Condemned 2: Bloodshot - Interview
We find out more about the bloody sequel and its new take on forensics and combat.
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It seems strangely fitting that what little Sega has revealed about Condemned 2: Bloodshot leaves us somewhat frustrated but also confused about what it all means, because this is precisely the situation that lead character Ethan Thomas finds himself in.
Thomas, as those who remember the visceral, viscious original that launched alongside the Xbox 360 in 2005, is an FBI agent - or at least he was. After chasing down his serial killer prey in the first game and killing hundreds of people along the way, Thomas has decided to rid himself of his demons by drinking them to death.
The story in Condemned 2 picks up about a year after the first game, says Frank Rooke, the creative director on the game at developer Monolith. Drunk and depressed, Thomas is thrust back into a more virtuous role after being smashed over the head and waking up in a very different looking world. As for the rest of the story, well, Sega's not too keen on doling out specifics quite yet.
As a launch game for the neophytic Xbox 360, Condemned: Criminal Origins made its mark in part by parlaying the technical prowess of the console into a moody and foreboding story. Presentation played an important role in that, as it will in the sequel. There are new locations this time around, some of which will drop the claustrophic elements that helped give Condemned its particularly grim appearance. Rooke says that "the overall goal is to have environments that are inherently creepy".
A big part of achieving that thick atmosphere in Condemned 2 will come down to the AI characters, he says, adding that they will "help create that sense of fear". The contribution of these other characters to the overall aura of the game is in keeping with the overarching development theme of scaring the hell out of players while still making the experience as fun as possible.
One of the more promising but as it turns out underutilized portions of Condemned was the forensics system, which has now been fleshed out significantly, allowing you to act out your TV crime series fantasies. Armed with an array of forensics tools, you'll be tasked with reading crime scenes to find clues and uncover more about your next goal.
For instance, in one part of the game we were shown Thomas comes across what looks like a downed serviceman. Sending basic information such as sex and body description to the dispatch sends you down a path of identifying the corpse. Notice that badge sticking out there? Send the badge number through and you'll find out that the victim was a police officer. By using your blacklight, you can examine the traces of blood around the body, giving you clues as to whether the body fell there or whether the officer had been killed somewhere else and dragged there.
"The goal with the forensics is we wanted to make sure the player felt like they were unravelling the mystery and finding things, collecting evidence, putting the pieces together, and coming up with conclusions," according to Rooke, who says the new system will challenge players' powers of observation.
You'll be guided as you collect information to make sure you squeeze everything you can out of each scene. How much (or how little) you're helped will contribute to your score for each scene. Probably the most important feature of the forensic parts of the game for some people will be that you don't have to do them if you don't want to.
Rooke says that about 80 per cent of the forensic sections can be skipped, but by completing them you'll earn bonuses and uncover more about exactly what's going on.