Harmonix, grand maestros of the genre which is responsible for all of the plastic ukuleles strewn about my home, recently put up a number of job listings. No big deal, right? Well. Joystiq reported weeks ago the rather out-of-place “Narrative Designer” position, but recent additions to the list sketch out a clearer- and possibly more epic- portrait.
Both the Senior Level Designer and Senior Content Designer listings bring up motion-based gameplay, with the former mentioning “combat encounters, environmental interactions, AI behaviors and other scripted elements.” Also mentioned are “cutscenes and other narrative elements.” The Senior Content Designer listing calls for help with “compelling, gameplay-rich levels and environments” as well as offering the opportunity to “Work with artists to lay out and build gameplay environments that encourage and reward player exploration, and add visual and narrative impact to gameplay.” Also of interest: “usability, progression and drama within levels,” and mention of integrating gameplay with cutscenes. The work in particular is described as a “groundbreaking music game.”
There is an Animation Intern position open which lists work assisting a Motion Capture director and helping with “Facial and Lip Sync animation.” Finally, suggesting something potentially large-scale, the Senior Environment Artist position mentions “awe-inspiring, immersive environments with personality and reactivity.” Also, it deserves to be noted that awareness of film is mentioned in multiple times in the listings, including the Senior Character Animator position, which goes so far as to state that they require applicants with either “1 AAA game shipped or equivalent feature film.”
Obviously no specifics have come to light just yet, but these openings indicate that Harmonix is gearing up for something quite big. As they’re still in the hiring stage, it’s doubtful we’ll get any kind of reveal at E3- but we’ll definitely be keeping our eyes and ears open.
UPDATE: Apparently, Harmonix filed this patent years back but claimed some time ago that the plan had been scrapped. We may be seeing Harmonix gearing up to give that idea another go.