Recently, I ran into SEGA’s Julian Mehlfeld on the way to Toronto for our Canadian Press Event and Reader Meetup. He promised to show off something new from upcoming Platinum Games shooter Vanquish for the first time at this event: Area 4-1 “Silence.”
Here’s what we talked about during the demo, and some extended gameplay video to hammer home the points he makes about the game’s detail and frenetic gameplay.
Jeff Rubenstein, PlayStation.Blog: What are we seeing here?
Julian Mehlfeld, SEGA of America: This section of the game takes place in a forested area. In the last section you’re in a transport escaping from what I will not describe – you can see it from yourself when you get the game when it comes out. You’ve crash landed in a park. A lot of areas of the game are very industrial – if you’ve played through the demo, you’ve got a good sense of that. In this section there’s more trees and grass, and kind of a change of pace both in color and environment.
You’ll have different cover points, different environmental obstacles. So you’re working your way deeper and deeper into a facility, and towards a larger dam area.
PSB: Something that immediately pops out when seeing this game is attention to detail, especially in the character’s armored suit.
SEGA: The detail in the suit is incredible. Whenever I demo this game, I have people take a look at the character, take a look at the suit, and take a look at the weapons. If you’re not familiar with Vanquish, the suit is developed by Darpa, and your character, Sam Gideon, has created it. It has a couple of key features: a dash that gets you around the environment very quickly, and one where you can slow down time using the Augmented Reaction System.
These two abilities open up the suit. The dash in particular, you’ll see a larger jet and vents on the legs too. As you move through the environment the suit opens up, the jet comes out. If you use up your “juice,” the suit opens to let out the exhaust. You’re a bit vulnerable at that point so there’s a nice color change to make you aware of that. You can see an indicator on your back when it’s ready to go again and you’ll see the suit come back together – it’s a very nice, very clean effect. When the action is so intense, it’s a very key point of information for you as well.
Also the weapons, they work off a kind of “keyring” system called the Blade System. Basically, any time a weapon is picked up, you can slot it into your keyring. You can have 3 weapons at any given time. As you switch weapons within the ring, it basically forms from one core, and the weapon builds out to form the weapon you’ll be using – machine gun, heavy machine gun, sniper rifle, shotgun – you can just see bit by bit as it comes together. It’s a quick animation that looks really, really good. [play the video above to see it in action]
SEGA: What we’re playing through right now, there are two very big baddies who do all kinds of crazy stuff. In Vanquish, in both environment and enemy, you’re going to find yourself in a lot of unique situations different than you’ll find in any other shooter. Basically, it is very fast, very intense, and very action oriented. Even the mid-level guys you’ll come across, they do not stand back, they do not wait for you to come to them – they come to you. So you’ve constantly got to be on your feet, constantly be ready to take on whatever the game is going to throw at you.
PSB: Speaking of Bayonetta – that was a great game, but the PS3 version of the game had some technical issues. Tell me that Vanquish be different.
SEGA: Vanquish was developed on PlayStation 3 first and foremost, and then ported over to other systems. The experience you’ll get on PlayStation is incredible. It runs really clean, it’s very smooth. I know there were concerns after Bayonetta, which is totally understandable. I wrote on the Blog for you guys, and there were a lot of questions about this. My feeling is: play the demo, it runs just as clean as it does in the demo. It’s not like there’s a fakeout.
PSB: Why is there no multiplayer?
SEGA: That comes up a lot for Vanquish, and my feeling is that this is a mikami game with Platinum games. Mikami made Resident Evil and really intense single player games. Platinum Games is known for making really amazing experiences. Merge the two and you get a really good title in Vanquish. If you’ve seen the game, seen the videos or played the demos, you know this. Both the boost mechanic and the way it’s laid out, it’s very fast it’s very intense it’s very action oriented. You take those same mechanics, the Augmented Reaction System, the boost, and tie that into multiplayer, you have a slowdown mechanic and a very fast boost mechanic. It’s hard to put into a multiplayer format, I would say. It’s not impossible, but you’d have to pull back in a lot of ways on how those mechanics work. In the single-player game, those features are integral to the experience, and if you dilute those, you change the game. The single player game as they’ve come up with is amazing.
The game doesn’t feature alternate costumes. Sam’s suit is an integral part of the game. There are secrets in the game, little things that you’ll find – I’m not going to spoil it for you, you can experience it for yourself. But there are things that you’re go through and discover along the way.
PSB: @Disturbed932 wants to know: What is Platinum doing for Vanquish that will extend the replay ability? I remember the demo having timed missions.
SEGA: As you go through the game, based on time, based on how many enemies you kill, based on how you kill them, your score is going to go up. We’ve got a leaderboard system, you’re going to want to play through again and again for better scores if that’s what you’re into. If you’re not into leaderboards, you just want a more challenging experience, you can get that out of the campaign; once you beat the game the difficulty will become harder and harder. In addition to that, there’s challenge modes which unlock throughout the story, which are based on time. It’s your raw skill – you have to know that stretch of the environment, know the enemies, know the waves, and it’s based on how well you can do it. They’re fun, they’re intense, there are some that I’m still having trouble getting through. It’s kind of a very fast, strategically how-am-I-going-to-get-through-this mode.
PSB: @r2wadhwani asks: When is Vanquish coming?
Vanquish is launching on October 19th, and post launch we’ll have another demo, which will show that challenge mode. So you can actually get a chance to see how intense things will get and what kinds of things it’ll throw at you. It’s a really good representation of some of the more intense areas of the game.
Any more questions for SEGA about Vanquish? Julian promises me he’ll be around to answer them today.