Black creator talks up Bodycount on PS3, 360

Q&A: Shooter specialist Stuart Black shares details on "glossy techno-thriller" shooter, due out in Q1 2011; says Black 2 "bit the dust" at EA.

by

In 2008, EA Games president Frank Gibeau admitted Electronic Arts was pondering a sequel to Black, its gun-centric, 2006 shooter for the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox. While nothing concrete has surfaced about the proposed project, one of the game's creators has unveiled an all-new shooter that aims to deliver the same sort of highly destructible environments and realistic gunplay.

Bodycount will let players shoot away cover such as concrete walls.

The designer in question is Stuart Black, who is now leading a team at Codemasters' studio in the British city of Guildford. As revealed by a magazine leak yesterday, the game is Bodycount and is in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Due out in the first quarter of 2011, it is one of the first new internally developed intellectual properties from the British publisher in years.

"When I joined Codemasters, one of the big appeals for me was how serious Codemasters were about original IP," Black told GameSpot. "But I wasn't particularly interested in making another shooter, right. I wasn't really ready to go dipping my toes into those waters again. But, I'm a great FPS fan myself, right, I love playing FPSs and there was just this itch."

Based on the same proprietary EGO engine as the Dirt racing games and Operation Flashpoint, Bodycount will be a "glossy techno-thriller," according to Black. According to Codemasters, the game will see players as a commando who kills foes known only as "targets" for a shadowy organization called simply "the Network." Though he wouldn't go into explicit detail, Black likened the game's story to that of the television series FlashForward, in which the world's entire population has a two-minute blackout during which they see their lives six months into the future.

"It's not a military game; it's not a future game; it's not a game of the past; it's set now in the present day, but it has a strong technological thread," he told GameSpot. "You start in the present, and you take one step into the future during the course of the game. Then, you make your choice on whether you think that's a good or a bad thing."

Unlike Black, Bodycount will have a variety of multiplayer modes, including co-op. However, the game's campaign will remain single-player. Black explained the decision. saying, "As we got into the story more and we got into our characters more, we suddenly realized that from an emotional point of view and the emotional connection we want the player to have, particularly with that lead character, we can't have another player in there with them. "

However, just because the multiplayer and co-op modes are separated from the main story, doesn't mean that the three aren't interconnected. Said Black, "We also realized that because our single-player campaign is so focused on this character that we actually have an opportunity, with our co-op and our multiplayer modes, to look at more of the backstory of the world that the player's story fits into."

Codemasters Guildford is also trying to fashion realistic guns like the 2006 game Black.

When asked if the multiplayer and co-op modes would be a prequel like the multiplayer modes in BioShock 2, Black said, "It'll be both a prequel and a sequel, right, because we'll be trying to advance before and then after the player was in that part of the world."

He also said that while the multiplayer emphasis will be on Team Deathmatch, the game will have something akin to Gears of War 2's Horde mode. The designer overseeing Bodycount's multiplayer development was in charge of the multiplayer aspect of Burnout Paradise at Criterion Games, where Black also worked.

Right now, Bodycount's maximum number of players is 12; a number limited by the sheer amount of destructible elements in the game's world. Black believes it will even outdo recent destructible-environment shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in what he called "intimate" levels of destruction.

As for Black 2, the game designer said it had been in development shortly after the original game's release but had been shelved when he left EA. "Not so long ago, people were saying, 'Gee, is there ever going to be a sequel?' I was kind of thinking, 'No, I don't think there is,'" he said. "I don't know what they're doing now. I certainly did some preliminary preproduction work on Black 2, once we finished Black, the first three or four months. I moved on quite quickly after that."

He continued, "A lot of the guys on the team I'm working with here now carried on with that and did a lot of preproduction for about a year or so on Black [2], before that kind of bit the dust. So, I don't really have personal knowledge about how that all played out. But there seemed to be overall a kind of general lack of direction. I'd be surprised if they managed that again."

Discussion

88 comments
coasterride509
coasterride509

Spiritual successors are so much better then sequels. With a spiritual successor you get the same great gameplay but a fresh take on the world built around it. I always feel like sequels are just cash-ins. If you don't believe me, see Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.

jwn25
jwn25

I enjoyed black, will look forward to seeing what this is like!

meyh100
meyh100

too early to judge, we'll wait and see

Franzkill
Franzkill

Err ok so to all the people giving ChiefFreeman thumbs down must either be blind or need to actually open the images and take a good look at the detail on the environment and gun models. Even this early into development the visuals still look mediocre at best. BTW give me a thumbs down if you want, that is if you agree that this game matches Killzone 2 in terms of visual fidelity...

