FiringSquad: What will the enemies be like in BlackSite?
Harvey Smith: I love providing each enemy with its own suite of game mechanics, but I also prefer to give each enemy mult-stage effects. The Reborn are the primary enemy in the game...a soldier of one program, created by the US military outside ethical norms. We also have a "Xeno Ecology" providing us with a set of unique creatures. In the Xbox Live gameplay teaser we just polished up for release, the Reborn Scout takes cover (until the cover is beaten up too much), summons additional types of Reborn, and the torso separates when the Scout finally goes down, crawling toward the player in an attempt to suicide bomb. So ideally each enemy will feature some interesting set of behaviors, and those behaviors will change the tactical situation dynamically. Very similar to the enemy design philosophy we used for Deus Ex.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the multiplayer support in the game?
Harvey Smith: The main thing I find interesting is two-player co-op through the missions. But Tom Bonner is our multiplayer lead and we're constantly working on a couple of traditional competitive modes as well as two modes that are unique to Blacksite, including Abduction, which involves game mechanics of changing team sizes.
FiringSquad: What other unique features will the game have?
Harvey Smith: To sum up, Blacksite is a fast-paced first-person-shooter with squad command, vehicles, and lots of destructible objects. It's got a subversive storyline, it's set in unusually grounded/realistic locations, and I love our squad morale AI system. A lot of our effort has gone into atmospherics...we're very much committed to immersive environments.
FiringSquad: How has the Unreal Engine 3 been modified for the game?
Harvey Smith: Midway has done a lot of work, scattered across various studios. We're looking to ship with more aggressive streaming, the Stranglehold breakables system and a few other features. Unreal is amazing, though, so the bulk of it didn't need to change.
FiringSquad: Are there plans for a playable demo of the game and if so what will it contain?
Harvey Smith: The current demo is more a "gameplay teaser" because it's very short. It's essentially our vertical slice, polished up some. Later, we hope to release a full demo shortly before we ship. Even since we wrapped up the vertical slice, we've gotten a bunch of features polished up: Blind-firing by the squad (in low morale), more map sections that apply "multiple path" thinking, different environments and times-of-day, more breakables technology borrowed from the Stranglehold code base, two-player co-op, etc. The later demo will also include a cinematic story scene. But the first demo feels really polished and indicates the frenetic, tactical pace of the game.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you want to say about Blacksite?
Harvey Smith: It's really exciting to be working on a pure shooter. I love it. But already I can feel my extreme passion for exploration-based games pulling at the edges. I think the next game will involve a lot more exploratory space.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
Whether you're waiting impatiently for your download to finish or don't have the time to check it out yourself, go ahead and read some impressions of the demo from resident FSers Synch and Vandy in today's article!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review
The self-appointed "most anticipated game in history" launched worldwide this past Tuesday. Why, it's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course (of course), what else? Unsurprisingly, the military FPS debate between this and Battlefield 3 rages on, but now that both have been released, surely we can take a look and objectively evaluate them both? Luke's taken the Xbox version of MW3 for a spin this week, so to find out what he thinks of it in today's review!