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Monday, 02 June 2008 06:45

Fracture preview

Fracture brings terra-forming to the gaming arena [again], click on through to see if LucasArts make the earth move for us.

LucasArts recently travelled to town to preview a bunch of upcoming titles.  We have already spoken about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures , now it is the turn of Fracture.

From LucasArts and Day 1 Studios, Fracture is set around 150 years in the future amidst the ironically divided nation formally known as the United States, now a warring nation.

The East based Atlantic Alliance has maintained their links with Europe and has put faith into technology, specifically cybernetics, allowing citizens of the AA to have a fruitful future.jet.behind cover.jpg

Across the great flood (ahhh global warming) is the Western faction, known as the Republic of Pacifica.  Allied with Asia they have turned to genetic modification as their saviour.

Of course battles ensue between the factions; specifically players take on the role of Mason Briggs, an AA soldier striking deep into enemy territory (a dry San Francisco bay).  Armed with his cybernetic enhancements and a grim determination, Briggs will leave no battlefield the way he found it.

Shara Miller, Executive Producer on Fracture took iTWire through an early code look of the game.

The main ‘trick’ of Fracture is terrain deformation – first really attempted in a shooter back in the days of the Geo-Mod engine in Red Faction (THQ – 2001).  With this third person shooter however, rather than simply destroying terrain objects, the entire landscape can be reshaped.

Using the Entrencher cybernetic enhancement, players can raise terrain to provide cover, or enable Briggs to get to higher map locations.  There are also many other “weapons”, 17 to be exact, in the game to further modify each game level.

Briggs can use grenades to create spikes of ground, from which to launch further devastating attacks.

During the presentation, Miller was keen to point out that the code on display was yet to be optimised; this was a good thing as once the action heated up, the frame rate dropped significantly.jet.creeper.jpg

Fracture looks like it will indeed be frenetic, many enemies on screen (during the game a player will encounter at least 10 types of foe), along with a great deal of ground pulsing action will keep Briggs busy.  It certainly keeps the display active.

Visually, from the demo, Fracture is embedded in a design structure of modern style buildings fused with a broken and desolate landscape.  Think some portions of Mass Effect's planetary locations.

With terrain changing on a moment to moment basis, it was heartening to note enemy AI switching as needed to adapt to the surrounding landscape – these enemies seem more alive in this sense.  Rather than pre-programmed paths, each enemy trooper would take advantage of newly formed cover, or retreat as required.

Finally, once again taking advantage of the ground modification, and physics abilities of the Fracture engine, Miller noted that there would be a medium level of puzzle challenges within the game.  Some of these were on show during the preview, from the relatively easy process of raising a hill in front of a platform, to disabling enemy power turbines by flipping barrels into the spinning fans.

Overall this early impression of Fracture was encouraging, if Day 1 Studios can work on the frame rate during intense action, then this could be a IP to keep an eye on.jet brody.southwest.jpg

Release date for this Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title is yet to be announced, but targeting the Q3 of 2008. 

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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