We might never get to see the Bourne game Starbreeze were working on until last year for Electronic Arts, but thanks to some internet sleuthing, now there’s another binned project from the Robert Ludlum spy action franchise to ogle.
Prior to the Vivendi/Activision merger, and before Radical Entertainment’s Prototype wrapped, some staffers at the studio started working on Project Treadstone, a new entry in the Bourne series codenamed after the government organization responsible for Jason Bourne, and some of its early assets have wound up online.
Apparently Treadstone was both a single and multiplayer-including third-person shooter, not unlike Activision’s James Bond 007 games, and may not have gotten much further than prototype/concept phase — something quite common for loads of projects these days. If it isn’t looking great before proper production is greenlit, a game is axed before too much money and resources are invested.
By the video below, we can see that a number of standard post-Gears of War design tropes are in tow: cover, roadie running, object-hurdling, blind-firing and more. According to a blog by former Radical Associate Art Director & Lead Environment Artist, Christopher Scott Hassell, “After wrapping up my work on Prototype I moved onto a new project helping to build a new team and new game. We went on to create an action adventure playable game demo in the spy genre. In less than a year while developing a new engine and building a new team we delivered an “open neighborhood” playable demo with cover based gunplay, vehicles and parkour style locomotion.”
“In 2008 Activision and Vivendi merged. The above mentioned project was cancelled for several reasons. They said the game looked great but needed to turn into somethingelse. They expressed their decision with the fact they already had the James Bond Franchise, and stated several other decision points based around the IP and the game’s potential returns. “
Sierra Entertainment/Activision eventually went on to publish High Moon Studios’ The Bourne Conspiracy, which didn’t do all that well, and was one reason the Ludlum Estate opted to partner with EA for future games using the property.
“EA came in the strongest, had the best take on the property, and they know how to grow the IP and have unquestioned worldwide market reach,” said a rep for the estate during the announcement. “We’re dealing with grown ups now.“
Of course as previously mentioned, EA’s first effort, The Bourne Ascendancy, ceased production in 2010.