After a couple of great games, cel-shaded supernatural shooter Fear Effect died a death. Now it could be back: Square-Enix is asking for developers to pitch ideas.
It's all part of the Square-Enix Collective... thing, a sort of indie-harvesting publishing initiative where Squeenix "supports" externally developed ideas voted for by the community by trying to get them crowd funded. The publisher then helps distribute successful projects. It sounds like a win/win thing for them - other studios make things, the public funds them and then if it gets through all that, Square swoops in to help out.
Now things are getting more interesting, though, because Square-Enix is inviting developers to pitch new games in some of its old franchises:
"For the first time developers will be able to submit game ideas for projects set in the Gex, Fear Effect or Anachronox worlds."
Now I'm not much up on Gex or Anachronox, but Fear Effect? That thing was a cult classic: an old Resi-style horror shooter with pre-rendered backgrounds and a heavily Asian influenced take on the underworld. The sequel did just as well and then a third game was revealed at 2002's E3 before the series was cancelled, leading to years of fans speculating over a sequel. I think it's a massive development - imagine a world where publishers opened up all their old game franchises and admitted, "Hey, we're never going to make a another one, but we're open to other people trying".
At the moment this is just a test, but Square-Enix says "we have more IPs that we may open up in future". I'm just going say SOUL REAVER, right now, and slam the door.