by Brandon Waldenberg
previewed on X360
The return of Tron
After more than twenty years since its inception, Tron is finally returning to the silver screen. Tron: Legacy will tell the story of Sam Flynn and his search for his missing father. As the movie has been over two decades in the making, Tron: Legacy has a lot of missing years to explain and Tron: Evolution will attempt to tackle these missing years as a tie-in for the movie. Tron: Evolution is being developed by Propaganda Games, a team that was formed in 2005 by former EA Canada employees. Propaganda has voiced their excitement at being able to work on the landmark Tron series, hoping to break out of the curse of movie tie-in video game.
Tron will be a third person action game that incorporates both RPG elements and racing to tell the story of Anon, a program created by Kevin Flynn to see what was happening in the Tron universe. Propaganda chose the name Anon, short for Anonymous, to allow players to personify the main character in their own way as they customized him throughout the game.
Propaganda has stated that they can’t reveal too much about the story of Evolution because it was created so close to the film. The movie will take place right after the game, so discussing the game will spoil parts of the movie for future viewers. What we do know is that Anon will be traveling through the Grid, exploring cities using both parkour and light cycles to reach his objective. He must stand against an invincible dictator and a powerful army by joining the various factions that populate the Tron universe.
As an advanced system monitor you will be equipped with the trusty light disc and light cycle of Tron fame. Anon will use the light disc in High Mobility Combat, a term that Propaganda has been using to describe the main gameplay. High Mobility Combat uses a combination of parkour and capoeira to allow the player to fully move through the environment while fighting at high speeds. While fusing these two highly dynamic and mobile systems players will be able to create acrobatic and bad-ass combos. Anon will also be able to switch between defensive and offensive modes on the fly, giving players even more variety in combat.
In addition to this, Propaganda has been talking about their persistent character progression. Persistent character progression allows players to transfer their multiplayer characters into the offline game seamlessly and vice versa. There will be also be online events that players will take part in that occur in the single player campaign.
Legacy will feature the same Tron motif that has become adored by fans the world over. The massive environments of the Grid have the familiar blue lines and futuristic touches that were part of the original movie. However, Propaganda has given the Tron universe a much more dystopian, oppressive look, thanks to the police state that now holds sway over the Grid. The graphics reflect this darker Tron universe very accurately, throwing Anon into a totalitarian society policed by a faceless army.
The light cycles have also evolved with the world. They now drive more realistically, departing from the ninety degree turns of the past. The light cycle gameplay we have seen shows fast paced races through environments that are falling apart. At the same time, the player was being chased by two other light cycle riders that were trying to corner him with their indestructible blue paths.
Propaganda is trying hard to give players the full Tron experience and one more thing they are working towards is including songs from the movie. The soundtrack for Tron: Legacy was done by the dynamic duo of Daft Punk, who turned out to be Tron fans themselves. Hopefully the game will be able to have some songs by the legendary electronica heroes.
Frantic flashy action
Tron: Evolution looks to be more than another lame movie tie-in. Evolution wants to tell its own story while adding flavor for the upcoming movie and to do it in style. While Propaganda doesn’t have too many games under its belt, it is putting a lot of work into Evolution. Anon’s high mobility fighting style looks incredibly fluid and fun to play. The light disc combat is frantic and graceful at the same time, filling the screen with acrobatic animations and bursts of neon colors. The light cycles also show promise, though hopefully every race isn’t a canned adventure with no exploration by the player. Persistent character progression is a feature that should be added to every game, so I’m happy they have included it here. There hasn’t been much talk of online multiplayer, but the idea of online multiplayer events seamlessly blended with single player is a very interesting concept. Overall, if Propaganda can back up their promises Tron: Evolution can take the Tron dynasty into the 21st century.