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New Fracture details, co-op confirmed!

If you missed the strangely entertaining (and musically epic) trailer for the upcoming LucasArts title Fracture (or if you're like me, Psi-Ops with land-altering grenades minus the psychic abilities), please go back and watch it. It just hit the right chords for me -- a guy who generally doesn't find entertainment in first- and third-person shooters. PSU scored an interview with LucasArts producer David Perkinson and we're going to summarize it. It's pretty cool, so go ahead and read the entire thing if you're particularly interested.

  • The game takes place in America and addresses many "hot button" issues like stem cell research, genetic engineering and global warming. Using American landforms or man-made icons like the Golden Gate Bridge will give players a feeling familiarity and emotional stake in the game's story. Hopefully.
  • Moral and ethical shades of gray permeate the story -- right and wrong aren't clearly defined and what you see ain't what you get. So to speak.
  • Terrain deformation is integral to gameplay: solving puzzles, creating advantageous battlegrounds, and destruction are just as important as the generic aim + shoot formula in most similar titles.
  • Weapons are unique, too -- machine guns will eat away at the ground and a subterranean missile launcher allows you to detonate the missile at will. More details to come on weaponry.
  • An "augmentation" system will be put into play later on -- think status-up boosts in sports game, classic RPGs, or games like KOTOR.
  • There will be both split-screen Co-Op and online play available from day one.
  • LucasArts claims to take advantage of each system's specialties (PS3 and 360), but they're vague on purpose. We expect an interesting announcement in the coming months.
  • As far as resolution and framerate goes, they're vague again but from the comment "We plan to optimize the game to achieve a high frame-rate, while maintaining the level of gameplay desired" we translate that as 720p/60fps. Agreed?

That's it for now. Don't know why, but this game might just turn into a sleeper hit or a very, very far miss. Odds are higher on a sleeper hit, though, since it seems to share a few design similarities with the aforementioned Psi-Ops. We'll keep you updated on this one.
[Thanks, Justin!]

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. You're probably right on the whole 720p front, which is unfortunate. I don't really get how there's THAT much of a performance hit in making the jump to 1080i. Looking at it from the perspective of how many pixels per second there are to update, it's 720x1280x60 for 720p and 1080x1920x30 for 1080i. That's 55 million operations per second versus 62 million. (I may be making some HUGE mistake in my theorization - let me know if I am). I'm guessing it's more complicated than that, otherwise we'd be getting some games in 1080i. I know a lot of this stuff is moot to most HDTV owners, but for suckers like me with sets that don't to 720p, we're stuck with playing games in standard definition.

And please, don't say "But Sony will release a firmware update to allow scaling in games!", because they won't. They can't. They didn't include a hardware scaler in the PS3. It's just not possible, and if it were, Sony would have actually come out and said that they were doing something about it.

But back to the actual topic - Fracture looks really cool, and any game that draws comparisons to Psi-Ops is worth a look. Seems like one of those sort of unintentionally sandbox type titles where you could have a lot of fun just screwing around.

Posted at 4:52PM on May 20th 2007 by Stef Geiger

2. How could it be classified as a sandbox title? Its going to be very linear but still plenty of fun.

From what I have heard about each platform, they could make the AI a little bit smarter on the box and have some more items on the screen for the PS to the 3.

Isn't sortof unfair to compare I's to P's when it comes to televisions?

Why are no games set in Canada?

Posted at 7:39PM on May 20th 2007 by massive_98

3. "But Sony will release a firmware update to allow scaling in games!", because they won't. They can't. They didn't include a hardware scaler in the PS3"

Idiot. Phil Harrison already confirmed DVD upscaling on the PS3.

Posted at 9:03PM on May 20th 2007 by Breeze

4. Thanks for calling me an idiot, Breeze. I'm well aware that Harrison said we'd eventually get DVD upscaling. However, that scaling will be done through software, since there's plenty of CPU power left over during DVD decoding. This isn't the case while running a game. Seriously though, I mean, I know *I'm* an ass, but you just called me an idiot because you thought I was incorrect. Take a chill pill. Seeing as it's you who's wrong here, it doesn't seem like you should be the one telling people they're stupid.

