Quantum Theory Preview
For the time being, and while Tecmo continues to toil away, Quantum Theory lurks in the shadows, waiting for the inevitable question from PlayStation 3 owners. Considering that the critically acclaimed Gears of War series is exclusive to the Xbox 360, and we just learned that Tecmo’s third-person shooter is exclusive to the PS3, are we looking at a GeoW-killer? Or at the very least, a game that can compete with the established excellence of Gears? Quantum Theory isn’t scheduled to arrive until the second half of 2009, but it popped up in trailer form at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, and a few members of the media can’t stop talking about the possibilities… Apparently, this is a big-budget action title that could blow us all away with its technical proficiency and unbridled fun factor. That’s nothing to complain about, so we wanted to dig a little deeper and come up with a few baseline details for you.
Much like Gears, this game features a third-person format complete with a cover and over-the-shoulder option. The latter is something avid gamers have seen plenty of recently; EA’s Dead Space utilizes this viewpoint, as did Resident Evil 4 last generation. IGN recently spoke to Quantum producer Keisuke Kikuchi to talk more about Tecmo’s promising title, and perhaps the most important piece of information is simple: yes, you will spend the majority of your play time shooting at baddies. But before some of you naysayers begin to cast aspersions on the game, calling it a blatant rip-off that can’t possibly be as stellar as Epic’s shooter, you should know that Quantum Theory could be quite innovative and even borderline revolutionary. Those of you who are interested in creativity in the way of level design should pay attention; Tecmo is preparing an environment that could change and alter with every passing step. How are they going to accomplish this ambitious feat? Well, check it out:
The trailer shown at TGS 2008 depicted a very tall and intimidating structure covered in spikes, which is known as the Living Tower. It’s “living” because the layout of this tower will shift and change as you move through it, making it that much more difficult to navigate. In other words, just because you moved through a particular hallway once doesn’t mean it will always look the same, and hell, that hallway could even attack you. You tackle this tower with the main character, Syd, and his female partner, Fillena. The two of you will battle the worst the Living Tower can throw at you, and evidently, this is going to include a myriad of interesting puzzles and obstacles that Syd and Fillena must work together to solve and overcome. Of course, this will probably lead to the question, “will there be a cooperative campaign?” Unfortunately, we really don’t know at this time, but it would be a very cool idea given the inherent gameplay structure with two characters working their way through the main storyline.
As expected, Syd will be able to use any number of long-range firearms, but he also has a special melee weapon on his other arm that will let him smash enemies when up close and personal. We’re not sure if Fillena will be able to use different weapons, but we’re at least hoping for an effective and intelligent AI partner (please don’t make her stupid, Tecmo). We don’t have any plot details as of yet, either, but we know Syd is “in communication with some outside force” as he assaults the Living Tower, so maybe he’ll get the benefit of backup at some point. But what intrigues us most is the Tower itself, as it should provide us with a relatively unique experience, one that’s typically not found in straight-up shooters. It will force the player to constantly adapt on the fly and everything will always appear fresh and new. The only concern we have is this- won’t it be real easy to get lost? If we can’t recognize where we once were, how will we ever know if we’re going round and round in circles…?
Well, it’s a passing concern and one we’re certain Tecmo is already addressing during the game’s development. Chances are, it’ll be a linear path and there will only be one direction to go, despite the ever-changing backgrounds. Now, in regards to multiplayer and online play, I think we all know how important these options are in this new generation. Where would Gears be without its awesome online component? Really? Tecmo realizes this as well and they’re not about to skimp on the details in this respect; players will be able to “choose their favorite character” and participate in matches that offer a “variety of winning conditions and rules.” Furthermore, we’re supposed to be able to assemble an army of our own during the multiplayer, which makes us wonder if an “army” will be used at any point in the single-player adventure. There were other team members in games like Gears and MGS4, so maybe Syd and Fillena won’t be alone in their tricky mission. You’ll still only be controlling Syd, though (as far as we know).
There are more than a few promising titles scheduled for 2009 that people aren’t paying much attention to, and Quantum Theory is one of them. Once the holidays are over, obviously, gamers will start to look forward, but we figured you’d want a close look at a PS3 exclusive that could become a major release for Sony’s platform. If it’s good enough, you won’t be so disappointed that only 360 owners can enjoy the likes of Gears, even though that’s setting the bar quite high. We do have faith that Tecmo can bring us a top-quality third-person shooter, though, and we’ll update you with more information as it becomes available.
10/16/2008 Ben Dutka