Cbordi
Cbordi

what the fuk why not Black 2? loved the first game.

lamprey263
lamprey263

never got around to trying Black when it was on the original Xbox but my friends love it, I'll look forward to seeing if this shooter will be any good

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

@CreatureRising You're hoping it will be really hokey?

Agika
Agika

from memory this looks exactly like black but in hd

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

Its got the name Body Count, meaning it could really hokey or really awesome. Hoping for the former

FabledVeteran
FabledVeteran

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hman1111
hman1111

I don't think Black got enough love, it was a good game. Shame that they probably won't make a Black 2.

newb16
newb16

So no Black 2?WTF?

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@CHECKTHISTA , "well, developers are trying to sell their systems, and who would by a system if he already has one that runs this game?" What are you talking about? developers are trying to sell their game, hardware manufacturers are trying to sell their systems. Few people, except maybe hardcore MMO fans, replace their system for one game. A new game might motivate a pc gamer to get a new rig, but he isnt doing it solely for one new game. Developers publish on consoles because they sell better, if they didnt, then they would stick to PC development or move to it. Thus, rts sticks on consoles, and fps has largely (though not completely) moved to consoles, as well as pcs. Also, piracy is a huge issue for PC developers, and though an issue on consoles, still much easier to control for. Thats why you are now seeing PC games requiring you to be connected to servers, even for single player experiences, because they are an attempt to stop piracy.

AustinH147
AustinH147

Sounds great! I was waiting for a sequel to Black to be made.

metalkid9
metalkid9

After playing crysis and Battlefield bad company I'm never getting another fps without destructable environment. Unless they bring something new which equals the fun of that.

metalkid9
metalkid9

looks good jsut from the pcs. hope it lives up to the hype!

xatman911
xatman911

If this game was on PC exclusive- 12 player limit would stretch all the way to 64 something.

CHECKTHISTA
CHECKTHISTA

@Shardz7 well, developers are trying to sell their systems, and who would by a system if he already has one that runs this game? :D but this is looking interesting to me, i hope we will get mor of the intel to this one soon =)

Shardz7
Shardz7

Gah...console exclusive games. Meh. This won't affect me at all as I have a real gaming rig. Developers shoot themselves in the foot when they decide to make hardware exclusive games and then the publisher cries in the end that they didn't make enough money in their quarterly report.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

Gee, this looks EXACTLY like the screens from BLACK, right down to those low resolution textures and the gun models. So it's BLACK 2 minus a significant graphical upgrade. Seriously, this looks no different at all.

Quietpower09
Quietpower09

BLACK would have been one of my personal favorite FPS...if only it had online multiplayer.

k0r3aN_pR1d3
k0r3aN_pR1d3

Destructible environments is getting overrated, especially seeing how many FPS's these days have extremely arcadey guns where the only difference between them all is damage.

l33tek
l33tek

@green_dominator: Most gamers play the story/campaign before jumping into team deathmatch. Black had a good story that could of been continued and expanded. I mean c`mon, who doesn't like Black-Ops. The big WTF at the end of the game made me think a part 2 was on the way. Not knowing what they had created was their downfall, because they created a game with great possibilities. By not continuing the story, yeah Black will forever be lost in translation, with no multiplayer option. Don't hate it though, it's still a great game with enemies to shoot or blow up.

firedrakes
firedrakes

i like black seeing this. the matrix office scene when trying to get to the elevator. it happens in the game in terms of bullets every where

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

The first Black was a major letdown. Sure, it had some neat ideas, but the so-called '' gun-porn '' wasn't very good, and was later outshone by Bad Company with the massive sound effects and gun behavior. As for Bodycount, well, we'll see. But i'm skeptical.

green_dominator
green_dominator

Black really wasn't all that good...... Sure you had access to some cool guns and a few really memorable battles but the game as a whole didn't sit well with me, no deathmatch, you could earn special weapons but not being able to take them online or against your friends made that aspect useless...... The end of the game was a big WTF..... Sorry, unless they make a game that makes sense and features that make sense to it's genre I'm not interested.....

