If one thing's certain about this particular generation of
console games, it's that there won't be a shortage of
first-person shooters across both the PS3 and Xbox 360. And not
just from 3rd party developers, but even both Sony and Microsoft
have a number of FPS franchises under their sleeves. With
Resistance and Gears of War out, the standard for a great FPS
game has been set really high by both publishers, and with
Killzone 2 and Halo 3, that bar will likely get higher. So here's
one of the many FPS titles that will be aiming to stand level
with the aforementioned games: Blacksite: Area 51, the sequel to
2005's Area 51.
Developed by Midway Studios Austin, Blacksite is poised to
deliver a chaotic, tense and satisfying experience that will
utilize "cutting edge technology, game design and story
writing". By "cutting edge technology", Midway is
likely referring to the game running on Unreal Engine III. What
with Midway publishing Unreal Tournament III, it makes perfect
sense for them to do so. Using the Unreal Engine means that the
gamer can expect terrific physics and some pretty solid visuals.
The engine is constantly being optimized and updated, meaning
Midway Austin will have potential to put out a product that can
be more polished than other games running on the engine.
The game will hang the responsibility of people's lives over your
shoulders, and ultimately their survival will be determined by
you. You must either abide by your professional orders, or hold
on to your morals and ethic – the choice is yours. The game will
give you, what Midway likes to call, a "living, breathing
squad" of Special Forces soldiers. These soldiers will
respond to the orders you give out, and aid you in battle when
you need them to. But, again, their actions and morale is
determined by your actions. If you fight brave, they will too; if
you fear an enemy, run and demonstrate cowardice, your team will
be affected negatively. Negative affects include poor aim,
fatigue, low morale, and a lower will to fight.
Controlling your squad will be done by single button commands
that you'll issue as you play the game. Commands will range from
C4 planting, sniping, or taking control of the game's vehicles.
On that note, if you've played various FPS games in the past
three years, you've noticed a new found staple featured in every
one of them: vehicles. Blacksite will be no different. When on
the field you'll have the ability to pilot an ATV, civilian
vehicles, a large Hummvee-esque auto, or act as a gunner in a
helicopter as you swoop down low-levels obliterating every enemy
Progress is made by completing missions, but there are multiple
paths to go by to reach the end of each level. To further add to
the game's sense of freedom and scope, Midway promises that
nearly everything you see will be destructible – and blowing up
stuff for the hell of it is always fun.
Lastly, you can't have an FPS game without online multiplayer
modes, so here's what Blacksite will offer…the traditional
modes will include: Death-Match, Team Death-Match and
Capture-the-Flag. But the unique modes are Human vs. Reborn mode,
and Siege Mode. Siege Mode sounds very interesting, as the point
of it is to not only capture control of your enemy's territory,
but also the enemy's squad members. No word has been said on how
many players can compete per match, but we expect it to be 16.
Midway's current plan is to have Blacksite released in the
third-quarter of 2007. Release lists have it pinned down for a
September 3rd, 2007 release, but that can change pending on the
game's development. If you enjoyed the first Area 51 game, and
are looking forward to Unreal Engine-based alien-killing, FPS
goodness, then Blacksite should be just for you.