E3 2008: Velvet Assassin First Impressions

Stealth action and sabotage missions are the order of the day as we watch Violet Summers undermine the Axis powers.

During WWII, there were countless spies who embarked on missions of sabotage and espionage to help their side gain the upper hand. Violet Summers, the protagonist of Velvet Assassin, is based on a real-life Allied spy named Violet Szabo. Though the game encompasses missions beyond the ones Szabo is known to have performed, the developer has used her as inspiration and worked hard to make the game as authentic as possible. We saw a mission that took Violet through the Warsaw Ghetto, and the attention to historical detail was surely one of the most impressive elements of this early build.

The game began with a black and white dream sequence that showed images of a war-torn city and a rough military hospital. Violet's voice narrated a brief soliloquy that described some of the horrors she'd seen, and she spoke of her soldier husband whose death in battle spurred her to action. The game plays out as Violet's memories are recounted from the hospital bed where she lies unconscious. Throughout the following action, Violet would occasionally chime in with grim observations and thoughts, enhancing the gritty atmosphere.

Velvet Assassin is a third-person action game, and Violet is a slim Caucasian women with a sweep of dark hair. In the mission we saw, Violet was wearing an aviator jacket and jeans, and we were told other missions will have her dressing in other clothes appropriate to the scene. In this particular mission, Violet was charged with delivering cyanide to an Allied prisoner trapped in a Nazi jail with no hope of escape. It began in the sewers, and the first thing we noticed was a lavender halo around Violet's body. This appears when she is in shadows or hiding in brush, and it signals that she is invisible to her enemies. In the bottom left corner of the screen was a red circle that tracked her health, and that too had a lavender rim that indicated invisibility. Stealth is a key element of gameplay, and Violet will have to stay quiet as well as hidden if she is to remain undetected.

Sneaking through the sewer, Violet soon came upon a Nazi guard. As she approached silently from behind, the image of a button appeared on the screen with just one word next to it: Kill. With the press of a button Violet whipped out her knife, stabbed the guard once in the small of the back, then slit his throat. Two new prompts appeared onscreen giving the option to search or drag the body. Guards who come across their dead colleagues will go into a suspicious state and will search the area, busting out flashlights if it is dark. If they don't find anything, they'll revert to a passive state, but if they spot you they'll go into alert mode and bullets will start flying.

The next time Violet came across a guard, she wasn't quite so stealthy. Faced with a machine gun and wielding only a knife, she tapped into a different kind of arsenal. She injected herself with a shot of morphine and time slowed down, allowing her to get into position to knife her enemy. During this sequence the environment becomes saturated with white light, shimmering red blood cells float through the air, and Violet dons a dirty white slip. The idea behind this is that any time Violet is in danger, her unconscious self lying on the hospital bed becomes distressed, and the nurses inject her with morphine. The resulting effect smoothes things over for her temporarily, but don't think this is a get-out-of-death-free card. Violet can still die if her health is fully depleted, and she has a limited amount of morphine at her disposal.

Moving onward, Violet picked up a small collectible box and earned 100 experience points. These points will allow her to upgrade a few skills and attributes, like her health, morphine count, morphine duration, and stealth sound dampening. As she crawled up out of the sewers, we were treated to a view of the Warsaw Ghetto in the late afternoon. Orange light suffused the air, giving everything a vivid, somewhat surreal feel. The streets were littered with furniture thrown from the windows by raiding Germans, and distant gunshots signaled thorough apartment searches much like the ones that actually occurred in that neighborhood.

Vanquishing a few more foes, Violet eventually picked up a Luger pistol. When the next guard appeared, our presenter whipped out Violet's gun and used the free aim to pull off a headshot. Gunshots will definitely attract attention, but sometimes that just serves as a helpful way of lining enemies up and knocking them down. We were told that Violet can also whistle to distract guards, or shoot a silenced pistol at a distant surface to misdirect her enemies. In a nasty little maneuver, Violet sneaked up behind a guard, pulled the pin on the grenade in his belt, and sneaked away. Moments later, the guard was no more.

