previews\ May 9, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings - 360 - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

Indiana Jones will showcase more than just the true power of Xbox 360. It’ll harness a power so big it doesn’t seem real. LucasArts describes the technique as “euphoria,” and what it does is allow the developers to create a game filled with animations that aren’t scripted. In other words, what you see is not what you get. Every fist thrown, every punch taken, every time you dodge an attack or are pushed into a car windshield will be different. When you fall off a platform, or get attacked from behind. When you jump from one area to the next, or chase down an enemy that’s been driving you crazy – every action leads to a reaction, and every reaction, the developers insist, will be different. 

Indiana Jones was not playable at LucasArts’s booth, so it’s impossible to say exactly how expansive this feature goes. Also, the game isn’t due till sometime in 2007 – the developers still have a lot of programming and refining to do. 

But what was shown was really incredible. The graphics are top-notch.  I must back up LucasArts’s claims by saying that no matter how many times they went through the demo (which was real-time and playable for them, but no one else), the reactions always looked different. I paid close attention to every detail, from the way the characters’ body parts swayed to the environments and the way Indiana Jones interacts with them. Speaking of environments, in this world there won’t be many objects you can’t destroy. That’s old news I suppose – a lot of games have made that claim. But right now Indiana Jones is the only game to make the reaction claim, and it’s the only game whose technique is actually working. 

For gamers, we’ll get an experience unlike any other. For developers it means more lost sleep! It also means that they had a hard time putting together a trailer, because the things they wanted the characters to do wouldn’t happen the way they wanted. Sure, that’s a bragging point for the finished product, but it does sound believable. Just think of how hard it’d be to piece together a Star Wars trailer if every element was based on reaction, not pre-scripted programming. Hey, wait a minute… 

Due for release in 2007, Indiana Jones is gunning for the top spot in your next-gen lineup. Stay tune throughout the year as LucasArts reveals more on this incredible title.


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