Condemned: Bloodshot is already shaping up to be as sick as the original and for almost that reason alone we love it. But there's so much more to look forward to. The original was the pick of the Xbox 360 launch line-up for us and we've been waiting to see the sequel in action since it was announced a few months back.
At E3 we got to see the game running on a 360 and chatted to senior Sega producer Constantine Hantzopoulos. If every producer we spoke to was as forthcoming, entertaining and enthusiastic as Hantzopoulos, we'd love out jobs even more than we already do.
Read about how the game has been toned down in light of recent Manhunt events here.
Why isn't Condemned: Bloodshot just a case of more of the same?
Hantzopoulos: We basically ripped the game apart and put it back together again. Although combat in Condemned 1 was visceral and in your face it was just whack-walk-whack-walk. I'm just being honest. In the sequel there are now four layers to combat.
First layer is fight with your fists; I could never understand why you couldn't do this in the first one. Second layer is picking up pipes, bricks and other things, but there's the added twist of being able to throw them now. But enemies can also catch them and throw them back at you.
This is sounding good already...
Hantzopoulos: The third layer we call 'attack and defence chains'. You chain button presses together a bit like in God of War to create absolute brutal attack and defence chains. You can make the AI drop their weapon and then you can dislocate his arm and watch him try to put it back. The fourth layer is all about environmental attacks. Before when an AI fell to the ground you'd get four choices of how to finish him. Now you can pick him up and interact with stuff in the environment like a wood chipper, a TV, dumpster, plate glass window... It's up to you. Left trigger is left punch and Right trigger is right punch - we build on top of that.
How does Bloodshot follow on from the original?
Hantzopoulos: Well Ethan Thomas is back and he's not looking too good. Events take place a year after Condemned 1 and he's turned to alcohol and become a raving drunk. He's a pretty pissed off guy...
There were a lot of unanswered questions from Condemned and we're going to be answering them all here. You're going to find out why Ethan's doing the things he's doing and it's about his personal journey.
Tell us about the way you can now interact with the environment.
Hantzopoulos: We've now got what we're calling an emotional response system. Think of this as what BioWare's doing with Mass Effect - it's a mini cut-scene that you have control over and are able to respond in different ways. This is a first person game and it's in two dimensions. What we're trying to do is give you a connection with your character.
Do puzzles still play a part?
Hantzopoulos: In Condemned we had lame puzzles... You had to get a shovel to open a certain lock or a pickaxe to get through a gate... What it comes down to know is that crowbars open locked doors. Simple. You'll also find TV aerials scattered around the world that are like little mini-games, which are tired into achievement points. They'll also add extra layers to the story.
Forensics was a great part of the original. How have you expanded this for the sequel?