New Dark Sector Interview, plus exclusive screens

With Dark Sector due out on March 25, PSU thought we’d get some quick last minute details on the title. Our interview reveals new information such as the evolution of Hayden’s character and abilities, the use of PS3 achievements, and confirmation of Dark Sector as a trilogy.

The interview was conducted with Sheldon Carter, Producer at Digital Extremes.

PSU: What were some of the inspirations behind the art direction in Dark Sector?

Sheldon Carter: I think the best way to describe it is an interesting fusion of gritty contemporary with a dash of cold war and sprinkle of Sci-Fi.

PSU: As the virus consumes Hayden’s body, how will it affect his personality and his abilities when fighting? How will his abilities evolve throughout the progression of the game?

Carter: Only the second question and you’ve hit the heart and soul of the game! This is what Dark Sector is all about – and how it is so different from many of its contemporaries in the action genre. In most of these games your character is essentially the same throughout. You could take your end game character and aside from a few weapons, they’d play the same way.

In Dark Sector you, as Hayden, are evolving. At first you have the Glaive and can use it to its sharpened bloody best… but as you go on and the infection spreads, you’re doing more things with it: power throws, controlling it in flight, trapping elements. I don’t want to give away all the surprises, but it doesn’t end with the Glaive.

PSU: From what we have seen, there are at least two boss battles. How will bosses play a role in Dark Sector’s story, and will players need to use different abilities and strategies to defeat each one?

Carter: We have a lot of little progression puzzles in the game that help you to understand the new powers that you are getting… but the bosses are the “put up or shut up” moments. Basically, you need to use all the latest tools we have given you in order to most effectively beat the bosses.
The bonus is that every boss you beat has a power that you can absorb and then use later in the game… some of which are crucial in beating the later bosses.

PSU: Last we talked to you guys, it was undecided whether or not you would use SIXAXIS tilt functionality in the game, has this changed since then and if incorporated, how so?

Carter: Yeah – we’re really excited about how well Sixais tilt works with Dark Sector. One of the evolutions that you get during the game is the ability to steer the glaive while in flight. This just screamed for us to use tilt, and it works really well.

We noticed about a 60/40 split in our focus testers in terms of preference for using the tilt or not, so it’s optional.

PSU: With PlayStation Home releasing soon, will we be seeing any Dark Sector content supported on the new network? Last I heard, one of you guys mentioned having Hayden’s metal arm as clothing unlockable for Home characters.

Carter: I think Home is going to be very cool, but we’re still working on specifics for Dark Sector. As soon as we have concrete information, we’ll pass it your way.

PSU: Will Dark Sector have medals or things to unlock in the PS3 version, similar to the achievement system seen on Xbox 360?

Carter: We’re all big fans of achievements and Dark Sector is loaded with opportunities for some really cool ones. From the brutal: like cutting off multiple heads in a row, to exploration: like finding all the hidden weapon upgrades, to bragging rights: like high scores in multiplayer.

There is no way we’d let PS3 players miss out on that.

PSU: Has the team at Digital Extremes become fond enough of Hayden that we may see him in the future, perhaps a sequel?

Carter: For sure! We’ve actually always mapped out Dark Sector as a trilogy.

That said, we didn’t end Dark Sector 1 with the cliché cliffhanger ending that seems so prevalent in games these days. You can look forward to a satisfying conclusion. Our plan from the beginning was to make sure that we put enough background and unanswered questions in the first game that a sequel makes sense and isn’t forced.

PSU: Do you guys have anything planned after Dark Sector that you may be able to give us a heads up for a little early?

Carter: Nothing that won’t land me in a dark room with a lot of bruises.

PSU would like to offer Carter our thanks once again for taking the time to answer all of our questions. Stay tuned to PSU for our GDC coverage of Dark Setcor!