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Fracture

"One of few" games pushing current-gen hardware

Admit it; Fracture is looking good. The art style might be a bit generic for a current-gen shooter (bald space marine, anyone?) but in motion the technology looks fantastic, and there's certainly not a lack of creativity in the game's other areas.

The Lucasarts floor-bender is set in 2161. There's a war on, and the world's relying on you and a whole bunch of creative weapons to get the job done.

Again, not the most original of premises, but it sounds fun; Using 'tectonic' and 'subsonic' grenades you can magnetically draw in enemies like a black hole, and deform the terrain like in some sort of Peter Molyneux god game.

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We've got high hope, and managed to squeeze in a few questions with Jeffrey Gullett, Assistant Producer at LucasArts. Here's the low-down...

Fracture has recently undergone somewhat of a makeover. Why did you decide to take it back to the drawing board artistically?

Gullett: It's true that our main character, Jet Brody, has gone through a pretty extensive makeover since our original debut. The main reason for this was that we wanted to make Jet really stand out by giving him a more distinctive look. One of our main story points is that the Atlantic Alliance (the side of the war on which you play) is cybernetically enhanced. We felt that we weren't really paying this off as much as we could with our original character design. We wanted to highlight those attributes visually and provide a compelling character archetype with which the consumer could (hopefully) connect.

Could you give us a brief synopsis of the game's plot?

Gullett: Imagine that everything we've been warned about global warming has come true. Natural disasters and massive flooding that devastate the central part of the United States have physically divided the nation. This leads to the Eastern and Western states following two distinctly different paths of cultural and technical evolution. The eastern states, allied with Europe, form the Atlantic Alliance and begin developing cybernetics to cope with the disasters. The western states become more heavily allied with the Pacific Rim nations and begin genetically modifying themselves to survive.

Eventually this leads to deep distrust on the part of the Atlantic Alliance. When the US government passes the "Defence of Humanity" act that declares a human being as less than 10% genetically modified, the western states secede and form the Republic of Pacifica. The Atlantic Alliance will not allow the nation to become broken apart. This boiling conflict is where the game starts. You are Jet Brody, sent into battle to quell the rebellion and reshape the fate of the world.

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The game's main theme, of course, is terrain deformation. In which ways does possessing this power make Fracture's combat unique?

Gullett: Terrain Deformation completely changes the nature of the battlefield, and the game itself. As a gameplay mechanic, it gives the player unprecedented control of their environment allowing for a totally new experience in a shooter game. You can deform the terrain to create cover for yourself anywhere, at any time. You can use the terrain to navigate to otherwise unreachable places, either by building up a massive hill to climb up to or over something, or digging your way under an obstacle. We also have many terrain based puzzles throughout the game that require the player to use Terrain deformation to solve them. And of course, all of these same tools can be used to create massive destruction in the world.

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