With The Order: 1886 just a few days away from release, there are quite a few things that we still don’t know, and NeoGAF user Readingaid just went to a Sony event with developer Q&A, bringing back impression and further information on possible DLC, an artbook, and on where the story might go after the first game.
The impressions and information below have been cleaned up (since they were initially written on a mobile platform, with obvious effects) for readability, but have been kept in first person as they reflect the opinion of their original author:
– This game is very much the real deal. There, I said it. For me there hasn’t been a comparable level of cinematic gameplay and characterization in a game since The Last of Us.
– Westminster Bridge: a huge firefight across the bridge with all your AI buddies running around you, and chaos raining down. London looks incredible. The graphics are off the chain. Visually this is the best looking game on ANY platform. the atmosphere I got from it was a kind of Resident Evil meets Killzone, but in 1886. It’s dark and eerie. Ready at Dawn have simply nailed Victorian London. Like the real London the place is cobbled, streets are narrow and short with a slight mist in the air. Explosions look stunning. Lighting and distance effects are impeccable.
– Controls? Very responsive and smooth. Not a slight hiccup in frame rate either with a lot going on. What you probably don’t get a feel for in the footage is how inaccurate and loose the guns feel, which I have to say I LOVED. Guns have a real old school feel to them, as hand guns pop in your hand and machine guns spray hopelessly out of control. The tesla gun is extremely powerful one shot killer, but it takes a while to charge.
– The game is HARD. You won’t be streaming through this game immediately. I’m a seasoned gamer and I died about five times in the first five seconds.
– It’s tactical. Run and gun Gears-style and you’ll be dead in seconds. Galahad is skilled, but has an air of a old timer about him. The demo was short and ran us across the bridge. All along the way your fellow knight shout valuable and intense info, as well as actually helping you out and maneuvering to tactical positions. As I went down for the fourth time, a fellow knight runs to my body laying down covering fire, as I try and drink my precious Blackwater (after about ten seconds you can crawl, followed by prompts to drink the Blackwater and furiously mash X to recover more health).
– The second demo was the one on the airship, and fairly straightforward, but it was more tightly knit and allowed for more melee and destruction (you can shoot wood and it splints). Yes it has that kind of level of detail. We have all seen the walkthrough, but in person on your screen in native resolution we are in for a stunning treat. The detail is so incredible you can practically feel the textures of the cloth. In one instance the minute fuzzy bubbles on a parka-style coat particularly stood out, and I was floored.
– If you want to explore wide environments and get lost in pointless escapades, let me say now this is not the game for you, nor it is a QTE-fest (there was one in my entire time with the game). The level of detail in the story was apparent from the panel section and its something I will delve into next.
Key points from the panel:
-It’s possible that there will be a story-focused DLC. Jack the Ripper was asked about, and the reply was “there will be maybe important figures from that time.”
– No chance of the royal family being characters in the game.
-No multiplayer planned, nor there will ever be.
-Hinted at a sequel being more open world, when asked about it, Ru Weerasuriya mentioned that they were looking into it.
-The storyline has been planned from 1886 to the present day. He reiterated that the story has to make sense to him through that timeline.
-Knights are replaced and chosen by the order when one dies.
-The biggest inspirations for the game were Metal Gear Solid, Alien, James Bond and The Last of Us.
-There will be an artbook.
In a further post, he continued:
– A couple of things: before I started, as I do with most shooter based games, I upped the sensitivity of all aim modes, don’t ask why. It’s just something I do. The shooting was sharp and concise. I started out with the Tesla gun and had to pop off some enemies from a distance. Since it was anarchy, the load time for the charge was too long to pop up and kill enemies quickly, so I had to swap to my handgun and boy, do the hand guns feel satisfying. They have a similar inaccuracy to TLOU. You can wildly aim and fire your gun around, but if you take a little more damage you can aim for that headshot, which is very satisfying.
– Guns are absolutely littered about the place, from dead bodies to ammo drops, leading to a style of gameplay I would attribute to a game like TLOU, where you will often run low on ammo and pick up a random weapon to get you through to the next area to restock on your main armory.
– Melee is brutal and satisfying, it lends itself much like Uncharted to weakening enemies, and as they recover, head in for an incredibly stylish finisher.
– The characterization is second to none. I cant stress this enough. I felt like there was a proper connection between characters, and it is superbly acted. I would go as far as to say this is the closest I’ve felt to game characters having a genuine connection IN game and IN cinematic… To the point in which many times I didn’t realize I was actually controlling my character.
– Sound: my profession is based on sound design. I have done sound for most of my adult life in many jobs. This is pretty close to some of the sharpest and most detailed sound I have heard and It fills me with pride that a game like this has such an incredible soundtrack and detail in sound. Its not just the detail of kicking pots recreating a sound, and that sound having its own room sound but also the clarity of the sound, where Assassin’s Creed Unity had some very obvious low bit rate audio this was crystal clear and a joy to the ears.
