After almost 20 years since the horror movie "The Thing" graced theaters, Universal Interactive Studios is brining the game to the Playstation 2. Based upon the same elements that made the movie so popular, such as suspense and fear, but most importantly extreme gore, The Thing aims to please fans of the survival horror genre with extreme action and frightful imagery. Taking off at almost the exact same place where the movie left off, a group of Norwegian and American military forces arrives on the scene in Antarctica, not knowing what is in store for them.
The Thing will make use of the same fear seen in the movie through the use of several types of characters, including scientists, soldiers, etc. The size of your party will vary throughout the game, depending on the situation. You must manage these characters and work with them in order to survive, but you also might be required to get rid of them if there is a chance they might turn against you. During the game, there is high risk of players around you becoming infected by the Thing, and if so, it will become imperative for you to dispose of them. Also, you must keep and eye on them in case they think that you are infected. This is managed through a trust/fear system that must be balanced in order for you to survive. Your comrades must trust you, but in some cases they must fear you more. If they think you are the Thing, it is up to you to convince them otherwise by any means necessary. It is the management of these characters which sets The Thing apart from other games, because the use of non playable Characters is so vital to survival.
Just as in the movie, the Thing will appear often, and in various shapes and sizes. Ranging in looks from regular old humans to huge beasts of immense size, the Thing will be incredibly hostile, often requiring an entire party just to fend it off.
The game will be employing some next generation graphical effects to create an incredibly detailed and impressive environment. With real time lighting and particle effects, The Thing will feature realistic snowstorms and other random visual effects. In game cut scenes will be employed to convey the actual story, with subtle audio cues to heighten the suspense. All this will be coupled with preset camera angles designed to deliver maximum suspense, by showing just enough of the surrounding area to create an atmosphere of suspense.
However, during action sequences, players can change the perspective from the preset angle into a third person view, as well as being able to switch between auto and manual aim for weapons. Not only will the game be filled with action but also with a good dose of puzzle solving. For instance, the game will be split between indoor and outdoor environments, and staying too long outside increases the chances of freezing to death, but players will often be required to push those limits in order to progress.
While no specific release date has been set, The Thing is slated for a Summer 2002 release sometime in early August for the PS2.
4/3/2002 Ryan Hartmann