Too Human: In-Depth with Silicon Knights
Twelve years in the making, Too Human will finally land on Xbox 360 later this year. We spoke with Silicon Knights president Dennis Dyack to bring you a detailed look at the project and offer our thoughts on its progress.
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It's refreshing for to see so much new content on its way to Xbox 360 instead of endless sequels, but when a game has been in development for twelve years on and off in one form or another, can it still be considered truly fresh? Too Human, developed by Ontario, Canada-based Silicon Knights, is a new trilogy for Xbox 360 that puts players in a futuristic world based on Norse mythology, and the creators are confident it's fresher than ever.
"The game itself and the concept goes back to 1994; we've been thinking about it for quite a long time," explains Silicon Knights' affable president Dennis Dyack. "It's been nothing but an advantage, because we've been able to think about the concept and the content for all these years. A good idea lasts forever, and we've always loved this one. We've had many ideas within the company but this has been around since we started - there's always been this love for it.
"The history is that we were working on a version for the PlayStation 1, but then we became a second party of Nintendo and stopped all PlayStation development, with the intention of taking it to the GameCube. Working on Eternal Darkness, and then by the time we finished Metal Gear, it was time for next generation. Silicon Knights and Nintendo went their own separate ways, and hooked up with Microsoft to bring it to the 360."
You take on the role of cybernetically enhanced god, Baldur, in an epic battle of gods, men, and machines. Charged with the defence of humanity against a hoard of machine armies trying to wipe out all of mankind, players will work their way through many varied and highly detailed environments, powered by a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3. Locations are huge in scale, intricate in detail, and full of impressive character models, while lighting and effects help build a solid atmosphere.
|"We're really going to take gamers on a journey from beginning to end, and explore Norse mythology on a very deep level," explains Dyack|
Something that's very different about Too Human is that the 'real world' is ferociously technological but cyberspace is very organic and natural looking. "Our cyberspace looks completely natural, as opposed to all of the hard technology that's available in the real world of Too Human," says Dennis. "For those who know Norse mythology, it's steeped heavily with the Yggdrasil and nature. By going around in cyberspace and exploring the wooded areas, exploring the caves, you'll be able to find technologies, download them and cybernetically enhance yourself. It's a repository of information, but it looks completely natural, so it's very different than anything that you would see in the real world of Too Human."
Too Human is, at its heart, a fast-paced action game, with a combination of melee weapons and gunfire. But depth is added to the formula with RPG elements integrated to give players more customisation and freedom of play style. "Quite frankly, some people who've seen the game briefly have said it looks like Devil May Cry or God of War; and while it does have similarities to those fantastic games, where we differ greatly is in the role-playing element and the online co-op. In some sense, Too Human resembles games like Diablo or World of Warcraft. You can cybernetically enhance yourself and change the way that the game plays... you can actually grow and augment yourself and cater for that style."
Naturally, online will play a huge role in Too Human, with co-op online multiplayer that allows up to four friends to work their way through the game. Offers Dyack: "Working with Microsoft, we really strongly believe that the online experience is paramount to good gameplay, and also it really can't be separated from the game itself. Even though you can play the singleplayer, everything you can do singleplayer, you can do multiplayer."
He added: "The enemies will be placed differently as you play the game through multiplayer; there's going to be many different things that will change as you play, to make sure that the [replay value] stays high."
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E3 2006 trailer
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