When the PlayStation 3 was still finding its place in the video games industry, quality exclusives were far and few between. You had Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm and Heavenly Sword as the main blockbuster titles, but it was another one that, for me, stole the show. That game was a multiplayer-only title that went by the name of Warhawk.
Developed by Incognito Entertainment, a studio which was run by Scott Campbell and had creative input from David Jaffe, Warhawk was originally supposed to be a single-player orientated game. However, it was changed to multiplayer-only and, in its day, stood above all over multiplayer offerings around. It was a third-person shooter at heart, but it had vehicular combat in the form of jeeps, tanks and of course, the Warhawks.
It probably doesn't sound too much different from many other titles based on that short description, but what set Warhawk apart was how well balanced the entire experience was. No matter what your situation - whether you were in a tank, on foot, in a Warhawk, or in a turret, you had strengths and weaknesses. You were just as powerful or vulnerable as anyone else on the map - it was your skill that saw you through the day. If you're on foot and someone's coming at you with a tank? Get in close with a flamethrower. If you're in a tank and you're facing a Warhawk? Try to line up a shot for an instant kill. You were almost never safe in the game, and that's what made it so rewarding. When you did well, you knew you'd damn well earned it.
What was also extremely special about the game, was how well the Warhawks themselves handled. Many games attempt to simulate flying, but few have managed to nail it as well as Warhawk did. Also, the Sixaxis controller actually worked, and worked well, unlike most other titles that have attempted to implement the technology.
Ironically, in my opinion, Warhawk was best at launch. There were almost no bugs, or glitches that needed to be fixed. Rather funny when you think about how terrible multiplayer game launches are these days. Instead, Incognito took the time to introduce new features to the game whenever they did updates. For me, this actually made the game worse. When they started adding expansions and new items, I stopped playing - the core spirit of the game had been lost and it started to become unbalanced.
Despite Incognito no longer existing, many members of the company started a new development studio called Lightbox Interactive. Initially they maintained Warhawk, but were rumoured to have started work on a new project for Sony, a project by the name of Starhawk. Obviously there's never been anything concrete about the game, but Sony has never flat-out denied its existence, instead choosing to toy with fans.
Rumours are though, that the game would be set in space, and if they can implement the same kind of gameplay mechanics from the Warhawk, into space combat, it would be an absolutely insane game. Warhawk lost its magic over time, but with Starhawk, LightBox has the opportunity to really make a special game. If they can take all of Warhawk's best qualities and turn it into a space combat multiplayer-only experience, I would be instantly sold.
Here's hoping that Starhawk will become more than just a myth at this year's E3. Sony has kept us in the dark for more than long enough.