We had the chance to take an early look at Tron 2.0, the upcoming first-person action game from Monolith and Disney Interactive. Tron 2.0 will be an action game inspired by the events in the classic 1982 motion picture, and the game's story will actually follow the plot of the movie. Programmer Allan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner's character in the movie) has advanced to a senior engineering position at the company that had created the evil Master Control Program 20 years ago, and he uncovers a secret plot on the part of the company to abuse a new form of technology. Bradley's son Jet becomes involved in the plot and eventually ends up on the other side, traveling through the world of Tron as a program.
Players will play as Jet in the game, and the developer is making sure to create a fully developed "real world" that will help advance the story through cinematics--but most of the game will take place within the computer-generated world. As a program, Jet will have opportunities to revisit the mainframe--where the events in the original movie took place--but will also be able to explore the inner workings of PDAs, desktop computers, and firewalls. Over the course of the game, he'll have occasion to disrupt the digital structures around him (known as performing an "illegal operation" in the game), in which case he'll have to deal with ICPs--intrusion countermeasure programs--burly humanoid programs that are the digital equivalent of guards. He'll also be able to visit lightcycle courses--the developers will include both the classic look of the original lightcycles from the movie, as well as an updated version, which will be designed by artist Syd Mead, the creator of the original lightcycles. And he'll have the opportunity to fight duels in disc arenas, as in the classic arcade game; among other things, discs can be hurled as weapons, set to explode in order to damage enemies or used as shields to absorb or deflect attacks.
Even at this early stage, Tron 2.0 looks very impressive. The art team has made good use of alpha-mask environment mapping, which helps create the pulsating veins of light that commonly line the walls and ceilings of the game's digital world. Tron 2.0 will make use of LithTech's powerful Triton engine, which will, among other things, include an edge generator that adds the colorful glowing edges to the game's walls and structures--a much better way of re-creating the look of the film than simply stacking textures. Tron 2.0 will be colorful but will make use of simple, clean color palettes--the areas and characters we saw were generally of a single, glowing color, with subtle variations on that color, to help reproduce the neon light effect from the film.
Tron 2.0 is currently scheduled for release in the fall of 2003, but the game will be on display at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo later this month. We'll have more information and coverage on Tron 2.0 from the show.