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Report: Braben's The Outsider cancelled

Frontier confirms redundancies but claims there's still "publisher interest"

Reports are surfacing which indicate that Frontier's ambitious project The Outsider was cancelled yesterday, ending a wait of over five years for the game to surface.

A post on Rock Paper Shotgun broke the news of the project's claimed collapse from an alleged inside source, also revealing that seventeen staff apparently lost their jobs as a result.

David Braben confirmed in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz that "We have had to change priorities because of requirements on other unannounced projects. Some people have been moved, and we are very sad to have made some people redundant."

However, in a later statement to Develop he claimed that "There is still publisher interest in the project, and we haven't cancelled it." The Outsider's current status is thus perhaps unclear.

Further clarification on the project is awaited, but if the cancellation rumour is true it marks the end of a troubled development period for the game, the continued existence and health of which Frontier boss David Braben has defended vociferously in the past.

Initially, after its announcement in 2005, the title was to be self-financed by Frontier, but growing financial responsibility lead to the need for Codemasters to step in as publisher. That association fell through last year, with Codemasters dropping the title.

RPS' source also alleges that a recent attempt at a deal with EA to take on the game had looked to solve the issue, with staff apparently working under the direction of EA for some weeks.

Frontier's most recent game was Kinectimals for the Xbox 360 motion camera, while David Braben is part of a charitable group currently prototyping 10 micro-PC Raspberry Pi.

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Latest comments (14)

Martin Shannon-Smith Motion Designer 5 years ago
I just looked this game up again the other day to see if it had been cancelled. I'd say it's a shame, but since we were told virtually nothing about the game, I can't really say that with any authority. It did, however, sound like a very promising title and it is sad to see even more people losing their jobs. Here's hoping they find new employers very soon.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
A real shame if it turns out to be true - and the lack of info on the game over the last few years always seemed a little worrying. I wish Frontier all the best, and hope the Pi and any other projects they have going forward prove successful. Anyone know roughly how well Kinectimals did, i.e., whether a sequel is a possibility for MS/Frontier?

Best wishes to anyone who loses their job too.
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Self financed ambitious IPs are always challenging, and as time ticks it becomes even more difficult with regards to Development hell.

Perhaps developing good profitable games on behalf of Publishers, whilst pursuing one's pipe dream might afford a slightly safer approach. At least David tried his best!
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Show all comments (14)
Alex Wright-Manning Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Datascope5 years ago
Holy cow, there really must be something in the water this week. Bizarre, Propoganda and now troubles at Frontier?

I know it had been having a few issues for some time in terms of publisher, and I can't remember the last time I saw any info on The Outsider. A big shame as I thought it had real potential from the early outline and screens. Let's hope David can get things back underway!
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Really such a huge shame.
Best of luck to all you guys.
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Not to mention, we havent heard bout the Elite for ages :)
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
David Braben often talks about Elite IV (is it number IV?), but to be honest, I'm doubtful that will ever get made, too. If something had to give, hopefully The Outsider's cancellation will enable development on the next Elite to continue.
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@ Terence - exactly, if Outsider is canned, then all the able bodies sitting there can be re allocated into a a new IP or co development title. There maybe a silver lining afterall. Lets see what David has to say
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Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware 5 years ago
Titles in development for yeas and years without anyhing concrete to really show, they start to smell sour
rather than of roses. We will not see an Elite, not from frontier anytime soon, sad to say (speculate).
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Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design5 years ago
I know someone who works at Frontier, I hope he hasn't lost his job. The game's been in development for a long time - perhaps a bit too long. All the best to those who have been affected.
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Rob Evans CEO & Lead Developer, Isogenic Engine5 years ago
Any Frontier news usually gets me excited because it always reminds me of my days playing first encounters but this is sad news. I wish everyone laid off good luck in the future. And here's my vote for elite 5 or whatever number out is. Probably just dreaming but if they code it... I'd buy it!
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Drew Dewsall Editor, Game4Anything5 years ago
What a shame, I had high hopes for this game but self funding an original ip is always a big risk. However if there is one thing Braben appears to be it is bloody-minded so we may yet get to see Elite and The Outsider. However with every passing month/year these titles need to become more impressive as the competition gets better.

I hope to one day be playing the new Elite in fact I might dust of my Speccy and have a go on the original!
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Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive5 years ago
It's a real shame.Good luck to all those affected...
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Mike Rusby 3d character modeller 5 years ago
I worked on it briefly and TBH always had an inklng that it would turn in to vapourware.
I used to sit next to a tree every day at lunchtime outside the frontier building and david brabens dog would come past and p*** on it :)
He seemed quite pleasant( mr braben, not the dog)
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