Ready At Dawn CEO Ru Weerasuriya addressed the games press in a behind closed doors presentation of the studio’s shooter The Order: 1886. The game was conceptualised in 2006 and was derived from short stories penned by Weerasuriya. It’s now a full-scale project with a 95-strong team and running on the bespoke RAD engine 4.0.

The Order is a third-person shooter, and it’s billed as the first game in a franchise of titles that may also spill out into other forms of media. Set in an alternate post-industrial revolution London, the game’s steampunk, almost Dickensian veneer was researched by a snap-happy studio trip to London, in which Weerasuriya and his crew took over 38,000 photos of the city.

Why? Well, the game’s core hook isn’t steampunk, or the arkane, or even those brilliant twirled moustaches we’ve seen so far. Those photos were actually research for both the game’s aesthetic design and the team’s material creation tools, as well as its bespoke ‘Abel’ physics engine. We were shown photos of zoomed-in cobblestones, of granite and gravel, each taken to make the world of The Order visually impressive, believable and most importantly – destructible.

The game has dynamic destruction, and while we’re not talking about Battlefield 4 levels of military bombast, Ready At Dawn’s surface and environmental destruction is rather impressive. We saw Weerasuriya jump into a stone courtyard and pumped rounds from the protagonist’s Combogun – an assault rifle and shotgun hybrid – into a brass fixture set into a wall. The object crumpled and imploded with force after each round found its mark, deforming it in real-time.

He then spawned in a bunch of teddy bears and went all Robocop on their stuffed asses, first blowing off a head, and then four limbs one at a time. This might sound like a gimmick, but we were all assured that dynamic destruction, texture warping and convincing object physics lie at the heart of The Order: 1886′s gameplay. When the crowd asked why, we were told it wasn’t yet time for
that particular discussion.

What I can tell you is that the game
looks brilliant, as in next-gen brilliant, not just a small leap in fidelity. We were treated to a fly-over through an underground plaza lined with pubs, meandering NPCs and street lamps so convincing you could almost hear the bulbs hum. At the end of the street sat a mosaic, with each raised tile impacting the way those lights dances across its surface.
This is what a large part of next-gen gaming is about; the dynamic factor, and The Order: 1886 already seems to have that in spades. It’s an intriguing project that both Sony and the developer are being coy about, but I’m intrigued to learn more, especially to see how on earth textures and destruction impact gameplay as Weerasuriya promised. I’m looking on with keen interest for some sort of clarity.

I hope to see any leaks from this presentation