PSU Exclusive Interview: Condemned 2: Bloodshot

Developed by Monolith Productions, Condemned 2: Bloodshot immerses the player back into the world of macabre like characters and shady environments made best known by its predecessor Criminal Origins.

In our exclusive interview with Dave Hasle, the games Senior Producer, PSU.com unravels all new details on this highly anticipated first-person horror sequel.

PSU: What is the general storyline behind Condemned 2? From what I’ve read Ethan Thomas is raving drunk and out looking for his missing partner. Can you expand on this?

Dave Hasle, Senior Producer: With Condemned 2: Bloodshot, we pick up Ethan Thomas about a year down the road. He’s an angry, bitter man who is now down on his luck. He is attempting to drown out the memories that keep replaying in his head from Condemned: Criminal Origins. He has lost his way and is holding the world to blame… Still not quite able to figure out what had happened and who, or what, had brought him down. All he knows is that someone is going to pay as he tries to figure out what is going on…

PSU: What expansions have you made to the puzzle solving and forensic side of things? Tools, crime scenes, extras…

Dave: The forensic experience was completely re-designed and re-engineered from the ground up. You’ll be using tools but you’ll also be using your own powers of observation. We’re allowing the player to decide what tools they want to use, when they want to use them – and if they want, they can pass by the forensic events altogether and just keep kicking tail.

We think the revised forensics system is very fresh so most players will want to play them. You can now observe not only, for example, a victim but you’ll be able to zoom in and determine how they died… was it an entrance or an exit wound? We’re giving players more freedom to try and ID the victim. Some of the questions posed of you will require you to pull out your tools and track down blood trails, try to ‘read’ the blood trails and see if the victim crawled or was dragged, and even take gas spectrometer readings.

In the end, it will be up to the player to decide how often and how involved they want to be with the forensics system.

PSU: Would you consider the gameplay core mechanics linear or will there be more freedom in terms of forensic conclusions? For example, will the players have to find something in a specific crime scene for the story to progress?

Dave: Because of the attention to detail and the in-depth storyline that we want to provide to the players, we are still mostly linear. We have opened up our environments though, to allow the player to move around complete environments to find more forensic events, to complete secondary objectives and even bonus or secret areas.

PSU: I’ve read that Condemned 2 will push the limits on violence and gore and obviously will be aiming for an "M" rating. How has the ESRB, if at all, affected your teams’ decisions when it comes to content?

Dave: We have been and will continue to work closely with the ESRB to maintain our M rating. We will give them regular updates and ensure that the ESRB board is involved with each step we make towards shipping a compelling game.

PSU: What are some of the new weapons you’ve added to Condemned 2? I’ve heard there are about 30 weapons all together.

Dave: We have more than doubled the 30 weapons you mention…by the end we may even triple that numberJ. Some of my favorites are the thrown weapons: the bowling pin and the alcohol bottles. I love smacking a rushing enemy and watching him stagger for a bit!

PSU: What improvements will we see in the A.I. (Weapons, using environments, interaction with others)?

Dave: We’ve made substantial improvements in the area of AI. We have tripled the number of unique AI that we had in Condemned: Criminal Origins. We’ve increased the number of ‘boss fights’ as well. For the most part, the AIs can do what the player can do – if you can throw weapons, they can throw weapons, if you can fist-fight, they can fist-fight. The AIs also have more varied environmental interactions than we had previously and they will use a more tactical combat approach.

PSU: In the first title there was use in Havok physics to a degree…will physics play a bigger part in Condemned 2?

Dave: Yes, especially from the stand point of thrown weapons and with our environmental finishing moves. As an example you can throw your opponent into a television, into a dumpster or break his jaw on a bookcase…

PSU: Outside of the dark train stations, creepy libraries, and abandoned school houses what other environments will we find ourselves in?

Dave: Each environment you find yourself in Condemned 2: Bloodshot will be unique and purposeful. All-new environments include outdoor areas and varied times of day. We’re not ready to give away all of our locations but I will mention two that I am very proud of. We have an abandoned Doll Factory that is engulfed in flames. Some very strange characters have ‘developed’ in there and offer some great gameplay opportunities. You’ll also find yourself on an immense garbage barge with multiple floors taking refuse away from the city– but that’s not all…

PSU: In some of the early screenshots, we find one enemy showcasing a Glasgow smile; can we bestow such moves to hobos in Condemned 2? Also, what are some of the other finishers new to Condemned 2, and do you have a favorite?

Dave: There are some creatures that only show up in some deep hallucinations that Ethan experiences. These serve a unique purpose. The ‘influence’ that has wrapped the city up in violent depravity has hit those most susceptible to violent tendencies – but it does not just affect them, but nearly everyone.

In-Your-Face Combat has always been the core of our melee combat system. All the new features that we have brought on have been purposely built to ‘evolve and expand’ the player’s combat encounters. There are numerous unique environmental finishing moves where the environment has a part to play… you can throw weapons, you can fight with your fists and do combos and even chained attacks on enemies. All of these combat moves are meant to take enemies down harder and faster than before.

PSU: How will multiplayer work in the title and will there be cross multiplatform play?

Dave: We have no plans to offer cross platform play at this time. We will offer a variety of multiplayer modes each with their own special maps as well as unique gameplay that is built off of the game systems of Condemned 2: Bloodshot. More details on multiplayer will be announced at a later date so stay tuned! (on a PSU side note… Its been said that the game will feature multiplayer modes such as Deathmatch, "Circle of Death" and a Hobo Fighting arena. Also Monolith has confirmed Online Co-Op play for Condemned 2.)

PSU: Will there be use of the SIXAXIS controller, and if so how will it be incorporated?

Dave: We are not offering unique use of the SIXAXIS controller.

PSU: What differences, even if minimal, are there between the 360 version of this game and the PlayStation 3 version? Would you consider one version technically better than the other one?

Dave: Our differences are minimal at this time, mostly on the technical back-end side such as memory management and modifications for the rendering. On the game side, there are some things that we want to do but only time will tell – so I am going to keep this under my hat for now.

PSU: What is the planned release date/month for Condemned 2: Bloodshot?

Dave: Spring 2008!

PSU: Anything else you’d like to add?

Dave: We’re very excited to be developing for the PS3. It is an amazing piece of hardware that we get to work with and we look forward to continuing to push it forward down the road.

Thanks again to Dave and Scott for making this interview possible. Stay tuned to PSU.com for more information on Condemned 2: Bloodshot as the title nears its release.