Google Stadia Tech 'One Big LAN Party,' May Fulfill Ambition of Famous Flop 'Trespasser'

Google Stadia could fulfill the dream of The Lost World: Jurassic Park video game tie-in, Trespasser — a strange goal that highlights the unique ways the game streaming platform might be able to accomplish new modes of play and presentation currently impossible on traditional consoles.

Google Stadia's hardware exists on remote servers, conducting its graphical processing in the cloud and streaming the results to Stadia compatible screens. Some of the benefits to this new way of delivering video games are obvious, like the increased processing power available server-side, which could surpass the hardware prowess of a home console. But it's the Stadia team's hope that unique gameplay benefits will also reveal themselves as developers begin creating games exclusively for the platform.

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Google Stadia can stream games to everything from TVs to Pixel phones. Google

But Google isn't just waiting for third-party game creators to drive innovation on the platform. Stadia Games & Entertainment head Jade Raymond described to GamesIndustry.biz Google's plans for both third-party exclusives and efforts to build out first-party developers for Stadia, beginning with a newly announced studio Google is opening in Montreal.

"It's very important for first-party games, in my opinion, to be games that wouldn't be possible on any other platform," Raymond said. "There are a lot of things that being cloud native enables that you're just not going to be able to see on other platforms, and I think that's the job of first-party, to really show that off and let people imagine what those things are."

Raymond outlined several ways Google Stadia can potentially offer new ways to game not on consoles. One of the most surprising statements is her evocation of one of the most notorious disasters in PC gaming history, The Lost World: Jurassic Park tie-in game, Trespasser. Released in 1998, Trespasser set an ambitious goal, using real-world physics throughout the game, enabling players to solve puzzles and interact with the environment in ways not previously possible in video games. The execution didn't quite match up to the ambition, however, resulting in frustrating gameplay, further hindered by a rushed game development cycle. But Raymond says Stadia can power games that will succeed where Trespasser failed.

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"Trespasser" was an ambitious and hardware-intensive game when it came out in 1998. Electronic Arts

"A fully physics-simulated game is one of the Holy Grails of game creation since Trespasser was being imagined 20-something years ago, and now we finally have a platform where we'll be able to deliver some of those experiences," Raymond said.

But fulfilling the promise of Trespasser is just one of the ways that Stadia might empower some very old-school gaming ambitions, including how Google's Stadia architecture handles massively multiplayer games as if they were on a local network, essentially returning gaming to the days of wired LAN parties.

"In terms of multiplayer, everyone is essentially playing in one big LAN party as far as the tech is concerned," Raymond told GamesIndustry.biz. "There is no difference or constraints from an architecture perspective of how far the users are, or worrying about replication and all the other things that typically limit the number of people you can have in a game."

Google Stadia plans to integrate with other Google software as well, potentially applying Pixel and Google Home AI to in-game conversations and creating more lifelike, conversation-capable NPCs. YouTube integration is another potential avenue for unique design opportunities, with Raymond offering the example of a documentary with integrated gameplay portions, where viewers can press a button to hop in and become players.

For now, the Google Stadia team's ambitions for the platform are long-term aspirations, with Raymond cautioning that it may be several years before exclusive games can "fully leverage" the cloud-based architecture and go beyond enhanced graphics to take advantage of the platform's qualities.

"That's one of the things that's exciting to me," Raymond said. "It's this new space to figure out all of a sudden. What's going to be fun? Where's the value really going to lie?"

Google Stadia launches in the United States on November 19.

Google Stadia Tech 'One Big LAN Party,' May Fulfill Ambition of Famous Flop 'Trespasser' | Newsgeek