French developer Arkane Studios says the game has been put on hold due to â??unexpected financial challengesâ?

Production suspended for ambitious FPS The Crossing

French developer Arkane Studios has announced that its upcoming FPS The Crossing has been put on hold.

According to Arkane CEO Raphael Colantonio, production of the game has suspended due to funding issues.

In fact, Colantonio told Joystiq that the developer ran into “unexpected financial challenges” a number of months ago, and now states that the group has now “shifted our efforts to other very good projects.”

The Crossing was an ambitious collaborative effort between Arkane and Washington-based developer Valve. The game was based on Valve’s Source engine while its visual concept and setting was designed by prized art director Viktor Antonov.

Prior to his work on The Crossing, Bulgaria-born Antonov worked on designing Half Life 2’s visual landscape and helped create the game’s iconic City 17. In 2006 he founded his design studio – the Building – in Paris. Just months later, The Crossing was announced, with Antonov working on crafting a neo-gothic Paris setting.

Yet perhaps the most intriguing aspect of The Crossing was how it aimed to merge together both multiplayer and singleplayer games. Early reports suggested that the majority of players would enter a map as antagonists while one was selected as the hero.

Such a concept is not new; it can be found in a multiplayer mode on Valve’s Left 4 Dead, but also featured as part of a counter-co-op mode in Rare’s Perfect Dark. Yet The Crossing was the first game attempting to base an entire game on this premise.

Details of The Crossing have been scarce ever since the its announcement. No publisher had been confirmed for the game, though in November 2008 Electronic Arts’ aim to slash six percent of its workforce had – according to Colantonio – led to an “unfortunate consequence on our collaboration”.

Arkane is now focusing on an unspecified number of other projects. Two of those projects are believed to be underway at Arkane’s remote studio in Austin, Texas. One of those is suspected to be an FPS title, the other an iPhone game headed up by former Deus Ex lead designer Harvey Smith.

According to a CV from level designer Jeff Touchstone, The Crossing had been in development in Arkane Austin in some form.

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