Violet will travel to many locations to complete her missions, like the Notre Dame in Paris and a fuel storage bunker in Germany. All throughout she will encounter grisly scenes and take on realistic missions that, when completed, won't feel like victory. The attention to atmosphere is impressive, and Violet is shaping up to be a unique and engaging protagonist. Velvet Assassin is slated to be available at the end of 2008, and we'll keep you posted as this WWII stealth game nears completion.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

Chris_Watters

Chris Watters

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.
Velvet Assassin

Velvet Assassin

Follow
56 comments
krash1980
krash1980

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

krash1980
krash1980

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

krash1980
krash1980

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

Conduras
Conduras

it's a nice way to kill my time till may 5 and Broken Steel and please stop beening so anal about the morphine , the game besides her name has nothing to do with Violet Szabo , it's just a publicity stunt to sell more copies .

Vasot
Vasot

This game will have a bad ending... Violet Szabo was captured and she was interrogated under torture, enduring sexual assault, rape and severe beatings. From there, she was moved, first to Fresnes Prison in Paris, then in August 1944 to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where over 92,000 women died. There, she endured hard labour and malnutrition. Violette Szabo was executed on or about 5 February 1945 and her body disposed of in the crematorium.

ferreira1235
ferreira1235

This game reminds me of hitman... I hope it´s as good as they say

pidow
pidow

WWII morphine was the drug for every thing medical or otherwise. It was called "God gift" for doctors than and now.

Twisted_Ego
Twisted_Ego

i have high hopes for this game...reminds me of thief deadly shadows abit

starduke
starduke

The game happens when Violet is in a coma. Using morphine to make things slow down is an option in the game. The way the game sounds the poor lady will end up addicted by the end of the game, that is if she actually makes it out of the coma. Not a good way to treat a character based on Violette Szabo, at all. It's a stupid, disgusting, concept. They should call it Druggie Assasin. The game might actully be good if they took out the morphine bit.

beatleshair
beatleshair

I agree with you HAL. I first heard of Violette Szabo in reading about this game awhile ago, and when I read all about her and came back to the game news i found myself disgusted. The morphine mode is just...disgusting.

HAL5000
HAL5000

Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushell Szabo must be turning in her grave. I feel the disrespect this game exhibits towards the memory of a fallen war hero just to make a buck is deplorable. I am surprised that more military and civilian organizations are not speaking out against this game. Morphine mode says it all. I lost many family members during wartime's, and this is not how I would want my loved ones honored. This game is on my banned list.

ib_banging
ib_banging

Yea, like Abacus said, this is more splinter cell kinda gamepla, what with the sneaking around and stuff, i can almost imagine me pullin the pin on the grenade!! Ooooo.. I cant wait for this one, its gonna rock!!

-abacus-
-abacus-

WTF people you don't even know what you're talking about. Hitman is one of the less stealth-based games in the stealth series, definitely not sneaker (such as Splinter Cell or Thief), because you don't hide and you can just blast everything. MGS2 wasn't very stealth oriented at all. Sure, it wasn't action oriented or anything, but it did NOT seem like a stealth game (possibly due to the graphical style... it was just weirdly not stealthy when you were walking behind the guards and they didnt notice you at all.) In my opinion MGS3 was the best of the MGS games, it was the most stealth-based and included the most ninja moves (like neckbreaking, hostage taking, etc) Splinter Cell is a good stealth game but I don't like it that much due to it's linearity. Assassin's Creed isn't a stealth game at all. It's an action-adventure game. This game seems to be more Splinter cell than anything, by the videos it seem quite linear, focusing on sneaking and stabbing, not gunplay.

jadefury27
jadefury27

this sounds like the name of a gay porn. just puttin it out there.

lucebuce
lucebuce

hmm , just hope its not too heavy , otherwise im definitely picking it up ( meaning im gonna drop it , and then pick it up again )

Sodney
Sodney

Love stealth games:)

jdog_129
jdog_129

umm I disagree Asasins creed was not really a stealth game unfortunatly when compared to hitman. and the original and second metal gear were true sneaker but the fourth was too action oriented. I have high hopes for this game if it continues to focus on nife combat as opposed to gun play

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

A mix of Assasins Creed & Splinter Cell, set in WW2, lets wait and see.

pidow
pidow

I like this type of game if offers a lot more opportunities to accomplish mission(s), also gives one more than one route to take on accomplishing mission(s)....I will buy and this point.

