Thu, Feb 28, 2008 | 10:20 GMT
“Monster-as-hero convention” sets Dark Sector against Prototype, says Digital Extremes
Dark Sector’s powered-up protagonist ethic has put it in competition with Vivendi’s superb-looking Prototype, Digital Extremes’ Dave Kudirka has told videogaming247.
“There are a few action titles coming out in this first quarter that we’ll be competing with, but Prototype is definitely the title that appears to have generated comparison to Dark Sector in the online community,” he said. “I think the attractive monster-as-hero convention is the strongest connection between the two titles. And names like Devil May Cry, Metal Gear, and Grand Theft Auto always cast a big shadow, especially when you’re bringing a new IP to the table.”
Dark Sector recently hit headlines at getting banned in Australia for its violence level, but a dynamic difficulty setting, HUD-free gameplay and the “best death screams ever” are enough to lift the title above the rest of the slasher crowd, Kudirka said.
“From the outset of planning Dark Sector our goal was to immerse the player into the game as much as possible and now that technology allows us to do extremely realistic cut scenes in-engine along with a myriad of other tricks, we think we have gotten as close as possible to that goal,” he said.
Dark Sector ships for 360 and PS3 at the “end of March”. Hit the link for all of Dave’s answers to our questions.
videogaming247: You say in your press literature that Dark Sector is “pushing the boundaries of both game design and technology”: can you quantify that for us?
Dave Kudirka: From the outset of planning Dark Sector our goal was to immerse the player into the game as much as possible and now that technology allows us to do extremely realistic cut scenes in-engine along with a myriad of other tricks, we think we have gotten as close as possible to that goal. One of our best decisions was to have no HUD overlay. We still provide critical information to the player but we never let it clutter the screen, and instead try to use audio cues, post-FX, and the character model itself to indicate, for instance, when Hayden is low on health, or ready to use an evolution power.
Dynamic difficulty is another design decision we’ve stuck with that isn’t widely used in games. Dark Sector automatically adjusts the difficulty setting depending on how well the player is doing. If you are snapping necks, chopping bodies, blasting fools and never dying, we ramp up the difficulty incrementally. Alternatively, if you’re repeatedly getting stomped by Maulers and Stingers, we tone down the difficulty and the player can advance under conditions more in tune with their skill level without having to restart the game or select an easier game mode.
What do you see as your competition? Sounds like you may be going head to head with Prototype a little…
There are a few action titles coming out in this first quarter that we’ll be competing with, but Prototype is definitely the title that appears to have generated comparison to Dark Sector in the online community. I think the attractive monster-as-hero convention is the strongest connection between the two titles. And names like Devil May Cry, Metal Gear, and Grand Theft Auto always cast a big shadow, especially when you’re bringing a new IP to the table.
Do you think the action genre’s becoming tired, in general? Are you excited or disappointed by what you’ve seen so far in this hardware cycle?
There is a fundamental pleasure to action titles that never seems to tire out. For some the appeal may be in the promise of a fantastic adventure or heroic journey, and for others it may be the gratification that comes from creating a spectacle out of violent destruction. I’m all for innovation and high-concept game design, but I wont shy away from games that let you shoot zombies, robots, mutants, and giant ants in conventional methods. As far as this hardware cycle goes, developers are finding new ways to make this tech sing, so I’ll be optimistic and say the best is yet to come.
You announced last August that you’d be releasing on January 22 this year. Obviously, we’re in February now, so when can we expect to see the game? And what’s the reason for the delay?
It’s not uncommon these days for titles to slide a bit with release dates, and I think that is largely due to the challenges that come with developing multi-platform software on hardware that is still very new. In addition to this we have to make our best guess (many months in advance) as to when we can expect to deliver a quality product for simultaneous worldwide release. Dark Sector ships at the end of March.
Finally, why should gamers be excited about Dark Sector? Why should they be buying the game?
I can think of many reasons, but those closest to my heart would be the following:
1. You can freeze enemies solid with the glaive and then shatter their skull with a soccer kick.
2. There is an achievement for cutting off two heads with one throw.
3. Sound design – best death screams ever.
4. Maulers – Fearless troopers that charge at you with a bulletproof riot shield and machete. Players will hate them. This is why I love them.
5. Dual wielding doesn’t get any better than this. While the glaive is in flight bisecting patrolling guards, you can spray infected civilians with a full-auto pistol that has been upgraded with bullets that explode with a deadly chemical gas upon impact.