by Mariana Morales
previewed on PS3
It’s Destruction Time
If you played Black back in 2006 on Playstation 2 and XBox, you may remember how the game was praised for the destruction that you could wreak on the environment and the cinematic experience that the game offered. Now, the same team is back again for another first-person shooter called Bodycount. Developed by Codemasters’ Guildford Studio, Bodycount is expected to be even more challenging and destructive than their previous title was.
After Black was released, the Creative Director Stuart Black worked for three months on Black 2 before parting ways with EA in disagreement. Then, after playing Black again last year, he came to a realization that there still isn’t a modern version of the game available. And here’s where Bodycount comes in.
In Bodycount, you take control of a character named Jackson Delgado, also known as John Doe. He’s a retired veteran of a mysterious organization known as The Network, which sends trained combatants to resolve conflicts around the world. The organisation decides to reinstate him to the team and he is put under the command of operative Melanie, who is codenamed Jane Doe. The Network pretty much grabs John, drugs him up, and he wakes up whilst falling headfirst thousands of feet above a massive battle in Africa. Once on the ground, he works with Jane to take down the opposition known as “targets”.
Let’s go back on the destruction part of the game, as that was the aspect that Black himself is most focussed on. He says that in Bodycount, you will be constantly shooting. There will be bullets flying everywhere and you will see a lot of debris thrown across the screen at all times.
Black wanted to keep that massive obliteration around from Black, so that the player and AI won’t be able to hide in cover for long periods of time. Take a crate for example: a nice, innocent-looking box for you to hide behind, right? Keep shooting at it and you will actually see it start collapsing, and just getting more and more destroyed until you see what’s inside it. And if it happens to contain an ammo box, it will be like the fourth of July with fireworks everywhere. Furthermore, if you find yourself trapped in a room because there are too many enemies behind the only door, you can blast your way out by making an alternative exit with your bullets.
Black mentions that what he loves about console development is that everyone is working on the same hardware so it’s all about what the particular developers want to spend their main focus on. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, they have large landscapes and vehicles, while Bodycount's main focus is on destruction. Blowing a hole through a wall must be very fun, or like Black said: “fun with a gun”.
Learn your enemy’s Poker-Face
Lady Gaga was actually another inspiration for this game. When Black saw her in concert last year, her “retro-future chic” style was a big influence for him. With that in mind, the game will have a contemporary style in some ways. Black says that while some games try to fit a two-hour movie into a 10 hour game, Bodycount is going to try to use a style that will handle their long narratives: ten episodes of 40-60 minutes each. It will be rather like a TV show and allows you to understand everything better, and get to know the characters more deeply. Bodycount will be like the first season, and whatever they decide to name their next game will be the second one.
The enemies are of all sorts and it is your job to figure out how to exploit each one. Fpr example, if there’s a bunch of troops and one medic, it’s probably best to first take out the medic. Once you take out a target, you will be able to see glowing orbs of intel in the landscape. They are like a reward after taking down the target. These intel points are basically used for the upgrade system in the game and the safe houses littered throughout the maps will be the places to go for these upgrades.
Blast them all!
People were disappointed that there was no multiplayer in Black. Bodycount will rectify the situation and offer competitive modes and a co-op campaign. This should do wonders to the replayability and longevity of the title if only the basic gameplay fulfills our expectations.
The game is scheduled to release in early 2011 on the Playstation 3 and X-Box 360. I, for one, am excited about the prospect of blasting through things and destroying everything around me. Oh, and shooting bad guys, but - come on - I’ll be taking down walls!