Someone needs to tell Epic they don’t need to try so hard when they unveil new games, although it is certainly appreciated. I was already salivating over the possibilities of Bulletstorm when the first screenshots hit and I saw it was being developed by People Can Fly. Then, they reveal the first trailer and go ahead and add “Wish” by Nine Inch Nails as the soundtrack for it. Game Designer and Epic spokesman, Cliff Bleszinski is describing it as the “Burnout of shooters with a little bit of Duke Nukem and a little bit of Firefly/Serenity.” Needless to say, I’m sold. You may need a bit more info though.
This isn’t just another FPS. I’m going to go ahead and guess most of you didn’t play People Can Fly’s first game, Painkiller. Anyone who did, doesn’t need any convincing after playing it and seeing that trailer. Painkiller is the closest the FPS genre has come to having a true modern (sorry Serious Sam) sequel to DOOM 2. People Can Fly took us back to the days of endless hordes of enemies on top of hellish environments with ridiculous weaponry. Mindless, fun, and brutal action was a nice change of pace then, just as it is absolutely necessary change today as more and more “smart shooters” hit the market. Sure, Painkiller was a bit rough around the edges, but that’s just where the partnership with Epic is going to pay off. Epic has really stepped it up this generation with both the Gears of War series and their support of their Unreal Engine 3 engine contributing to some of the most memorable game experiences to date. Together with People Can Fly’s creativity, expect to find a new Unreal Engine 3 experience. If you have any doubts, check out Epic’s last collaborative masterpiece – Shadow Complex.
What I’m most excited about with Bulletstorm, is in its promise to combine the senseless chaotic action with some skill based rewards. As the game’s producer, Tanya Jessen, puts it “you do cool shit, you get cool shit, so you can do even more cool shit.” The stylistic approach to naming these skill shots and displaying them on screen as they are completed, should add to the arcade feel and keep the gamer aware of when they are pulling off some “cool shit” so they can keep doing “even more cool shit.”
Another subtle feature that caught my attention, was just how colorful the game world looks. The Gears’ games and Unreal 3 engine games have a legacy of swimming in a sea of brown. It’s nice to see an Epic game with some vibrant colors and style, and good for them to have this example to show that not all Unreal Engine 3 games have to look the same.
We are still a ways off from the release of Bulletstorm (Q1 2011 – Xbox 360, PS3, PC), so hopefully Epic can follow through on the promise of this initial marketing blitz. Personally though – In Cliffy B, I trust.