Spec Ops: The Line E3 2010 Preview

Though Spec-Ops: The Line shares a name with the popular PC and PlayStation franchise, this new title, being created by Yager Development for publisher 2K Games, shares nothing with those older entries beyond the moniker. nope Players control an elite force as they travel to Dubai, which has been half buried under the desert following a series of cataclysmic sandstorms. Outlaws and looters roam the sandy wasteland as the player searches for a US Colonel that has gone missing.

The player is Captain Walker, sent to look for Colonel Konrad who stayed in Duabi after the disaster. No one has been able to contact Konrad and Walker's only lead is another soldier named Gould. The game is played from a third-person perspective and utilizes a cover system, with computer-controlled squadmates that players can command.

"Of course, if you're more of a lone-wolf type of player, the game will support you in that playstyle as well," explains 2K Games producer Greg Kasavin. "Your squadmates are Delta Force operators; they don't need you to hold their hand through this game. They will back you up in whatever you do." BOOM video 5462

Yager, under the direction of publisher 2K Games, is opting to focus on narrative depth with Spec-Ops: The Line. "With this game, we seek to bring 2K's signature sense of narrative depth and rich atmosphere to the military shooter genre," according to Kasavin. Choices will be presented to the player organically. For example, at the end of the demo, the player and his squad come upon a rather brutal interrogation. The player is given to choice of intervening and potentially saving the tortured soldier or waiting to see if he gives up the information the player also needs. This is handled quite nicely by the game as there is no button prompt offering the options to "Attack" or "Hold". If the player wishes to intervene, he or she need only fire or order a squadmate to do so.

While the story most likely won't win any awards, the focus on narrative is apparent as new information is presented around every turn. The section we saw had Captain Walker's squad engaging militant looters and Gould's soldiers, but offered no explanation as to why these soldiers, sent in before the player's squad, are being treated as the enemy. This is one of the mysteries central to Spec-Ops.

The shooting and gameplay looked tight with cover working well. Sand can be used as a weapon in the game. In one section, the player destroyed a wall using explosives, which trigged a massive deluge of sand to come pouring in, burying enemy soldiers. The singleplayer campaign will not be playable in co-op, which is not surprising given the focus on story. Yager will offer a separate co-op experience along with a competitive offering, though there are no details on what these will be at this time.

Spec-Ops: The Line is in development for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 to be released in 2011. A multiplayer beta is planned, with details to be released soon.

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