Friday, August 17, 2007

Blacksite: Area 51 - There WERE WMDs!

Blacksite Area 51 is still currently in development at Midway Austin, time to give you an update on what's happening with this intriguing game.

As I posted previously: Blacksite: Area 51 is a first-person shooter that's predominantly set in and around the "secret" military research facility in Nevada. While only the small town of Rachel, was revealed previously, I now know that only to be one of five distinct areas that gamers will be doing battle in. Another location which I'm thrilled to detail is the Iraqi village of Ad Dawr (where Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003), this is apparently where the opening of the game will be set, a couple of years before the events that take place in subsequent levels.

Your mission, which takes place during the current real-world conflict, is to enter the village of Ad Dawr, locate an underground bunker where weapons of mass destruction are being researched (yes the WMDs were there - I saw them too dammit) and assassinate the guy running the operation. What is interesting to note is that the environment features more destructible elements than previously seen partly due to the addition of the Massive-D technology from Stranglehold - as the publisher of Stranglehold is also Midway there's obviously some sharing of code that will only serve to benefit the gamer in the long run.

AI has been heavily worked on too. In Iraq you have squadmates, each with quite different personalities. These will become evident through conversations, but also in the ways that they will react when orders didn't meet with their approval (sending them into an exposed area during a gunfight, for example) and the game's morale system kicked in. One team member may be quiet but another may be quick to voice displeasure and make sarcastic comments. In addition to affecting how your colleagues interact with you vocally, the morale system will have an impact on how effectively they follow your orders. If you keep your squad in cover and make sure you get involved in firefights at least as much as they do, they'll make very effective allies, but if you make a habit of endangering them while hanging back yourself they'll be less interested in risking their lives for you and might become preoccupied with self-preservation rather than killing the enemy. Basically I think this will teach people how to be as an effective small-unit commander as I am.

During Iraq you'll not only be equipped with a pistol, an assault rifle, and grenades, but some time with a powerful sniper rifle and a couple of machine gun turrets as well. The latter will prove very effective when should one want to make a mess of sandbag walls and other objects that enemies may use for cover, while the former is able to kill most enemies with a single, well-placed shot. Later in the game you'll be able to use weapons taken from fallen Alien enemies, including a gun that can fire through solid objects and a shotgun-style weapon with ricocheting projectiles.

Much like Half-Life 2, BlackSite: Area 51 will let you maintain control of your character during cinematics, which comes in very handy when conversations are interrupted abruptly. Midway has promiced that BlackSite: Area 51 will run at a steady 30 frames per second when it's finished.

The game should be arriving between October 26th and November 5th worldwide (US and EU).

Source: Gamespot

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