A new spy game is coming to the PS3, PS Vita, and mobile platforms, and it’s called CounterSpy. Revealed via the Playstation Blog and GameInformer’s interview with Dynamighty’s lead designer David Nottingham, CounterSpy is a side-scrolling action game that tasks players with trying to prevent the end of the world via spy-weapons of mass destruction.
CounterSpy puts players in the shoes of an elite member of C.O.U.N.T.E.R., whose job is to infiltrate, sabotage, and destroy two opposing Super Powers whose arms race could wipe out all of humanity. Players will take on Cold War foes, raid bases, sneak past high security, and steal dossiers and blueprints that offers new intel and technology. All of this is in an effort to stop the infamous Doomsday Clock, whose hand striking midnight signals the end of the world by nuclear war.
The Doomsday Clock is deadly important in CounterSpy. Unlock the real-life clock which merely aimed to predict the upcoming end of the world based on worldly affairs and conflicts, CounterSpy‘s Doomsday Clock is constantly counting down while gamers play missions, adding a little tension to choices during gameplay. Do you explore and find super information, or race to complete mission objectives as fast as possible? In a sort of dangerous inverted Space Race, players will need to stop the different Super Powers from developing rockets, rocket that can and will be aimed at other nations. Preventing or sabotaging these weapons of mass destruction add huge bonuses that can be used to broaden one’s arsenal at the C.O.U.N.T.E.R. HQ.
CounterSpy is meant to be highly replayable, offering tons of levels, and tons of secret locations. These secret locations can only be accessed with unique codes that players get by gathering dossiers and then “putting the squeeze” on contacts. Besides leaderboards, an asynchronous competitive social aspect of the game will allow players to find where their friends have died on certain levels, and take their loot for themselves.
The mobile version of CounterSpy is meant to be both a complimentary and supplementary experience to the console and handheld versions of the game. The mobile version of CounterSpy puts players in the shoes of a “field agent” who, as a mobile operative (get it? Mobile?) has less resources to rely on from the Agency. He’ll come across some of the same levels as the other versions of CounterSpy, and he’ll still will need to collect blueprints and dossiers. But when synced to the PS3 or Vita, new exclusive Playstation content will become available for your operative. Whether your operative can find unique content to give back to the Agency is unknown at this moment.
Dynamighty, a small indepedent studio located in San Francisco, CA, is made up of 10 developers who have previously worked in various forms of media, including Dynamighty co-founder John Elliot (who worked with Nottingham at LucasArts when they ran a group called LucasLabs), and Mark Holmes (who previously worked at Pixar on The Incredibles and Wall-E). This is the studio’s first game, and they wanted this “labor of love” to reflect their love of spy-fiction and classic side-scrolling games.
On the gameplay side of things, CounterSpy has been influenced by games such as Flashback, Out of this World, Impossible Mission, Metroid, and the more recent Shadow Complex. The choice of tone was much harder to nail down, though. Originally, the studio wanted to go for a dark approach, with the more somber cold war espionage fiction of the 50’s and 60’s such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Funeral in Berlin (both of which were turned into movies later, the latter by Guy Hamilton, director of Goldfinger). Later, desiring more of a “playful and fun” feel led them to a more vibrant and bold style, but Dynamighty feared they may get too far into parody, which they felt should be left to movies like Austin Powers. There was also a fear of treading on their own territory, like Holmes’ work on The Incredibles. In the end, the James Bond movies, original Mission Impossible TV show, graphic designs of Saul Bass, and mid-20th century architecture influenced the visual component, while shows like The Prisoner and the dry satire of the Dr. Strangelove film helped to guide the playful and edgy feel they wanted.
Everything about CounterSpy is being developed and tweaked as we speak, especially gameplay mechanics, level design, and modes available. Dynamighty promise their are “putting their heart and soul” into CounterSpy, and encourage gamers to keep up with their Tumblr page to see progress on the game (and tons of media from their favorite spy films). For now, check out the screenshots and concept art below, and stay tuned for more news.