Fracture Media

By Steve Gibson, Aug 22, 2007 9:49pm PDT LucasArts has released a trailer for Fracture (X360/PS3) that was marked as new (but wasn't!) showing off some pretty nifty terrain deformation. For some reason we didn't carry this when it first came out a little while ago so here you go, some late night viewing. Pretty sure the screenshots are new though!

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23 Threads | 41 Comments

  • Traditional first person shooters have a lot of "okay, find the key to the gate, and then climb onto the secret overhang to press the button to lower the bridge to the gate" sorts of paths in them, and these sorts of "architectural challenges" are very often are a consequence of forcing the player into an overly restrictive model of navigating the environment (the worst are situations where any reasonably fit human being could easily overcome the obstacles that block you from your goal, like not being able to jump over a small hedge or climb a fence).

    I can't picture any game like this working well unless they basically kill "navigational puzzles" altogether, and force the point of the game to be about reacting quickly to monsters/NPC's trying to kill you (which means your enemy AI has to be smart and believable). If they try to be stingy with your opportunities to deform the terrain, and make it heavily about gimmick situations like "hey, you need to balloon the earth upward in this one spot here into a little bridge so you can climb over this chasm!", then it's going to get boring quickly. The core gameplay mechanics are going to have to be fun; it's going to have to be *consistently* fun to knock enemies around again and again and again, because jumping puzzles are going to seem even lamer than usual if you're thinking about how they completely break the free-form aspects in the rest of the game. Especially if they make half the game take place in non-deformable steel or concrete terrain just so they can sneak jumping puzzles in on you to artificially extend the game.

    It makes me think a little bit of Tribes, where players did some pretty interesting things getting around the map, between the skiing and jet-pack rocket jumping and all that. If players aren't able to solve most of their navigational hassles just by deforming the terrain in a relatively straightforward way and traversing it, then they'll get frustrated. If the puzzles get too complicated, then people will get hung up on the whole "digging a hole to China" thing and get mad that they've just turned the world upside down and still can't get where they need to be.

    TLDR: If they try to market this game around terrain deformation, and then try to shoehorn that into some minor gimmick of a traditional FPS maze-runner, this game will fall flat.