As our weeklong look at Capcom's new Bionic Commando winds down, we wrap things up with a few more bits of info mined from a recent trip to Sweden to visit Grin's Stockholm studio. Besides getting a look at the level of the game demoed at Capcom's press event, we also had the chance to get peeks at other parts of the game that were being worked on during our visit. Though Grin and Capcom were being pretty tight lipped about a lot of what we asked, we were still able to get some info out of them.
So what the heck is going on? Why is a hero like Nathan in jail? What's up with the mysterious terrorist organization? Exact details on the story are being kept in the dark, but we did get some interesting bits of info on the game's story. While we haven't found out just why Nathan is imprisoned, we did find out how things changed for the bionic soldiers since the original game. Apparently, in the time after the first adventure, a "bionic purge" occurred wherein the government decided that the bionic technology was too volatile to control and the military programs using it were shut down. Unfortunately, this means all the soldiers who were enhanced with the technology had to give it up. For someone like Nathan, this wasn't too big of a deal because he has a real arm, but not everyone was so lucky. Apparently, many of the soldiers with bionic enhancements wound up getting them to replace limbs or organs they'd lost.
With the bionics recall and no replacement tech available, the quality of life for many of the soldiers looked like it was going to take a nosedive. So, rather than lose their limbs, many of the soldiers took off and were branded fugitives. Unfortunately, this made them prime recruits for the mysterious organization that is at the center of the trouble in the game. We weren't able to find out how much Nathan was tied up in all the troubles, but when the game starts, he's in prison with his bionic arm removed. If you look closely during the trailer, you'll see a bit where large projectiles hit one of the ruined buildings in Ascension City. Apparently, once Nathan is tapped to investigate the situation inside the bombed city, the military decides he's too dangerous with his arm, so the bionic appendage is actually sent in alongside him in a separate pod.
The only environment really showcased in the trailer and gameplay clips seen so far was Ascension City or, rather, the ruins of it. Obviously, we were curious as to what else to expect from the game. We were able to see some concept sketches for some areas, as well as another environment in motion. The concept art stuff was just bits and pieces of areas that looked like a facility or lab--all hallways and corridors. The stage we saw in motion introduced some organic variety to the mix. The swamp area still had a postapocalyptic look but featured a tangle of debris strewn throughout a body of water and trees (which were perfect for swinging). In asking about the environments in the game, we were told that the action will take place throughout the continent of what passes for the US in the game.
As we've seen in the demos and videos, Nathan's arm is a powerful aide to his mission. However, it will be capable of more than we've seen so far. As we noted in our last look at the game, the arm appears to have some holographic technology built into it. During our visit to Grin, we got to see and hear about some other uses of the arm, which should give the game some depth. While we can't offer specific details on some of the other arm features we saw--because they're still very much works in progress and may change before the game is done--we can say that the stuff we've seen is pretty logical. By that, we mean, if it looks like you think you should be able to do something with the arm, you can--whether it's swinging, tethering, or dealing with enemies. The most intriguing info on the arm that Grin would only tease us with is the ability to upgrade it. From the sound of it, you won't be upgrading the arm's swinging wire but simply enhancing its abilities and possibly adding more. No one would spill details on the system or how it would work, but it certainly has a lot of potential to become a slick part of the action.
The last key bit of info we got about the game revolved around the enemies. Based on what we said about the game's story, it's probably not too surprising to hear that your enemies in the game will include bionically enhanced soldiers, some of whom may include faces familiar to Nathan. Most importantly, the game is set to feature some crazy bosses, if the first one we've seen is any indication. We got to see a tiny bit of Mohole, the crazy robot worm you get a glimpse of in the trailer. Anyone hoping for a tank or something to help even the odds should stop now because there will not be any playable vehicles included in the game. Unfortunately for Nathan, the old-school video game rules apply, so it looks like he'll be dealing with the robotic menace on foot.
So there you have it--all we've got on Bionic Commando so far. The game has a lot of promise that we're hoping Capcom and Grin can fulfill. Check out our last two exclusive clips of gameplay to see more.