Gamezster
Gamezster

I'm interested. Seems like a good stealth game with lots of stealthy tatics. Well, except the grenade one. It works until it blows. I think it will get an 8.0

beeftothetaco
beeftothetaco

this looks like every other game starring a "sexy" heroine out there. the MAXIMUM score this thing can possibly get is a 5

emorainbo
emorainbo

Hoorah for stealth action games!!

greenzealot
greenzealot

I'm interested but a little put off by talk of slow motion (explained through the morphine) and a 3rd person perspective. I will deffinately check it out though.

lowkey254
lowkey254

@homestarmy6 ditto. Assassins Creed meets Metal Gear. "Assassins Gear Violet"

homestarmy6
homestarmy6

Sounds like Assassins Creed with a WWII vet as a main character...and yeah I also laughed at the part where they wrote " is a white Caucasian women"

blazincanuck
blazincanuck

sounds good.good thing my momma wont c me playing this.i hope it doesn't disappoint. i think this is a really good concept of a game.

scorch-62
scorch-62

"...and Violet is a slim Caucasian women..." I lol'd

tyzwain
tyzwain

A truely original WW2 concept. Looking really good, I just hope they keep it like MGS and not like Assassin's Creed. This game deserves to do well.

Huntress67
Huntress67

I'm a large fan of stealth...Thief series except #3, Deus Ex with a large amount of stealth involved, etc., but drug enhancement (even though she's in hospital don't understand why they had to use that premise to have her use drugs) could have used her in actual time play and finding med packs or something? Even in Starcraft, didn't like use of stim packs, etc. I dunno, devs seem to be reaching too much to make something different, just like using sex in Witcher. Good grief, can't we just get a good, interesting game to play without going over the deep end?

ognen
ognen

I can't wait for this game.

grafkhun
grafkhun

I reread the morphine thing but I don't get it, her unconscious self in the hospital? the nurse represents the morphine injection? what the hell? anyways, my immediate thought was MGS with a chick in WW2! but I think this has potential.

dark_being
dark_being

I've bben waiting for a good stealth game ever since Thief Deadly Shadows. hopefully Velvet Assasin will fit the bill. The game looks interesting enough to keep an eye on.

Mehfuz
Mehfuz

not interested at all

gmax
gmax

Does sound interesting, but upgrading your morphine duration... Hmm...

sphinx-shadow
sphinx-shadow

Sounds cool can't wait to hear and see more.

volcomstoner180
volcomstoner180

i need more into to be fully interested...or maybe just a video

Macgyver40
Macgyver40

Velvet assasin sounds great real person with the game power how cool

TheThreeSeat
TheThreeSeat

This game is going to have some ridiculous competition if it releases this fall. I actually hope it gets delayed past the holiday season so it can get attention rather than be buried by Gears, Fallout, Fable, and all the other big name games coming out.

shinian
shinian

This looks promising.

EPaul
EPaul

Hmm. seems interesting

pidow
pidow

I't says at the topof this page Q4 2008, not 2006and almost the next to last sentance "available at the end of 2008.

silva112
silva112

Why does the release date say Q4 2006?

bacchus2
bacchus2

Morphine, hey? Another game banned for Australia.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

I'm a tiny bit interested, would be nice to see some pics and videos.

WizengamotX
WizengamotX

I do feel as if we need to see more stealth-oriented games in the industry, but the AI in this game thus far present issues. Realism is of course a large factor in my buying a game, though varying degrees of realism correspond in due respect to the setting and mood. Who expects a realistic Team Fortress 2 game? Not I. The fact the guards can see a dead body, search for the killer, and then go back to patrol as if life is good, is a large indicator that the Velvet Assassin is behind today's standard of stealth in strides. Nice concept though, and I do enjoy some good dark elements.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

this game has potential..might be a good one