Brink Impressions

We check out an extended demo of Bethesda and Splash Damage's upcoming futuristic shooter.

Jumping from a brief teaser trailer to a half-hour live game demo in the space of a week is a brave way to build interest in a game, but Bethesda seems to be handling it well. Brink is the new, futuristic first-person shooter from Quake Wars studio Splash Damage, which has gone to great lengths to inject some personality into this sometimes-predictable genre. We got our first taste of Brink in a hands-off demo at Bethesda's booth during E3 2009.

Brink takes place in the year 2035 in a floating city called The Ark: humanity's last refuge after Earth's near-total destruction. Two warring factions, the Security and the Resistance, are going head to head in a bid to outdo each other and take control of The Ark. What sets Brink apart from other shooters is that players do not take on the role of a pre-assigned protagonist. Rather, they create their own using the game's character-customization tool. You can take your pick from a variety of clothes, face shapes, hairstyles, scars, weapons, tattoos, and quirky add-ons such as bloody bandages. You can even pick your race. Players are also given the choice to pick from the two factions and play the entire campaign in both.

Splash Damage CEO Paul Wedgewood began the Brink demo with an abandoned airport just outside The Ark to demonstrate the game's S.M.A.R.T system (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). The system looks set to work a lot like Mirror's Edge, whereby jumping from platform to platform is achieved simply by moving the camera in the direction in which you want your character to go. In the demo, Wedgewood reached a higher platform by holding down the sprint button and pointing the camera upward, which prompted his character to jump to the destination.

In the next part of the demo we were taken to The Ark dockyards, where Wedgewood demonstrated the different combat roles in the Security faction. Splash Damage has really tried to do something new by introducing this element of gameplay, and from what we saw it appears to work smoothly. Once you have picked a faction, players will also be able to pick a class of combat in that faction. For example, Wedgewood began the dockyards mission as an operative. However, he was soon prompted to change his class as he advanced through the mission when his team leader hinted that the team could really use an engineer to deactivate a particular switch and repair a land mine. When this happens, players will need to find one of the command posts scattered throughout the game and change classes as required. For example, Wedgewood had the option of becoming an engineer or a soldier, and chose engineer. Each class has its own benefits and preconfigured weapon layouts (which players can choose themselves). The class menu also shows players how many experience points they will receive for becoming a certain class and completing that mission.

Brink's combat appeared to follow the basic shooter formula. The demo that we were shown was very combat-heavy, and the enemies took a long time to go down. However, objectives change constantly depending on where players are and what they are doing, and will often call for a class change. So, if you're an engineer, you may find yourself doing less shooting and more tampering. Although we saw some cool guns (such as a grenade launcher), there did not appear to be a cover mechanic.

Although the game seems to have has a very solid single-player campaign, the attraction will be co-op and online multiplayer. The game supports eight-player co-op and an online multiplayer mode that lets you play through the campaign in either faction with other players as your teammates. No matter how you choose to play, all of your actions and missions let you collect experience points, which go toward weapon upgrades, customization upgrades, and unlocking new abilities, classes, and mission types.

Splash Damage has also made an effort with Brink's distinctive art style, which, though not stepping too far from such shooters as Gears of War, seems to also remain in a class of its own. The characters appear with slightly elongated faces and mismatched body proportions, which gives them a cartoon/comic-book feel. On the other hand, the environments are highly realistic, which makes for an interesting combination.

After our first demo, we think Brink appears to have fulfilled Splash Damage's vision of creating a first-person shooter with a bit of a twist, and we look forward to more impressions and hands-on time with the game.

It is slated for release on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in 2010.

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Discussion

63 comments
AlexMK4
AlexMK4

Watched previews/trailer and it looks just AWSM, quite a bit differnt from the single player story driven feel Bethesda has always done. I know many have been waiting for them to do a multiplayer for years so this is bound to be a huge one like the rest.

thefireflame
thefireflame

thism game sounds so cool, you can change your character so on the secound play through you can play very diffrent

echo-sentience
echo-sentience

seeing as this is just a demo, there might be a change in the gender choice

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

so, i can't make a girl character? That is a minus point

flip_flop_
flip_flop_

Sorry, if I can not create a big butch woman with pointy madonna boobs then I'm just not happy.

DarkFrankhs
DarkFrankhs

FPS with a bit of a twist.... No offence, but isn't that all FPS these days? Things need more than a 'bit of twist' - I'm also massively bored with the dystopian future thing... Fallout & Borderlands have already done that... Another? Really?!? I know Mad Max was good but, seriously...

polywoly9
polywoly9

@hellpolice This game is not being developed by Bethesda, Its being produced by them. It is highly unlikely that they are using the same engien. (Bethesda is playing Activision's role on this one, hopefully they are working on a new Elder Scrolls game in there studio)

hellpolice
hellpolice

The fact that you can create your own character does not set the game apart from the others now choosing the two factions that's kind of fresh on this type of games. I hope it does not feel like Fallout3 did felt somewhat like ES Oblivion because they were build in the same engine. Use a different engine Bethesda! I will check it out but is not a must buy for me.

fearless_alive
fearless_alive

@mine20000 i didn't mean the game was going to be like Fallout 3... i meant that if it succeeds on a level on which Fallout 3 did it will be awesome... I agree with you... it will be different but it will be big ;)

tevic
tevic

Brink does not look exciting at all. Dislikable character models, boring "industrial - abandoned" environments... I need more than this to be interested...

emails200000000
emails200000000

This game looks really awesome, I just hope that SMART works well and is eventually used in other games

druunken_Ma5ter
druunken_Ma5ter

wheres the mmo for morrowind? people have been wanting that for years.

