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Terry Greer

Ghosts of Games that never were



Unreal PSX

River Raid


Blitz Pitches

Possession This intriguing and original game was one of the reasons I originally joined Blitz. The game's basic premise was that after being experimented on you, the player, develop the power to control (and create) a range of different zombie types and become the 'Enslaver'. Using these powers you would rampage through the city, building your zombie army, to obtain revenge. Quite simply in this game you were to be the bad guy, albeit fighting for revenge against the corporation that made you what you were. Apart from the Enslaver the zombie types you could create and control were:  Shambler - The typical and iconic shambling zombies - simply the dead reanimated.  Runner - A zombie 'upgrade' that creates 'Modern' running zombies (e.g. those in 24 hours later).  Bloater - A mutated and bloated zombie that can explode spreading infection (and converting) all those nearby.  Shredder - A fast and agile creature that can climb and leap to attack.  Monster - A huge mass of fused dead flesh (made from multiple zombies) capable of breaking down barricades and destroying barriers. Some of the zombie types may seem awfully similar to those in Left 4 Dead, but this was some years earlier, and at the time really original. Besides when this sort of coincidence happens it's very likely that the the two IPs and creature types were based on similar archetypes or influences. As the game wasn't in full production my original role was split 50:50 between working on the initial design for Possession and developing new Blitz IP in the Pitch team. Possession's lead designer was Nick Dixon and when I started he had already largely nailed the basic premise, character types and overall plot. Possession already had a unique 3rd person RTS control scheme that had already been designed and patented (one which we tried using with modifications in several other pitches - such as Dune). With Blitz gone - it's a vanishingly small chance that this will ever see the light of day now, so here's what little I have from what could have been a really interesting project.


Here's a few bits of artwork and renders from the early development.

Previews The images here are links to a few bits of publicity about the game.  Developer Diaries (right) A couple of examples of developer diaries on the game.
 Xbox 360 Magazine article (below) Possession had a lot of press interest - this is a typical example. The press loved it. Sadly it was very symptomatic of the the time for publishers to cry out for something original, only to shy away from funding something that really was. Consequently it proved impossible to get publishers to actually sign it.


This comic was put together by Nick and a couple of the artists on the pitch team (Lee Garbett and Ben Blethyn) to get the general concept across. I had nothing to do with it at all - but I love the artwork.(Lee Garbett and Ben Blethyn.


The image links to a page that shows it in detail.

Game Design Bible

This is the original design for Possession - although complete it should be looked at as really more like a statement of intent rather than a blueprint. While we intended everything in there (and more) it's almost certain that development would have found some features impractical and maybe introduced new features that aren't present in the docs as its rare for a design like this to every be recreated verbatim.


My role was to work on fleshing out the game mechanics in general and more specifically the damage system, stim system AI and level progression and UI. While I wrote most of the design bible there were several other designers that had substantial input:  Nick Dixon was of course in overall control and handled the plot and game overview, Kory Vandenberg and Ed Linley worked on the initial level breakdowns, while Anya Linley started helping out on the AI and Character behavior system.


(Note these are all old word docs - and may lose formatting when imported without the right fonts)


 Cover  Frontispiece  Poss_GDD2_Ch01_ExecutiveSummary.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch02_Gameplay.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch03_GameplayMechanics.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch04_GameWorldComponents.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch05_AI.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch06_Controls.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch07_HUD.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch08_UserInterfaces.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch09_Camera.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch10_Multiplayer.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch11_SFX.doc  Poss_GDD2_Ch12_Narrative Design.doc

Proof of Concept' gameplay

Here's a link to an early demo of the gameplay on youtube which was used to raise interest. Please note that this wasn't even any where close to being an Alpha - it was just a very early test of the control scheme and really simply just proof of concept.


I never kept any of the other videos we created (such as testing the crowd AI) - so this is all there is sadly more or less all there is left now.


Although possession gathered some very favorable advance publicity and interest from both the press and publishers, the basic premise that you were effectively the bad guy made it difficult for anyone to commit and actually sign it up.


Possession was never actually canceled - just shelved indefinitely.


Every once in a while we'd be asked about it, and we'd revise the pitch docs themselves and do a bit more artwork, but interest always waned eventually.



Possession revised - Hox

Blitz Studios was always experimenting with new areas of work, and in 2010 they set up a film division under Steve Bruce and Brian Hassan t(who had a lot of previous experience in the film industry). The intent was to see if any of the original IP we had worked on would be of interest  in other media  such as Films/TV, comics, and use that as a way of getting interest in making them into games again.


Brian went through our old Pitch folders and identified several old IPs that he thought might be of interest. One of these was Possession.

As it was initially a film/TV project (and gathered interest from SciFi Channel) Brian handled the plot and human characters, while I put together and wrote the IP's entire bible, backstory and rationale.


I based  the entire premise on twisting real science (I have a background in zoology). The Hox Gene complexes really exist, the Cambrian explosion, the fact that junk DNA has secrets which are only now being teased out and which contain the reminiscent of viral DNA from the remote past. Even the scientist behind it all was loosely based on Craig Venter - who is in my book a truly awesome visionary, if a bit scary).

I also worked on revising the creature types and life histories of the infection. To this end I again turned to medical science, and looked at diseases such as teratocarcinoma, cataracts, Skin and Keratin outgrowths and the look of those with smallpox, along with strange archaic body plans such as lampreys. These all gave me a palette for art-directing the project (There's a bit on this in the revised IP bible). However, ultimately it all came down to the awesome artists that actually worked in the pitch department to actually bring the revised creatures to life. In particular: Bob Cheshire, Martin Johnson and Ben Ho to bring em to life.


I love this sort of research and world-building and it was great fun to do.


Possession/Hox bible

The link here takes you to a page that shows effectively what would have been the start of the IP 'bible'.

Note that this document was never intended for publication, and was only ever used to garner interest. This means that in addition to the awesome custom artwork I also made use of a lot of images simply sourced off the web to add background colour and interest to the document.

Had this project gone any further these images would have been replaced, but if anyone objects please let me know.

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