Summary: Digital Extremes' upcoming game, Dark Sector, is set to release later this year. JCal finds out what it's all about.
FiringSquad: First, Dark Sector began development as a space based MMORPG and later as a sci-fi action game. What cause the various changes in genre and why was Dark Sector finally set for a near future action game design?
Dave Kudirka: We’ve been through quite a few different iterations of the game over the past few years, but the one thing that has remained constant is our protagonist, Hayden Tenno. This game is about him evolving and becoming and Superhero, and that has influenced all of our decisions. The futuristic environments didn’t quite provide the contrast we were looking for between Hayden and his surroundings—he seemed less impressive to us as a guy in a space suit fighting other guys in space suits…in space. This line of thinking spawned changes in character design and prompted the creation of Lasria; a coastal city in the not-to-distant future that provides a sandbox for spectacular events, but at the same time grounds the player in the realism of a scarred Eastern European territory. It’s familiar enough that someone with a metal arm and bladed throwing-disc (“the Glaive”) will stand out, but twisted enough to showcase the many bizarre and fantastic events that occur in Dark Sector. We didn’t feel like the ultra sci-fi stuff gave us that same contrast.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline and the main character of the game?
Dave Kudirka: Hayden is introduced as a CIA cleaner who operates in places where his government agency needs to find plausible deniability for mistakes they have made. Sent into Lasria on an assassination mission, Hayden discovers a biological threat that turns people into horribly disfigured beasts--and that he himself has been exposed to it. Hayden persistently continues his mission, but his strength, endurance, and morality is tested as this strange organic menace reacts with his body, giving him lethal, superhuman abilities. As the horrifying events in Lasria unfold, Hayden’s physical transformation will progressively open new gameplay elements for the player, but his emotional and psychological evolution are equally important to character development throughout Dark Sector.
FiringSquad: What will make this game different than the standard third person action game?
Dave Kudirka: There are a couple of things that really set Dark Sector apart from other third person action games. The first is the evolution aspect of Hayden. In games like Gears of War and Ghost Recon, the characters are essentially the same in the beginning as they are in the end; soldiers who pick up weapons of increasing size and power. Hayden’s evolution systematically opens gameplay elements for the player by introducing new powers and abilities that are rigorously tested by both the enemy AI and surrounding environments. But we also have lots of guns.
FiringSquad: What will the combat be like in the game?
Dave Kudirka: You can certainly expect the visceral, bloody satisfaction found in other popular shooters to be present in Dark Sector, but Hayden’s evolving powers correspond with an evolving combat system that challenges players to face enemies that are no longer just bags of hit points. Some enemies will need to be “puzzled-out” or “opened up” before they become vulnerable to the player’s attack. The idea here is to expand combat tactics using the evolving context of the player’s abilities to creating new possibilities for old situations.
Dave Kudirka: There are two distinct enemy forces in Dark Sector: the Lasrian Military, and those that have been infected and have become monsters. The general population of Lasria has fled, and the coastal city is now occupied by former-KGB and Red Guard--fighting to drive back the diseased attacking forces . The unfortunate part is that Hayden, being infected, is identified as a hostile target and thus will find no sympathy from the Lasrian army. Equally distressing for the player is that the monsterous forces identify Hayden as human and will attack accordingly. The player can expect to encounter a freakish assortment of cunning enemy AI in the game; including troopers that co-ordinate attacks and take defensive positions, infected civilians that swarm you, dogs that ambush you, and grotesque beasts that stalk you.
FiringSquad: What will the weapons and items be like in Dark Sector?
Dave Kudirka: Dark Sector has a generous assortment of firearms including: pistols, SMGs. assault rifles, shotguns, grenades, and an RPG. We’ve implemented a Black Market system where the player can purchase these weapons, but guns can also be stolen from downed enemy soldiers. However, in Dark Sector, the main event is the Glaive.
FiringSquad: What other unique elements will the game have?
Dave Kudirka: We’ve implemented some cool features and gameplay elements that will keep the experience fresh. One such feature that we’ve showcased in our trailer is the ability to perform brutal and satisfying finishing moves. These moves can be performed in a variety of situations—in stealth-like sneak attacks, melee battles, and chaotic scrums. The successful execution of these moves yields visceral, spectacular, and horrifying results.
FiringSquad: What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?
Dave Kudirka: Dark Sector is in full production and will be released this fall.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Dark Sector?
Dave Kudirka: This title is going to take a lot of people by surprise with its twisted narrative and dynamic puzzle/combat gameplay; but some of the best elements of Dark Sector have yet to be revealed. If you think you know exactly what to expect from this title after seeing a few videos or screenshots, you are mistaken.
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