If it feels like you've been waiting forever for Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway to release, well, you're not alone. The game has, indeed, been in development for quite some time, and was revealed officially just about 18 months ago. Developed by the fine people at Gearbox, Hell's Highway will be yet another game utilizing the ever popular Unreal Engine III. It recently saw a delay, and is currently on track to launch in the first quarter of 2008.
When you take a look at the screens, you can see where a lot of that development time has gone to – visuals. Hell's Highway has texture work that's bordering on photorealism, a testament to the texturing capabilities of the Unreal Engine, yet again. Neatly stacked bricks exhibit fine surface details, varying in shades and colors, in addition to geometry. Other details of the environment, such as foilage looks stunning, with rich greens protruding from the ground, in addition to shrubbery for you to hide behind.
But don't stick around in one place too long, as the environments are destructible, and that pile of stones you're ducking behind can be easily destroyed with a bazooka or well aimed grenade. Gearbox will be putting to use a realistic physics engine that'll affect everything, including the damage or your own weapons. Sounds very cool. 720p will be the resolution that the game will render at, and it will most likely run it at 30 frames per second – let's hope it's consistent.
Hell's Highway takes you through Operation Market Garden, which was the largest operation involving paratroopers during World War II. You'll take role as part of the 101st Airborne Division, lead by Matt Baker and Joe Hartsock, with squad-based gameplay. To add some authenticity to the game, Hell's Highway employs a trait that attempts to demonstrate the life of a soldier, as you'll get orders from HQ, go on patrol, perhaps even be part of setting up an ambush. So events in Hell's Highway won't be pre-scripted, as you'll be able to spot enemies long before they spot you.
Because Hell's Highway is a squad-based game, you can expect to have abilities that allow you to cure hurt teammates, trade ammo, cure civilians, delegate various commands, and more. Each character, or "brother", has been developed with a unique personality in mind, as well as a background and story that'll unravel throughout the game. It makes for an engaging experience, furthermore aiding to the whole approach of authenticity in replicating the life of a soldier at war.
Squads can be composed of various kinds of soldiers, all of which you can have direct control over and utilize their advantages for various situations. Each crew has their own respective purpose, so for instance machine gun squads are great for intense fire exchanges, meanwhile bazooka crews are great for leveling tanks and buildings. There's a good deal of variation to employ, which adds a bit of strategy to how you approach various tasks in the game.
Online mode will perhaps be the defining aspect of Hell's Highway's replay value. And with 32 players allowed to partake in all-out mayhem, you can surely expect to spend quite a bit of time online with the game. Online modes aren't known yet, but Ubisoft has said that you can utilize squad mechanics online, as well.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway is set for a release sometime in March of 2008, and not only does it look visually stunning, but it's got quite a lot of promise in its gameplay.