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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Friday, 31 August 2007

[News] [PS3]


 While at GC Leipzig I managed to chat with Julian Eggebrecht, Co-Founder & President of Factor 5, about the upcoming Lair. The first thing Julian said was that Lair was a perfect fit for the PS3. Factor 5 wanted to design a flight game but not a regular flight game, they wanted something new, the next step. Lair is that next step.

 When doing the initial brainstorming for the game they thought they should have a living mount instead of just a vehicle, but they wanted something that was instantly recognizable and loved, hence the dragons.

"We used evolutionary theory to design Jurassic Park like bodies for the dragons," he said as he brought the camera in close for a 360 dragon shot. Seeing the game up close and personal like this I am forced to say they succeeded in that aspect. The body of the dragon looks realistic and theoretically possible and the texturing on the skin is amazing and I thought I could reach out and touch it in all its 1080p glory on the big screen LCD they were using.

Moving on from the mount to the world itself he stated they wanted to develop a game with dragons where there was no 'fair maiden' but instead a "world based more on current events." Events that include things like 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Things that have had dramatic impact in the real world. In the game the story takes place in a world ravaged by endless conflict and natural disaster where a call for peace turns into a bloodbath of betrayal and deceit.

"This is a story of men going to war," Julian said as we watched some of the 60 minutes of beautifully rendered cut scenes. "But then about halfway through the game you start to question who is good and who is bad." It's a good plot twist and many people I know have asked the same questions about real-life political and military leaders of late. I always believe that good and evil are based on your viewpoint. The villains, I think, generally see themselves as the 'good' guy, doing what must be done to further a cause. It's a dangerous way of thinking but it's true. Of course some villains simply want power or to wreck havoc.

As soon as he started flying the dragon I could tell this game was different. The dragon has realistic flight mechanics and looked like it should fly. To tie the gamer into the experience Factor 5 decided to use the Sixaxis controller's motion sensing for flight instead of mashing buttons to stay in the air. In addition to the standard fire-breathing dragon attacks of fairy tales these are true fighting machines. They are bred for war and know how to fight, this allows you to physically attack others in the game by crashing into them 'punching,' biting and clawing. In addition you can do combos and grapple with another dragon and fight while dropping towards the ground. The higher you are when you hit them the longer you have to inflict some serious damage to them using the carnage system in what looks cinematic but is a fully interactive struggle.

"But this is not only an aerial combat game," Julian added as he dove his dragon to the ground in the midst of a small advancing contingent of enemy troops, "you can seamlessly go from aerial to ground combat, essentially making the dragon a tank." I have a blank spot in my notes here because I was too busy staring wide-eyed as he took his dragon and mowed down the enemy troops in what I must say would be a fashion I would expect a dragon to do. "These guys aren't a threat, I mean you are on a dragon," I remember him saying as his dragon sent soldiers flying and sprawling in all directions. "You can even eat them to regain energy," he said as his dragon chomped into a seriously unfortunate soldier before taking flight again. The transition is absolutely seamless as he said. One moment his dragon is chomping a soldier in half and the next moment he is taking flight to rejoin the fight in the sky. If I did not see the screen reacting to him using the Sixaxis I would have thought I were watching a film.

Moving on we discusses a variety of other things that will be in the game as well including

  • Upgrades, Medals, and Leaderboards: Gain abilities and upgrades rewarded for completing missions and for achieving medals based on performance. Then compare your statistics against other gamers via the online leaderboards and chat about how to get better scores on the online forums.
  • True 7.1 Surround Sound: Uncompressed 7.1 surround sound to truly experience the sounds of war like never before.
  • Immersive Orchestral Score: Acclaimed feature-film composer John Debney (Sin City, The Passion of the Christ).
  • No Radar. Instead there is a ranged vision that tints friends and enemies different colors and gives more information than a small radar window up in the corner would do.
  • Rend. You are able to grab onto objects and shake the Sixaxis to tear them to pieces or pick things up and use them as projectiles.
  • Dynamic time passage. During a battle with a massive tower the level is so long that it actually changes from night to day during the fight.
  • 10-15 hours of basic gameplay but additional time for replayability.

The game certainly looks ready for it's 4 September US release. Sorry Europe but you will have to wait until the end of October for it.

Screen Shot Gallery:  LOGO-LAIR-layered_300dpi_copy

Anticipation Level: Extremely High (I may go without food to get a PS3 and this game)

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Developer: Factor 5

Platform: PlayStation 3

Genre: Action Adventure

Rating: TBC



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