fun and spirit of the original with today’s exciting technology,” says Jon Freeman, Creative Director & Partner, Free Fall Games.

“We believe now is the right time to bring Archon back and look forward to presenting the concept to a new generation of gamers, as well as those that remember it 1st time around,” Zullo concludes.

Archon will be published through the Mercury Games brand, and details on the formats will be released soon.

About Myriad Interactive
Myriad Interactive is an asset management and investment company dedicated to the interactive entertainment industry. Its objective is to develop a group of companies that will deliver a wide range of high quality services and products. The Company is focusing its strengths around investments in brands and companies, strategic alliances and joint ventures, and already has a number of fully operational brands under its wing, including Mercury Games and Turtle Games. Myriad Interactive will hold all licenses and brands, and use its subsidiaries and partners to develop and publish titles.

Myriad Interactive is a privately owned company.

For more info. on:

Myriad Interactive visit, www.myriad-interactive.com
Mercury Games visit, www.mercurygames.com
Turtle Games visit, www.turtle-games.com

Comments

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Archon would definitely work

Archon would definitely work as a mix of strategy and FPS. Wouldn't it be awesome to play the phoenix or banshee in a FPS environment? It'd be cool to dive bomb on a club-wielding pawn! I could see awesome potential here for really intense arcade action. Of course, the 3D environment will bring new challenges. Will there be some type of "radar" system so the players will be able to see each other? Hm...

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
If anything, a 3D gameboard,

If anything, a 3D gameboard, as seen in "Wrath Unleashed", is a waste of time. They need to keep the board purely 2D, though they can make it as hi-res as possible, as long as it remains very easy to decipher. As for first person action sequences, I can't say I'm a fan of that idea either. To me, Archon works best as a single screen 2D gameboard with classic arcade style single screen action sequences. I think having the "god's eye view" at all times in the way to go. The most important key is in the play tuning. No other game since the original Archon has tuned the action properly. Of course a big flaw with the original Archon was the lack of difficulty levels. The single difficulty was entirely too easy after only a short time of mastery.

To me, what would be neat, is if they took all the concepts of the original Archon and just went crazy with them. In other words, keep the same type of board, but make different boards selectable (and have the combat fields reflect the new board environments); keep the same types of playing pieces/characters, but make dozens of different units selectable (and make a point system where you can't load up on just the "best"); etc. Just take the original game and turn everything up a notch. If it's for something like PC, allow for user created boards and pieces. Sell official expansion packs. If it's something for Xbox 360, make downloadable content for Xbox Live. In fact, sell it as an Xbox Live Arcade game. Etc. I can imagine hundreds of different playing pieces over time and dozens of boards/environments. That would be the coolest. Offline and online multiplayer, as well as co-op is also a must. I don't want to see too much done to this. If you're going to license Archon, give us Archon darnit. If you're not going to give us Archon and just use the name, why bother to license it, just make another knockoff.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Michael McCourt
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Joined: 01/17/2007
This is one of those games,

This is one of those games, that as a classic gamer and self-professed ludologist I am ashamed to admit I have never played, (though I always liked the cover art). I'm surprised the quoted article makes no mention of Jon Freeman's connection to the original Archon. If I'm not mistaken wasn't he one of, if not the only, designer on the original?

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
mezrabad wrote:This is one
mezrabad wrote:

This is one of those games, that as a classic gamer and self-professed ludologist I am ashamed to admit I have never played, (though I always liked the cover art). I'm surprised the quoted article makes no mention of Jon Freeman's connection to the original Archon. If I'm not mistaken wasn't he one of, if not the only, designer on the original?

I make mention of it and so does the quoted article. Though I misspelled it "John" instead "Jon". It was "Freefall Associates". I think I might have put "Freeman". In any case, it was Jon Freeman, his wife Anne Westhall and Paul Reiche III doing all of the work at the company back then if I'm not mistaken. I also have their "Swords of Twilight", boxed, for the Amiga, which was an innovative three players at once RPG, but had a few fatal flaws. Nevertheless, Freefall Associates had some clever, clever ideas back then.

By the way, I have my own "ashamed" list of games I didn't play that I really should have. I think we all do.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
List of shame, huh? :-) At

List of shame, huh? :-) At the top of my list are the Sierra GAGs (King's Quest, etc), Quest for Glory, Wasteland, and Zelda games. I've done research on them and played the original King's Quest and Space Quest (as well as KQ 4), but I haven't put the time into them that they deserve.

A few other games on my shame list:
1. Populous
2. Black & White
3. The Last Ninja
4. Wing Commander (& Privateer)
5. Civilization I-III
6. Command & Conquer
7. Starcraft
8. Diablo (though I did play II a bit)
9. Descent
10. System Shock

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