No oft-delayed title has quite held the level of irony as Ubisoft Shanghai’s I Am Alive, first announced in 2008 by Darkworks. Despite vague rumors to the contrary, in the form of leaked footage and screenshots, many gamers and industry vets had determined the title was more “Killed in Action” than I Am Alive.

However, following on mid-spring speculation, we now know that I Am Alive will in fact see release – through digital marketplaces, PSN and Xbox Live (sorry PC players) this winter. Still afraid to get your hopes? Ubisoft has released a trailer to prove the game is in fact en route.

Back in March we first got wind of the possibility that I Am Alive was set to release as a digital download – a rumor that was subsequently backed-up when an ESRB rating for the title that suddenly appeared two days ago. However, at the time, the rumor was ultimately deemed false after Ubisoft was mum on speculation of an I Am Alive digital release.

Whether or not Ubisoft decided to decrease the scope of the title and shove it through the digital pipeline as soon as possible, just to be done with the oft-delayed development project, is unclear at this time. However, the footage in the trailer definitely seems to hint at some of the original ideas depicted in the announcement trailer: a combination of third person action gameplay – where resource scarcity and decomposing societal constructs take center stage.

Check out the summary of the I Am Alive story:

Developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, I Am Alive was engineered to create a convincing, post-disaster world in which players are faced with thought-provoking choices. I Am Alive follows an everyman’s journey to find his wife and daughter, who were lost during the “Event.” A year later, he finds Haventon, his hometown, in shambles. Buildings are destroyed, toxic ash fills the streets, and society has been torn, causing inhabitants to take all necessary actions to survive.

Then see the game in action with the official I Am Alive trailer below:


If you’re still trying to get a handle on what to expect from the actual game, Ubisoft has also provided a brief summary of the gameplay mechanics:

In I Am Alive, players will be challenged by both their environment and their enemies. Stamina and resource management are key when being exposed to deadly atmospheres and scaling enormous buildings in search of supplies. The unique combat system requires players to utilize intimidation: cowards are easily swayed with an empty gun, while other enemies will put players to the test.

If that isn’t enough, the ESRB offers an outsider’s perspective and gives a few more hints:

This is an action game in which players assume the role of a man who must find his family in a post-apocalyptic world. From a third-person perspective, players traverse through city ruins and use a machete to kill human enemies in melee-style combat. Battles are accompanied by realistic gunfire, slashing sounds, and cries of pain; characters emit brief splashes of blood when hit. Players have the ability to kill or knock unconscious wounded/vulnerable enemies via finishing moves (e.g., throat slashing, impaling, pistol-whipping); these scenes are highlighted by close-up camera angles and increased player control (e.g., on-screen prompts with button-press sequences).

The game certainly implements some interesting ideas (such as the ability to scare-off enemies with an empty gun), and has a cool premise that could afford some pretty epic action set-pieces. For the I Am Alive set-up to work, the game has to be big enough to really establish and immerse players in the world. No doubt we’ve seen plenty of downloadable titles that were incredible experiences but how many of them were large-scale action adventure titles?

As a result, development on I Am Alive looks to have strayed from a fresh, high-profile, experience with loads of new ideas and story potential to a less expansive “get this out the door” Uncharted clone. Given the less-than-stellar footage and images that leaked a month ago, as well as the sub-par results of similar download-only action adventure titles (such as last year’s Hydrophobia), it’s still too early to know if I Am Alive will be worth the wait – or should have been allowed to die on the cutting room floor.

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I Am Alive is scheduled to arrive this winter on XBLA and PSN.