by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
In hindsight, it may not have been the wisest thing to meet with the Postal III guys on the fourth morning of the Leipzig Games Convention. The reputation of the six man strong Running With Scissors team is hardly that of choir boys. It was clear that the two that were present in Leipzig had partied too much the night before. If product manager Mike Jaret felt as hung-over as he looked, it is a small miracle that he could sit up straight in the first place. Then again, it could all have been ‘part of the show’. Upholding a bad-ass reputation can be wildly entertaining for everyone involved. We sure didn’t mind and took an instant liking to the man.
Postal III is still very much in development and won’t be released for at least another year. The game uses Valve’s Source engine which is working well for the small development team. When we asked Mike how they felt about the recent controversy around the Unreal engine he said “When you are a small developer, support from Epic Games is non-existent and it is hard to get anything done at all. Valve’s support has proven to be much better and we are happy we did not use Unreal like we did with Postal II”. While the Source engine is certainly powerful enough, Postal has never been about spectacular graphics or amazing new features. After seeing the game in action, it is safe to say that Postal III won’t bring anything groundbreaking to the table. What it -will- bring to the table is the same insane humor that made the previous two games so popular.
“We are just a bunch of guys who like to put crazy shit into games,” Mike commented while he was illustrating the fact by drenching a dog with petrol and putting the animal on fire. The game is played in third person these days and looking over the protagonist’s shoulder may take some getting used to for longtime fans. We soon learned that the new perspective is not without merits however.
Next up was finding a job. The only job available was as a cleaner in a local porn shop. Our character slung something of a cross between a vacuum cleaner and ghost busting apparatus and promptly started sucking up yucky semen-ridden tissues. These tissues can be fired at people though they don’t seem to do much damage, other than the damage to your stomach that is.
The Postal Dude has some new travel companions. The funniest of which is a Monkey that will be able to perform all sorts of mischief. He had only been implemented recently and was still a little buggy but already it was possible to use a laser pen to tell him where to go. Mike revealed that the laser pen actions will be made intuitive so that you can have the monkey perform all sorts of different tasks depending on the situation at hand.
Apart from the petrol and ‘semen buster’, only one other weapon was available during the demonstration and that was the ‘Harnessed Wild Badger’. Acting like a chainsaw, the Badger will start clawing like a rabid dog at anyone standing too close. “Eventually you will also be able to unleash the Badger from its harness to go on a wild rampage,” Mike commented, “We may even link it to the laser pen like we will with the monkey.”
Mike explained that The Postal Dude does not start out as a bad guy. He is just an average Joe that is trying to get by in the world. It is up to the player to decide to turn him to evil incarnate or into a goody-two-shoes. The game responds to how you play your missions, earning you a bad reputation for using violence or a good reputation for solving them without bloodshed. Depending on the path you take, three different endings are available, adding to the game’s replay value. When you are done with the single player game, you can take the game online and play it against your friends. Pretty cool, we thought, but the Postal team was not ready to reveal any details about the multiplayer mode.
There is no doubt that Postal III will sell well. Its reputation alone will be bringing in thousands of punters. But Running With Scissors isn’t taking any chances and has attracted the help of some interesting celebrities to cameo in Postal III. None other than Ron Jeremy will be lending his voice and likeness to the shopkeeper of the aforementioned porn shop. If that isn’t enough, Village People Cowboy Randy Jones (what’s in a name) will take the role of the leader of the infamous Gay Biker Gang. Other celebrities are expected to be announced between now and Postal III’s release in fall of next year. If you can stomach some of the rougher humor, we are certain you will have a laugh with this one.