From E3 – Monday May 30th, 2005
Our official E3 coverage wraps up today with a look at the Webzen E3 line-up. This Korean publisher follows in the footsteps of NCSoft to offer a great line-up of games for players to see at this year’s E3 event in Los Angeles. The company had a massive presence on the floor, with their booth in the South Hall being one of the best of the show, and advertisements everywhere. Yet, all that flash matters not if there is no substance to what we were shown. They provided us with an up close and personal look at the upcoming MMO FPS Huxley and the MMORPG SUN. Finally, we dug up some information on the highly anticipated MMO from the creator of Grand Theft Auto: All Points Bulletin.
They kicked things off with the presentation of Huxley, an MMOFPS due out in the summer of 2006 that pits “Sapiens” against “Alternatives” in a post-apocalyptic and highly cinematic conflict. The game blends FPS controls, with RPG elements, as players must earn money and the right to use vehicles, weapons and other things within the game world. It features state of the art graphics, using the Unreal 3 engine, and the team promises these graphics will be highly configurable so that players on machines as low as P4 1Ghz can also enjoy the game. Despite its early state, Huxley looked beautiful and is well worth following as the game approaches commercial release next summer.
The game features a mix of instanced and open content. The game places players in situations that are ripe for confrontation. As this is an FPS, PvP combat is a major part of the game. In the demo, we saw, a group of Alternatives had sought to buy weapons, while a group of Sapiens laid in wait to take them down. A highly cinematic gun battle ensued. This kind of movie-like combat promises to provide a very fun and exciting challenge for players.
This demo also showed one breed of NPC enemy. A hybrid ambushed the ambush and wreaked havoc over all involved. In many cases, the developers explained, the on-going war would have to be set aside as players would need to cooperate and destroy the alien-like hybrid and their minions.
The game’s RPG elements are also very interesting. Vehicles are fully supported. Players can drive various kinds of cars, trucks and battle vehicles. This is one area where the RPG elements take hold. Players must earn, through “quests” licenses to use these vehicles. You cannot – as in many FPS games – just jump in and know what you are doing. These elements add realism and give long-term players goals to strive for, rather than just a giant shoot ‘em up in a persistent world.
It is quite early, but for a first look, Huxley looked like it has the potential to be a very interesting game. We will keep poking around and keep you posted on its development over the next year.
SUN Episode I (or Soul of the Ultimate Nation) is billed as the “first smashing action RPG”. This refers to Webzen’s claim that this is the first game to incorporate console style game mechanics into an MMORPG. As I was shown the game, what this meant was readily apparent. Combat is fast, hectic and exaggerated. Throw in the score from famed composer Howard Shore and this game begins to look interesting.
With an anticipated launch in early 2006, SUN is a little further along than most games at the Webzen booth. The game offers a myriad of classes including warrior, Valkyrie, knight and three others. In the demo, we saw, there were no customization options. It was more akin to Diablo where you pick the hero and go.
The game promises to have a unique form of adventure. There is a “common” world for players to co-exist in, but the missions are a new beast. The team promises the ability for players to “strategically set the stage for battles” in that it allows them to choose “different types of maps, entry numbers, degrees of difficulty and types of monsters”. This they hope offers the “ultimate customized game play experience”.
To be honest, language was a barrier in this demonstration and I did not gather all the information I would have liked. Over the coming weeks we will bring you increased coverage and hopefully peel back the shroud and reveal more details about this game.
All Points Bulletin
Unfortunately, this game’s only display was a video trailer. I was told it was a bit early along for a personal presentation, which is a shame, as it is the title that excited me most in concept. From David Jones, the man behind Grand Theft Auto, this is being developed by the Scottish development house Real Time Worlds. Those familiar with GTA will salivate to hear that the game promises a persistent online world with total freedom to commit crime, stop crime, and wage a good old fashion turf war.
In APB, players choose either law enforcement or gangs. Law Enforcement must constantly be vigilant to prevent crime, capture or kill gang members, and generally keep the game city a nice and happy place. Gang members on the other hand will be hell-bent on mayhem. They must steal cars; commit crimes, paint graffiti and other no-good acts.
The turf war is represented through the capture and maintenance of key areas of the city. When these are held, it provides advantages to the side holding them, such as the best weapons and the display of the “owner’s status and symbols”. Players can fight for these areas at any time of the day or night. If you hold turf, be sure to set up your defenses so that the AI may defend it while you are gone.
The game has no “levels”. Instead, much of the advancement will be focused on the customization of your character. You must attain new weapons, cars, clothes, and other items to truly show your status. The game promises that every crew can “have a unique, custom look from hair and clothing down to the way they walk, talk and the music they play”.
“Grand Theft Auto Online” has been a dream of many wreakers of video game mayhem for years. It looks like that dream may not be far away in the form of All Points Bulletin from Webzen.
The Webzen booth featured far more than we could cover in an hour, but at the rate they are going, Webzen is a word to remember. With MU Online already on the market, and a full slate of varied and exciting games waiting in the wings, they appear primed to cross over and become a truly global company. We may just be looking at the next NCSoft.
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