– Black Bars: i’ve been playing through The Evil Within lately and it can feel cramped in that one. In this game, I’m sorry guys, it adds to the cinematic feel, and if you are dubious as to the degree of honesty in regards to this game being cinematic, it was VERY VERY clear that they always intended this game to be an incredibly cinematic game, right down to the point where we were handed The Order official pop corn in our goodie bags. In terms of it effecting gameplay, it was unnoticable, and I have to say it, I rather enjoyed it.
– The level of detail and shine runs throughout the game, even the pause screen is classy.
A third post goes deeper in detail from the Q&A:
– I wanted to ask about how the game will be continually sold. I mentioned Uncharted 2 and 3 as examples of story-based games that had multiplayer seemingly tagged on to continually sell the game. Ru was quite up front: there were never plans for any sort of MP, including Co-Op. He said that the option of a story based DLC is completely down to how well the game sells.
– My friend asked about main Mmovie influences, citing that from the trailers we can see Nikola Tesla acting as a Q-style character and aiding the Order. Ru confirmed that 007 is a huge influence on the game, and joked that Bond needed saving as a franchise, and Casino Royale came along. He mentioned direct homages to Alien, and considers Alien as a horror movie, not a sci-fi one. He was very clear on that point.
– Game influences were asked about: he said Uncharted 2 and The Last of Us had a huge influence on the game. He also mentioned how he used to hate games that broke immersion with things like like transitions from game to cinematic. He hated how people could tell the difference in early games. It’s something the dev team worked tirelessly on, as it was his vision. He said the biggest influence on how the story is told is Metal Gear Solid for PlayStation. He loved how you always knew there was more to the game, something mysterious about it and how the story was told almost like a mystery. Personally I was eating his words by this point, because MGS is my favorite game ever. He said the story telling blew him away.
– Possible hints to gameplay time. Not sure. He never referenced it directly, but in relation to the last point about breaking immersion he said he loved those games you would sit down and finish from start to end and be completely in that world. Something I completely relate to, having last done that with TLOU. They didnt want anything to bring you out of that victorian dystopian London. From what I played shortly, by hell they have succeeded.
– A nice girl in the crowd was interested in the art of the game and asked about an artbook, which he reluctantly confirmed.
– A lad near the front asked about possible future entries into the series. Now I should probably mention that during his chat, everything he mentioned was delivered with the certainty that this was indeed part one of many. He mentioned something funny: I don’t remember the exact quote. Anyway he didn’t confirm different locations or time zones, but he did say there was a huge over arching story and this particular entry is an extremely important chapter in the story, hence us jumping in here. He said that there is a bigger picture which he thinks we will love.
– Ok first minor/major hint at a spoiler here. He won’t give too much away on the details of potential endings, but he hinted that the end of this game will show a glimpse on the bigger picture. To me the whole set-up reminds of a huge movie franchise.
– He was asked by the presenter as to why there was no Co-Op, since we have guys running around all the time. He said it didn’t make sense to the story they wanted to tell, and that it wasn’t something they considered from a cinematic point of view. Playing the game, it makes sense. The combat is extremely intense and close.
– He was asked about foreign influences by a chap that seemed really into the game. It was also asked why they chose the enemies they did. The reason is that those enemies have been a constant and semi-realistic myth throughout all time. They researched Russian, Japanese, Native American, English, Spanish and Eastern myths and one always cropped up and was always similar. The emphasis is on semi-realism and hence the human element.
– Asked about the Royal family, he responded with that they may be alluded to but not involved as characters, as apparently obtaining the rights is harder than approaching Disney. Other historical figures may be involved and one person asking specifically about Jack the Ripper to which he replied “the great thing about this time is the amount of mystery and characters of the time”.
More was explained in a fouth post:
– In regards to the timeline, THIS game DOES NOT cover 1886 to the present day. What Ru was saying is that in order for the franchise to make sense, he had to pretty much write the stroy from that period to now, and that 1886 is a particularly important time to jump in. Mostly hinting at sequels based in different time periods.
– Ru was actually asked about exploration elements. It’s a hot topic, as everyone wants open world. He mentioned specifically that there were not open areas like in TLOU but there were different approaches. I found that out myself whilst playing the first demo. You couldn’t decide “Oh I wont head in that direction, Ill go the opposite and long way round” but it was up to you how you would progress through that specific area. In the second demo, the airship, there was a large open room and several options in terms of taking the stairs up, holding the bottom floor, swapping out for a shotgun and going up close and personal with each enemy, hiding it out in the upper levels and picking off enemies as they filtered through.
– Also the Blacksight was awesome. It reminded me of Red Dead where you could pick out body parts, things they are carrying and so forth. It’s well balanced too, you can only use it once in an encounter and it has a cooldown period. You’ll also have a slow-motion “last chance” but its triggered automatically, not too dissimilar from Ground Zeroes, but harder to use.
Finally, a fifth post sealed the deal:
– Also a heads up! tomorrow they will be releasing a video they showed us. covering a few things I have mentioned in more detail, and Ru having a chat with an historian.
– After I overheard a guy asking about comic-books and anime, Ru said it’s all possible, depending on how well the game sells.
And that’s pretty much it. The Order: 1886 definitely looks like an interesting game, and it appears that there’s still a lot about it that we don’t know. On Monday I’ll be heading to a launch event myself, and I’ll have more information for you then.