Pub: Bethesda Softworks
Dev: Splash Damage
www: Official Site
Splash Damage won’t ring many bells with console gamers. Initially stumbling upon success with a roster of highly acclaimed Quake 3 mods, they became highly respected for creating both Enemy Territory and handling Doom 3’s multiplayer component. Earlier this year, the FPS multi-player veterans signed a deal with Bethesda to develop a new title, Brink. Situated in a welcomingly colourful utopia in the distant future, Brink's gameplay focuses on co-operative missions based on a foundation of customisable classes and experience points.
The mission demonstrated involved a meta objective of escorting a robot across a war torn town to diffuse a bomb. However, upon choosing one of the archetypal classes and weapon load out, you’re able to choose from a variety of sub-missions to complete that will hinder the opposition's ability to halt your progress. Each of these objectives will earn you a predetermined amount of experience based on their difficulty and will dynamically affect your team’s progress on the ultimate objective. Of course, it is totally up to you whether you deviate from the original objective, but the option to devote yourself to smaller tasks within the context of the mission caters to the class based structure of the game.
A fully functional co-operative structure permits up to 7 other friends to drop in and take the place of an AI teammate at any point within a mission. Additionally, the ability for another 8 people to populate the opposition ensures that the potential for tense objective based gameplay is present.
Character customisation also appeared to be impressively extensive. An art-style reminiscent of Timesplitters blended with a broad array of options to tinker with guarantee that you’ll be able to create plenty of whacky looking avatars. Additionally, the persistent experience system is promised to be deep enough to encourage several playthroughs of the game's campaign.
An interesting feature that seems totally unrelated to the multi-player focussed components is SMART (Smart Movement Across Random Terrain). Similar to both Mirror’s Edge and Assassin’s Creed, when pressed, the SMART button leaves it up to the player to dictate the direction you move in but will take care of any traversal of obstacles for you. One example given involved a doorway blocked with laser beams. With SMART activated the player can either approach the door and look upward upon which SMART will then vault your character over the beams or, conversely, if you aim downwards SMART will initiate a slide underneath the beams.
The promise of truly dynamic missions merged with 8 players per side co-operative action is tantalising enough. However, the prospect of a fully integrated and persistent experience system complete with weapon and gadget upgrades suggests that Brink is an extremely ambitious product. A tentative release date of spring 2010 has now been changed to autumn 2010, but if Splash Damage’s back catalogue is anything to go by it will be well worth the wait.