@2: To me, a sandbox title is any game that lets you to irrelevant stuff (Like have fun throwing corpses into things using telekinesis in Psi-Ops, or making caves with your rocket launcher in Red Faction). To me, I take "sandbox" to mean "Do whatever you want." The game can still be linear (so long as it isn't on rails) and still be a sandbox title.

Posted at 9:59PM on May 20th 2007 by Stef Geiger

5. @Stef Geiger

I apologize for calling you an idiot. The word I should have used is 'ignorant'. Unless you have definitive proof that the PS3 has no HW scalar then please present it. If not, then you don't know what you're talking about. Do you think that just because Sony did not put on a Dog and Pony show, like Microsoft did, when then showed off the ANA scalar that the PS3 doesn't have one because they did not decide to participate in yet another pathetic Microsoft PR move. I can only imagine the lather that was foaming from the offices in Redmond when they first heard of this rumor. Like a little boy, Microsoft shot their load at the first opportunity. Sony does not operate like that. In fact we don't even know the specifics of the RSX because all of this information is under NDA. Yes, even the RSX is shrouded in secrecy.

The following is from a PS3 developer named Dark Knight on the AVS forums:

"What is being said above is a lot of assumptions and a lot of that assumption is wrong. See, I could explain the issue and why it was not allowed to be used, and explain what the solution is doing, and explain what the SDK support does, but a lot of that would be seriously breaking NDA. I can confirm that it is definitely a hardware scaler, it is always referred to as a hardware scaler, and that you could access it before in the SDK simply by setting it up the code right. What has changed now is how developers interact with that scaler, and that they can now use the scaler with some restrictions."

The PS3 SDK is still in its infancy and there is still work ongoing to continually integrate the hardware with the firmware. If you need more proof, talk to a developer on the Beyond 3D forums because they've already confirmed the existence of the HW scalaer.

Posted at 10:26PM on May 20th 2007 by Breeze

6. Well, I'm sure I speak for a lot of people here when I say that that's the first I've heard about the PS3 having a hardware scaler. I don't really see how/why Sony messed up in it's implementation though. The scaler in the 360 works completely regardless of how a game was coded. One of the virtues of having scaling done in hardware is that it's no longer dependent on CPU or how a game is coded, it's always functional, because it essentially takes the video output signal and scales it, instead of, say, having the game render at a specific resolution. Regardless, the 360 clearly has a better or at least better IMPLEMENTED hardware scaler, and the PS3's is, at the moment, seriously lacking. And despite what you said about Sony not being the type to parade things about, I expected that there was no scanner in part because they NEVER talked about it. Don't get me wrong, I love Sony, but most people here will agree that one of Sony's biggest problems is that they over promise and under-deliver. It would have been more Sony's style to, at launch say "Don't worry, proper hardware scaling is coming in a future update.", instead of what Phil said - {Something to the affect of} "It's a very small portion of HDTV owners that don't have units that support 720p", which to most people sounds like "Yeah, we decided that rather than raise the cost of each unit by $10, it'd be far easier to shaft that small part of the market that doesn't have a 720p TV."

Oh, and the ONLY imaginable reason for Sony to not release the final specs on the RSX is that they know that people like us immediately compare specs. The RSX, when originally announced, was extremely close in power to the 360's graphics chip. Rather than allow this comparison, they decided to say that the final clock speed would remain a question mark. Think about it - if they had actually (at the last minute) decided to RAISE the clock speed, they'd publicize that like crazy.

And dude, a word of advice, when you call the competition "a little boy" etc, your rabid fanboyism comes through WAY too strong. It hurts your otherwise apparently legitimate argument.

Posted at 12:44AM on May 21st 2007 by Stef Geiger

7. I did like that about Red Faction. But that game pissed me off at one point. Some door was locked so I thought that I should just blow a hole in the wall to get through to the other side. I wasted all my explosives to get through. Then the door opened.

But anyways you people make no sense whatsoever. You could be right, I just don't understand you.


(Yay I got a Wii today)

Posted at 12:13PM on May 21st 2007 by massive_98

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