Shedding New Light: Dark Sector Preview
From space to eastern Europe, Dark Sector has come a long way. We chat with Digital Extremes about the game's present and possible future.
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Congenital analgia is a genetic disorder the prevents sufferers from experiencing pain. For Hayden Tenno, lead character in new PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game Dark Sector, this curse is something of a blessing.
Hayden is the star of Dark Sector, a contemporary third-person game developed by Canadian studio Digital Extremes. Central to the project is the idea of change.
Hayden is a straight-talking anti-hero who, through his genetic abnormality, is able to withstand the effects of the Technocyte virus, a biological weapon that is running out of control in the eastern European country or Lasria.
The Technocyte virus, Digital Extremes' Dave Kudirka explains, turns everyone unwittingly exposed to the disease into horrible, blood-thirsty creatures. Everyone, that is, except Hayden. Thanks to his analgia, Hayden is able to withstand the devastating effects of the virus - a good thing, even if it bears the side-effect of making him persona non grata among the infected.
Don't expect this to feel like an episode of House starring Spawn, though. "We certainly didn't focus on that in the game, but it's still there," Kudirka says. "We didn't drive the point home that Hayden has that disease, but that was in the original design document, and it's still what makes him a little bit different, a little bit adept to handle the infection."
Making Hayden stand out from the crowd was part of the reason why Digital Extremes took a new look at the game, and it's why Dark Sector is a contemporary game set in Europe rather than the futuristic one set in space it was originally planned to be.
"For us, the original idea [was that] all Hayden's powers come from a suit. And we figured that a guy wearing a suit in space with other space ships, robots, space stations - he doesn't stand out as much. It's not cool. So we thought it would be way better if these powers come from within Hayden himself - kind of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk style, the monster within type deal. We felt that that kind of character was a lot more compelling, and if we dropped him into a more familiar, more modern setting. That way he'd stand out a lot more."
Standing out is something Hayden won't have to be concerned about. Thank to his partial resistance to the effects of the Technocyte virus, he'll mutate as you play through the game, and along with the mutations come new powers that complement the traditional weapons and glaive Hayden carries.