SiN Episodes: Emergence Update

At GDC I got the chance to chat with Ritual's Tom Mustaine and take another look at the company's upcoming Sin Episodes: Emergence. I had a full preview up of the game back in January, so this is more of a quick update than another in-depth look.

Over the last few months, in addition to simply working on finishing the game, the Ritual team has been tweaking and adding features based on tester feedback. One of the game's main features is its dynamic difficulty adjustment, but since some players had a good idea of their first person shooter experience right from the beginning, there is now an initial challenge slider you can set which will determine what level of challenge with which the game starts you out. There is also a slider which sets the rate at which the game will invisibly assist you by adding, removing, or modifying in-game elements that are making the game too hard or too easy. These can only be set once at the beginning of the game; after that, the game takes over and adjusts them based on your performance. The result is that the game's pacing is much more adaptive now.

Emergence is looking a great deal better than at my last checkup. There's much more interaction now, with the team going in and making sure the world is reactive as possible to the player's fiddling. Your AI teammate Jessica Cannon will also react if you stare a bit too long at...certain anatomical areas. Most impressively, I started to get a sense of the full scope of the world of the eventual series. There's a scene in the first episode that's slightly reminiscent of the iconic tram ride at the beginning of Half-Life, in which you see various locations you'll remember later throughout the course of the game. Without spoiling too much, in Sin Episodes, the setting is a city, so during this scene you'll really get a sense for how huge and detailed the world of the eventual nine episodes is.

In my last preview, Mustaine expected about 4-6 hours of gameplay in the first episode, but after actually observing testers play through the whole game, he has revised his estimate to 5-7 hours.

Ritual's Sin Episodes: Emergence is currently set for a release over Valve's Steam service in either late April or early May.

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