Brink Developer Session at Eurogamer Expo 2009

Get ready for a new way to play your online FPS

Brink has remained a little under the radar in the main stream presses and the gossip blogs. Just 30 seconds in to the demonstration by Paul Wedgewood, CEO of Splash Damage, and it is hard to imagine this being the case for much longer. In the darkened auditorium, at Eurogamer Expo 2009 London, we were treated to a brief demonstration of the game in action. This was no specific level as such but an introduction to the world of Brink and what Brink is about to bring to the world of gaming.

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Let’s break it down shall we. Brink is coming from Splash Damage, the studio famous for interpreting licenses mostly created by ID. Splash Damage started out as a group of guys modding Quake 2, they soon came to the fore and ID asked them to do titles such as Quake Wars (the PC version only they are keen to point out!) and Wolfenstein : Enemy Territory. So Splash Damage are taking their keen eye for detail in the multiplayer arena and trying to apply it to a more cohesive single player environment.

Brink’s first little gem is a system the PR lovelies at Bethesda, the games publisher, have dubbed S.M.A.R.T (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). The system is a designated mechanic that will allow you to Mantle objects and find creative solutions to your problems. One of the examples on show was moving from one side of a courtyard, where you leap down, scramble atop some flowerbeds and the clamber up the wall the other side of the courtyard. This was all achieved using a single button press at each point to be traversed and worked very much like movement in Mirror’s Edge.

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The next demonstration of this technology was a security gate. The gate blocks your path with a series of motion sensors across the path. If you walk through the alarm is tripped. Using S.M.A.R.T you simply run at the gate, look up at the top of the gate, similar in construction to airport scanners, press the X button (on the 360 version) and up you leap, haul yourself over and plop down the other side – neat huh! Well if that does not light your bulb then run at the gate, drop your gaze down and press X and under you slide, once again avoiding the detection beams. This adds a great level of flexibility to the game that makes it feel like a fully fledged shooter with overtones of Mirror’s Edge. Obviously there is no Free Running but you get the general idea.

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The next thing Brink brings to the table is a neat dynamic way point system. This is going to be tricky to describe but I will give it a spin. Say you start as a soldier class – the game is split into several distinct classes, we were shown Engineer, Stealth and Soldier – and your task is to help protect a unmanned robot as it cuts through some defenses. Well as this mission get going a change may happen in the enemies strategy that suddenly requires someone to go behind enemy lines and take down a gun turret or sniper silently. You pop up your radial objective selector and you have a list of objectives that are calculated on the fly by the system. You select the stealth option and go perform said task. Once this is completed a whole new series of objectives are created based on what ever is currently going on. It sounds a bit manic but works incredibly well allowing you to switch classes and play style on the fly via small computer stations dotted around the levels.

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The other great part? This game is either single player OR you can take the fight online and get some friends in to play some of your supporting characters. The in game objective routines then work out jobs for everyone and allow people to step up to certain challenges. The other thing is Brink looks phenomenal. The lead designer from Killzone 2 has moved over to Splash Damage and boy does it show. Things flowed incredibly smoothly, even at this early pre-alpha stage. The models are thick and chunky, the look is Mirrors Edge, meets Killzone, meets an ID game. The sound was also completely awesome. The sound designer working on the project was previously of Criterion Studios and worked on titles such as Black (nice!) and Burnout Paradise (nice too!). The gun effects are just spot on (ie over the top the correct amount) as are the explosions and spot effects. Even the voice acting in place seemed reasonable if a bit wooden.

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All in all our brief 30 minutes spent in the world of Brink was incredibly exciting. I have not really even talked about the XP system that the game uses and the level ups that gives you or the whole planet on the brink (get it!) of war story line. Just believe me when I say if the game comes together as expected then this will be a major title to look out for when it ships on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & PC in Spring 2010.

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Check out the Brink teaser below:-



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Zeth is our EU Senior Editor and has been writing about video games since he joined BG back in 2008. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.
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