3DSilent
3DSilent

looks interesting and i have been following Bethesda's role in games for a while now, no matter what the role is. With the recent failure of Rogue Warrior though... Hm will see, but its worth keeping an eye out for...

fullmetalpwner9
fullmetalpwner9

also waaay excited about drop-in drop-out co-op online.... yeeesssss!!!

fullmetalpwner9
fullmetalpwner9

the only problem i see is no cover mechanic. other than that, way 2 go bethesda!!

ace87x
ace87x

It looks really cool and I like the designs in the game...but it seems kind of weird that there aren't any girls *that I know of* in this game.. *shrug*

mine20000
mine20000

@fearless_alive I'm sorry you must have missed Video Games 101, developers make and design games, publishers sell them. In this case Splash Damage will be taking the development seat, you know the one responsible for those Enemy Territory games, quake and wolfenstein, while Bethesda will be taking the role of publisher for this game. The game isn't even in the same genre as Fallout 3 so with different genres and different developers how did you expect to see something like Fallout 3? Beats me?! Probably a few others. Is this a game to watch? Yes!!!! Will it resemble Fallout 3 at all? Well they both are set in the future and you get guns in both of them, that's about it. @BlueChecker Really guys, Bethesda isn't making this game, so Character customization is a fresh idea FROM splash @Neosworwd How does it not seem different? Two huge elements you have already mentioned plus the fact you can play entirely through the single player campaign without every facing a computer controlled enemy or ally. That is kind of huge. As a side note super excited about the SMART button.

RedBlade965
RedBlade965

This game looks really cool and interesting.

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

Look Foward to hearing more from this game.

fearless_alive
fearless_alive

Just because Bethesda is the publisher they will influence the game very much... and that is a good thing... if they come close to Fallout 3 it will be cool... and i hope they will go 1 step further with Brink! I'll keep an eye on it for sure ;)

BlueChecker
BlueChecker

A few have mentioned that creating you character from scratch is a cool idea (though nothing new from Bethesda). I just wonder how much you will actually see your character. I remember playing Fallout 3, spending ages making my character's face, and then not seeing it ever again! (Though granted you would see it in vats sometimes, but not enough to justify spending 30 min making a face).

Hellfire93
Hellfire93

Looks quite promising looking forward to see how it turns out

DuCaTiAcE
DuCaTiAcE

ive always wanted to be able to build my character from scratch, hopefully brink does it right...

Neosword
Neosword

I'm still skeptical. Beyond the movement and classes it doesn't really seem all that revolutionary. That's not to say it doesn't sound good, I'm just left wondering how it's going to be majorly different from other shooters out there.

marked-one101
marked-one101

This looks awesome. Can't wait for next year. Sounds very interesting also. Go Bethesda. (Can't wait for Oct.13th, Fallout 3: GOTY!)

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

SMART sounds smart , mistimed user input wont ruin the character animations for the opposing party

xeroker85
xeroker85

I like the idea of creating the player from scractch, could be good

joeborg14
joeborg14

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

HadrianII
HadrianII

Mundus, Actually they're both a publisher and a developer, They're just publishing this one but elder scrolls and Fallout 3 are all bethesda

mundus
mundus

@UnreaLuigi Actually its not Bethesda that makes this game they are just the publisher.

UnreaLuigi
UnreaLuigi

bethesda always seems to come out with something great, hopefully that pattern continues... developers of the decade perhaps haha

UnreaLuigi
UnreaLuigi

i want some gameplay footage.. i hear graphics are on killzone 2 level? i wanna c for myself

amo_lang123
amo_lang123

i don't know why, but it sounds a lot like the maps will be battlefront 2 style, or the battlefield series. with command points. i don't know if i like that.... i would prefer it if they had an open world...

MrPMPisBeefy
MrPMPisBeefy

It's an interesting idea. Hopefully it works out too. Glad Peter Molyneux isn't touting this one. Otherwise we would never see it take true form.

afrosud12
afrosud12

please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck bethesda keep your eyes trained on splash damage at all times for the love of all the is holy. I want this game to be great to badly

eagles_band
eagles_band

@jokingTree Bethesda isn't actually developing the game, but only publishing it.

jokingTree
jokingTree

seems interesting...never go wrong with Bethesda

J_78
J_78

Sweeeeet!

RussianRAGE
RussianRAGE

Gah!!! I DO NOT like cell shaded games. Not one bit. But i do have to be honest the game itself seems pretty cool.

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

guyname: why?? theres already a good - sounding cell shaded rpg shooter coming out.. i dont want all games to be cell shaded.. only some...

Chronikas
Chronikas

If those screens are in-game, even my dual GTX-280's ain't gonna cut it.