By Justin Pinter
Fracture is set in the year 2161 on a radically transformed planet, and you're thrown into the middle of a genetically enhanced Atlantic-Pacific 22nd Century war. One of the features that makes this action title unique is its terrain deformation and we discussed this, and much more, in our interview with David Perkinson, Producer at LucasArts...
PSU: What was the thought process behind Fracture's storyline? Why America? Why fight on American soil?
David Perkinson: We wanted players to be able to relate to the conflict in Fracture, and possibly even have an emotional stake in the outcome. To do so, we chose to address hot topic issues that players could identify with, such as stem cell research, genetic engineering, and global warming.
The world in the year 2161 has been drastically altered by a series of natural disasters, and the world is torn over the debate around genetically engineered human beings. Even though both Europe and Asia will play a large part in the war (the details of which will be revealed in the near future), we wanted the players to be fighting on familiar territory. By fighting on American soil we are able to use iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge that players will immediately be able to recognize.
PSU: There are two sides to the battle in this futuristic America (The Atlantic Alliance and the Republic of Pacifica). Will the player be able to pick sides, make alliances, or is he just a simple soldier caught up in the heat of this global battle?
Perkinson: LucasArts believes that engaging stories and characters are an integral part of a great gaming experience. One of our main focuses is to develop a mature narrative with complex character that will immerse players in the world of Fracture. As Mason Briggs, a demolitions expert fighting for the Atlantic Alliance, players will be fighting a war against friends, and find that right and wrong are not always clearly defined. There is, as I’m sure you can imagine, much more to Mason than meets the eye. We’ll be revealing all of that in due time.
PSU: Can you explain in more detail about the "ground deformation" gameplay aspects that Fracture will offer? How will players be able to utilize this mysterious gameplay feature to their advantage or perhaps the enemy's disadvantage?
Perkinson: Terrain deformation is the integral part of Fracture’s gameplay, and can be used for several purposes. It can be used by players for navigation, puzzle solving, destruction, creating cover, and for gaining tactical advantage. With a wide variety of both weapons and grenades that are able to shape the battlefield, players will have a tremendous amount of freedom in the way they choose to confront their enemies. Manipulating the terrain gives players the control to create their own advantages over an enemy. Riding a spike grenade to the tops of buildings will give players a bird’s eye view of the battlefield, putting their enemies below at a disadvantage.
Some people will use terrain deformation for cover as they advance on the enemies’ position, while others may choose to blow up the ground beneath the feet of enemies in a fortified bunker. For example, in the game the player is attacked by several enemies behind an elevated wall. In this situation there are multiple ways for him to take down the enemies. He could build cover where he stands and attack from a distance, or try a different route by raising the land with a tectonic grenade to create a ramp to the top of the wall.
PSU: Outside of the “ground deformation” grenades, what other weapons and vehicles will the player have at their disposal?
Perkinson: Players will have a wide variety of weapons and grenades at their disposal during the course of the game. The majority of weapons will be able to deform the terrain, ranging from a standard machine gun whose bullets can eat away at the ground’s surface, to the Bangalore which fires a subterranean torpedo the player can detonate at will. We look forward to talking about additional weapons and vehicles we have planned in the future.
PSU: Fracture claims to utilize "genetic enhancements" to increase player capabilities. Is this similar to the Implant features that Star Wars: KOTOR utilized?
Perkinson: The Pacificans have utilized genetic enhancements to build an army of super soldiers. As players progress through the campaign, they will encounter a number of enemies with genetic enhancements. One example among the many enemy classes is the Pacifican Hydra. Hydras bodies have been engineered to allow them to jump to extreme heights. From these heights they will fire rockets down at the player and his allies. There is an augmentation system planned to increase the player’s capabilities which we will be talking about in the future.
PSU: Can you go into more detail regarding cybernetics? How does cybernetics affect the player's capabilities or the enemy's capabilities?
Perkinson: The Atlantic Alliance has invested heavily into researching cybernetics, while the Pacificans have focused on genetic enhancements. The AI’s approach to combat, the weapons available to each side, and the appearance of the soldiers will reflect the technology of each respective side. The Atlantic Alliance employs powerful shield technology to combat their Pacifican opponents’ superior speed, agility, and strength. Pacifican weapons are built to output massive damage to match their aggressive tactics. On the other hand, the Atlantic Alliance uses weapons that aid more cautious strategies with versatile defensive and offensive capabilities. Players will also see several of the Atlantic Alliance’s other cybernetic augmentations within the campaign.
PSU: Will Fracture incorporate any multiplayer aspects? Co-op or online?
Perkinson: Day 1 Studios has an excellent multiplayer heritage and we are confident that terrain deformation and multiplayer will most definitely equal fun.
The game will feature both Co-Op and online play.
PSU: Can we expect to see differences between Xbox 360 and PS3? Do you plan to include any exclusives for either of the consoles or PC version?
Perkinson: We plan on taking advantage of the special features offered on the Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware respectively.
Not to be too vague, but there is a lot more that we’ll be releasing in the coming months.
PSU: What is the max resolution and frame-rate planned for Fracture?
Perkinson: We plan to optimize the game to achieve a high frame-rate, while maintaining the level of gameplay desired. We want to make sure the game looks great, and is fun to play.
Day 1 is an extremely talented team and will coax every ounce of performance out of both machines.
PSU: When should we expect to see a new preview of Fracture?
Perkinson: We have a long way to go, but expect to see more information on Fracture very soon.