l33tek
l33tek

"overall a kind of general lack of direction." ?? Umm, well at the end of Black the bad guy got away. Seems to me, that's where Black [2] starts. Sounds logical to keep a good story going instead of shelving it, don't ya think? He's the only bad guy, that I know, that got away and will never be caught or killed because of a lack of direction. Lame excuse if you ask me.

cube-gage
cube-gage

Im sure there was an old PC shooter called body count, I remember playing it on a PC at school as the schools PC supplier included a little games folder and it had this game called body count. Funny thing was it was elementary/Primary school too so really it shouldnt of been available. the teacher used to alway catch me playing it and tell me off lol.

kubb724
kubb724

RF1,MERc1 and so on i agree with you when you say relying this and that and not so much on story and gamplay . that metro 2033 looks like it could have a great story i read the book n it was pretty cool

joshphillips
joshphillips

Can't wait to be rocked by this game. Rocked like a hurricane!

bighunt15
bighunt15

I would love to see a sequel to Black. I loved that game when it came out.

SouL-Tak3R
SouL-Tak3R

Not many, but Black was one of the titles that sort of relied on that. So I don't see how they can make a game good again if only relying on that and not story and great gameplay and such. I hate to say it, but from the looks of it the new game it is just going to be a boring generic shooter. -Unless they can really expand on the destruction aspect. Such as really making every bullet take bits and pieces away and being able to really change how its done and not just knock off predetermined chunks of wall.

kubb724
kubb724

very true before it was all common but there were games out that did this way before black

SouL-Tak3R
SouL-Tak3R

Kubb...the newest one. before destruction of buildings and all that stuff was common. I know it wasn't out before red faction 2

kubb724
kubb724

@ soultaker....Black didnt exist before red faction

SouL-Tak3R
SouL-Tak3R

Sorry but Black was cool before Bad Company, Red Faction guerilla, and all those other games that include destruction by shooting their buildings etc. They are getting really common and standard for some. Now I don't see much of a point... but hey, it might still be good who knows.

abbnormmal
abbnormmal

No co-op because "Emotionally blah blah blah". What a cop-out. 99.99% of the time people will not care if player 2 is a nameless/faceless/missing from cutscenes/dialogs. I sure dont.

Incubus420
Incubus420

I understand that sales are the only thing that will drive a company to make a product but whatever happened to making games that are within a niche and provide an amazing experience. No one wants to take a risk and make a game that isn't going to sell to billions of people. What happened to games like Okami, MvsC2, God Hand, and Shadow of the Colossus etc? These games were made for just the right people the few gamers that you knew would appreciate it and really saver the experience they had with it. The only games that were up there that could do that would probably be Mass Effect, Halo, Gears, and Kill zone2. (I’m a Ps3 fan boy btw ) It’s time for shooters to just slow down.

Incubus420
Incubus420

Please try and make a game other than a FPS. I can't believe how Guns rule the world. It's unreal! Honestly it’s gotten to the point where anyone that sees a RPG, Hack and Slash, or even a Fighting game is just like, "what kind of videogame is this." I am sick of this! There are only 6 non-PC Shooters that should be the benchmark: Gears, Halo, Call of Duty, Uncharted 2, Kill zone2, and Mass Effect. Each of these games have been nominated or won GOTY. If the game you are developing isn't half as good as any of those games and isn't doing anything new than why waste your time and money. The industry is not moving forward because everyone is just copying each other due to the amount of sales. Wii does amazing with motion control, and now we see everyone rushing their motion controller to market. MW sales over a billion, then everyone will be creating their own version shooter and fail.

Grinsill
Grinsill

@ Doolum not interested. sorry but am not really into your opinion on FPS Game.

kubb724
kubb724

@doolum then why look at reveiw ..of an FPS...read about FPS and comment on FPS

Doolum
Doolum

not interested.sorry but am not really into FPS game.

Durb118
Durb118

LMAO...an Ego engine based shooter! Wow..really Wow. Seems CM didn't learn from the steaming turd the was Dragon Failing. Ego engine...what a pisser!

coruscant
coruscant

Black was the best looking shooter last generation, and also had brilliant gameplay. I hope they can recreate this with this new game.

enoslives7
enoslives7

Black was the best FPS to come along in years. I had it for the PS2 and xbox. It seemed to be a bit harder on the xbox.

Gamesmasterx
Gamesmasterx

The horde mode alike thing has me sold. I love any game with some form of bot based MP. Bodycount, nice name, if it's anything like Black was, well, it's a must have.

kubb724
kubb724

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]