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Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops

First developer's diary entry released for Viva Media's stealth-action game.

New York, NY November 3, 2010 - Today Viva Media releases the first developer's diary for Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops. The first of what will be a four part developer diary series. Each installment will profile a specific part of gameplay and describe many of the behind the scene ideas and descriptions. For this first installment, we're looking at the three main locales of the game: Mogadishu, Havana, and Dubai - and even more specifically, why they were chosen.

To download the corresponding developer diary trailer, please visit our Virtual Press Room at: http://vpr.viva-media.com/shadow-harvest-phantom-ops. There you can find the most recent press releases and assets.

Developer’s Diary #1: The Locations of Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops

The game’s backstory is based in the year 2025. We chose the not-too-distant future for our timeline, because it allows us to be creative in many ways a game about contemporary problems wouldn't. Conversely, the fact that it's so close to our own time tethers the game to reality - not allowing us to get too fantastical. We only use technology that is currently being researched and developed in 2010, helping us to maintain a believable storyline. It’s a nice balance.

The storyline, a horrific arms race exacerbated by dwindling resources and global unrest, helps to steer the specifics of the game, especially the locales. One of the increasing trends of the past few decades is the proliferation of piracy, a problem we don’t foresee improving in the decades to come, and so we use this prediction to help tell a story that is both politically relevant and also fun for gamers.

For instance, Somalia is currently a hotspot for piracy and was the most logical place to set Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops. It plays a significant part in the game, since it's prone to civil wars and horrible violence.

Location 1: Mogadishu, Somalia

Mogadishu is probably an appealing and attractive place only to gamers and game designers. The city was recently elected the most dangerous place on Earth by CNN. If you are arriving on a plane in Mogadishu, you are asked to fill out a form by customs detailing your name, address and the caliber of gun you carry (this is not a joke).

Because of the dangers and lawlessness of this place, we thought it to be a great choice for hosting an action game.

Like any city, Mogadishu is broken down into neighborhoods: there are the city’s outskirts with their tiny, rather provisory appearing accommodations, and where the majority of the population has tried to rescue itself from the reams of hand grenades exploding everyday in the city’s center.

The center of Mogadishu, on the one hand, is a bit apocalyptic with all its destroyed skyscrapers and internecine conflicts. We set up a fictitious government quarter in the Mogadishu of 2025, where the current dictator settled down and the scars of civil war are reopened daily.

Gamers will see every bit of this Mogadishu, from the bazaars on the outskirts, to the city’s destructive center, up to the palace of the government.

Location 2: Dubai, UAE

Whenever there are people profiting from piracy, they’ll invest their newfound money into projects. In our story, warlords and dictators invest their money into the expansion of their armories, creating a great surge in demand for greater and more technologically sounds weapons.

In 2025, warlords no longer have AK-47s on their wish lists. Instead, they seek out camouflaged technology and other high-tech equipment for their militia. And as the armaments industry always keeps up with the demands of the black market, 2025 is witness to great innovations in weaponry. Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops takes full advantage of this.

Dubai, as is true in 2010, is still an epicenter for the rich and the famous. After having made fortunes from a prospering illegal arms trade, these warlords have moved and made their headquarters in this lavish city. But they’ve also brought their crimes and corruption with them.

In Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops, the gamer explores all the areas of Dubai's beautiful coast. The gamer gets to see all the decadent locales: the skyscrapers as well as the offices, the HeliPads and the marina.

Location 3: Havana, Cuba

In our imagination, Cuba is a potential environment for future conflicts, and all kinds of civil war scenarios! By 2025, it’s safe to assume Fidel Castro no longer has a stranglehold over Cuba, resulting in a horrible, cruel civil war. Much debate over the future of Cuban politics rages throughout the country, often between those who are sympathetic to communism and those who are sympathetic to a democracy.

This battle between two political/economical ideologies means that Cuba is a real paradise for the arms trade – particularly in regards to explosives and for the sheer fact that Cuba’s coastline is so close to Florida.

The gamer gets to see the historic center of La Habana and the picturesque coastline of Cuba.

General Information about Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops

There are almost no cutscenes, so that the gamer experiences the game 99% in-game! This is why we think that designing all the details is very important for the authenticity. All the levels of the game have been designed based on this motto.

In the second part of Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops Dev Diaries:

We meet CPT Aron Alvarez - close combat and demolition expert


When tyrants and warlords threaten the well-being of International Law, it's the job of those few, of those skilled to protect the world and maintain the veil of secrecy. These men and women are the unsung heroes, the soldiers who get the job done even behind enemy lines. Often going unheard and unnoticed, but certainly felt -- at least by their enemies; they fight a war of high stakes that civilians will never even know about.

Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops takes place in the year 2025 as the world is shaken by numerous conflicts over the control of dwindling natural resources. Greedy warlords and dictators of 3rd world countries thirst for advanced weapons systems and never before have arms dealers been so profitable. Players will be immersed into highly detailed environments in Somalia, Cuba and the city of Dubai. The central characters, Myra Lee and Aron Alvarez are operatives of a secret US military intervention unit, called the ISA. Both agents are relentless warriors with unique and deadly battle skills.

Platform: Windows PC

Price: $49.99

Genre: Stealth-Action

Release Date: February 2nd, 2011


Black Lion Studios is a gathering of highly professional and veteran game developers with the declared goal to create the ultimate gaming experience. The company is an independent game development studio, set to exclusively create AAA-content for today’s leading entertainment platforms. Black Lion Studios was founded in early 2007 by Martin J. Schwiezer, who is in the industry since 1991 and who was also the founder, managing director and lead visionary of Reakktor, the company that developed Neocron, the world's first cyberpunk MMORPG. Martin J. Schwiezer also wrote the initial concept for Reakktor's upcoming Sci-Fi MMORPG Black Prophecy and was the executive producer of the ultra-realistic racing sims GTR and GTR2.


Founded in 1998, the company has grown to be a market leader maintaining a top 10 NPD ranking for the last several years. Viva Media products are found in most mass-market retail locations. The New York based company focuses on delivering quality and is dedicated to publishing a wide array of interactive content of the highest standards on a variety of platforms.

The company's collection of over 150 games boasts more than 100 awards for excellence in publishing. Recent releases include S.T.A.L.K.E.R Call of Pripyat, Grand Ages Rome, the wildly popular Crazy Machines series, the Learn to Play Chess series based on the world's #1 chess software engine, the renowned car racing simulation games RACE, GTR Evolution, RACE ON and a variety of casual games including North American best sellers, Farm Frenzy, Treasure Masters, Inc. and the Treasures of Mystery Island.

Contact: Andrew Emond, andrew@viva-media.com

Visit our virtual press room at http://vpr.viva-media.com/shadow-harvest-phantom-ops

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