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PAX ’09: Brink

There are three booths at PAX 2009 which are impossible to get close to. Left 4 Dead 2, Scribblenauts and the “mystery” Bethesda product.

Until today, the crowds around the Bethesda booth were so deep it was impossible to even see what they were presenting. Today I was able to sit down with Paul Wedgwood, CEO of Splash Damage, the company who worked with ID software doing the Enemy Territories games for Quake and Wolfenstein.

What they’re doing now is a brand-new game called Brink, which Jonah Falcon previewed back at E3, naming it Game of Show. If you think of Fallout 3 as primarily an RPG with some first and third person shooter elements, you can think of Brink as primarily a shooter with some RPG elements.

Brink is set in the future where a massive floating city has been cut off from the world for years. This dystopian vision has split the populace into two factions, the Ark Security figures and the resistance. You can missions from either side and get a different perspective with each play through.

One of the things that sets Brink apart (besides looking great) is a free running system similar to Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed. There’s a “SMART” (Smart Movement Across Random Terrain) button which allows you to leap obstacles, grab ledges, etc and continue your movement. If you’ve ever been frustrated by a big burly weapon toting marine who gets stumped by a two foot wall in the way then you won’t see that happen in Brink.

The other thing I liked is the character customization, both the Ark Security Forces and the Resistance both have numerous customization options, race, build, clothing, hair, etc. While there were no female characters in the demo,< I've been assured they will be in the game, it's just that the models and clothing weren't ready for PAX. [UPDATE: There will be no female characters in the game after all, according to Splash Damage's Steve Hessel.]

You can play for either side, and within each are multiple classes. Unlike many games of this genre, though, you can change classes at any time by visiting the closest command post, There are overall mission objectives but there are also class based objectives so you can keep changing classes to complete as many sub missions (and gain as many experience points) as possible. Since Brink also supports 8 person co-op, it’s possible to change to a weaker class, like an Engineer, to do some repair work and have other members beef up their classes to cover you. But the game works equally well in single player or traditional multiplayer.

Given recent articles talking about the difficulty of launching a brand new product, I asked Mr. Wedgewood about that. He indicated that Bethesda is very good at picking good games and supporting them without regard to them being original or a sequel. Brink is set to launch in Spring of 2010 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The demo that was the basis for this review was the 360 version.

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    4 Responses to “PAX ’09: Brink”

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    1. PAX ‘09: Gabe, Tycho, and Final Thoughts | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] playing something that’s going to end up selling 12 million copies. (Speaking of Brink – Read my PAX coverage and Jonah’s E3 coverage [...]

    2. Brink Gameplay Video Reveals SMART Movement | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] previewed Brink at E3 2009 and at PAX 09, but could only describe the “S.M.A.R.T.” (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) gameplay. [...]

    3. GDC ‘10: Brink Cinematic Trailer | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] PAX ‘09: Brink Share and Enjoy: [...]

    4. E3 ‘10 PREVIEW: Brink (Multi) | Game Stooge Says:

      [...] of Show to Brink, Splash Damage’s scintillating dynamic class-based shooter. We were also enthralled with it during last year’s PAX in Seattle as well. The only downside to both exhibitions was [...]

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