June 19, 2018

E3 2018: A look at Generation Zero

E3 is a time when companies show off their latest and greatest, but some companies are a little shy about some games and they hold, what is known as BCD sessions or Behind Closed Doors, basically it’s a chance for them to show off their game, without giant lines, fancy booths or anything else that makes it a spectacle. Avalanche Studios were showing off three games at E3 2018, Just Cause 4, Rage 2 and Generation Zero, the last one was BCD.

At the Xbox location, the Microsoft Theatre, I sat down with Emil Kraftling the Director of Generation Zero and he explained the game, while it was being played by two members of the studio and while it was an early alpha build, it was looking good, but what is the game about. In Generation Zero, you can play solo or with 3 other people, in a world where some strange robotic animals/creatures are now roaming the wilds of 1980’s Sweden. The game begins with you, either on your own or with other people, returning from a trip around the archipelago, when your boat is attacked, but while you are injured, you make it ashore, but there is no one else around.

As you head into town, things are looking stranger by the minute, houses are left unlocked, with doors wide open, cars are abandoned by the side of the road, some with engines still running. The only thing that you can see moving around are these machines, which are quite dangerous for you to encounter, but as you need to move forward, in order to discover just what has been going on, danger is something you need to deal with. The game is set in a massive open world, but the demo I was shown took place around a small town, where rumour has it a bomb shelter exists. While heading towards the town, a few cars were sitting in the middle of the road, but getting closer revealed one of the games creatures, a runner, think robotic dog.

While this was likely scripted for the demo, Avalanche Studios has stated that the entire game world would be random, that enemies would roam freely, and you will never know where you might run into something. What sets it apart further is that the world is a rural part of Sweden, not a military base, so weapons and other items will be hard pressed to be found, so finding and managing your supplies is critical. Back to those cars from before, after taking out the runner, with a well-placed headshot from the hunting rifle the player had equipped, they were able to search the cars, one of which was a police car and it contained a medkit, new weapon and a scope, a jackpot of goodies.

But while we had gotten supplies from the cars, the remains of the runner was lying nearby as well and scavenging the corpses of the mechanical beasts is important, as you can get ammo and even mods for your weapons from them. Low level enemies will have some basic goods, but higher-level enemies will have much better loot to obtain, which can give you boosts, depending on what the item is and what stats it has. Weapons can also come in a variety of levels, keeping track of newer weapons will give you a better chance of survival, as older weapons might be poor in some stats.

A poor weapon though is big deal, if you can target the enemy in the right way, some enemies can be taken out in a single shot, but other might require a few. For those, you would be better placed to take out its eyes or legs, because if it can’t see, it can’t aim for you and if it can’t move, it can’t chase you down. As the demo progressed, the two players picked up some new gear, found in the bunker, encountered a few little creatures and finally got some leads, including where some people might be. At this point, there were two leads given, but as there were two people, they split up and each headed for one of the two locations discovered.

While one player went off, the one we were watching, went looking for the house, on the way more runners were discovered, but this time, there were more than just the one, so a diversion was needed, thankfully in the bomb shelter, a boom box was discovered and as it generates noise, it drew the creatures together. Using some tactics and a new weapon, they were dispatched, leaving the player free to complete the mission, but as they headed back to where the other player was, it was discovered that they were under siege from a horde of enemy runners, jumping into the fray and helping out, quickly saw the tide of battle turn in the humans favour, but it proved that splitting up, while possible, might not be a great idea. Emil, the director noted that it is possible for all four players to venture off into the far corners of the game world, should they desire, but being apart means danger might be more than you could handle on your own.

The demo came to a close after a fight against some levelled up runners and then a massive creature started to walk into view. It was at this point, I got the chance to ask some more questions, so look for that as well.

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