We then moved over to the XIII demo (that’s “thirteen” and not “ex-ai-ai-ai”) to see the latest on the Unreal engined first person shooter. The demo at Ubi Soft’s booth marks the second E3 showing of XIII. Originally slated to be released early 2003, XIII faced a wise delay to ensure the quality of the game. What was shown to us for this year’s show was remarkably similar to last year’s demo. There was, however, definitely a greater level of polish – an indication that the game appears to be on track for release later this year.
For those not in the know, XIII is based off the European comic book of the same name. The story is that you’re a badass special forces operative that has lost his memory. Naturally, you’ve been framed for the murder of the President and you’re on the run. When you start off in the game, you’re relatively unskilled; but as the game progresses and you regain fragments of your memory, you slowly regain your abilities. For example, you magically regain your special forces hearing sense and can ‘see footsteps’ as your assailants approach. See footsteps? Yes, on-screen sound effects captions
(such as Tap Tap Tap) appear just as they would in a comic book, showing the location and direction of movement of characters beyond solid object.
Just guess what you have to do...
BAM! Cartoony effects.
Other comic book influences are seen during action-activated events. Headshots in the game are emphasized with a few gruesome panels of close-up. Big block letters of BAOOOM accompany explosions just for good measure.
Of course, no mention of XIII can be made without commenting on the game’s unique cell-shaded visuals. Instead of featuring advanced lighting and shadow effects, Ubi Soft has opted to go with a very flat and clean look for both its models and environments. In many ways, we’re reminded of Sega’s Jet Set Radio. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, so please be sure to check out all the screenshots included here.
XIII is a true multiplatform game with its released planned for GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. All versions of the game will feature multiplayer with 12 maps out of the box. Each console version will have its own exclusive multiplayer mode. The PS2 version will get Cover Me, Xbox will get Sabotage, and GameCube will get Capture the Chicken.
Playing time for XIII is expected to last about 15-17 hours, and you’ll have to wait until Fall of this year to play it.