Killer 7 has been the subject of much speculation since it was first announced in 2002. The game's focus is on an assassin, and the stylish cel-shaded trailers used to herald its announcement intrigued gamers who are familiar with Capcom's reputation as a developer capable of marrying style and substance. However, very little information has made its way out on the game until now. At its press event in Las Vegas earlier this year, Capcom finally served up some meaty information on the upcoming game, which we can finally share with you. With Shinji Mikami producing the game and Goichi Suda writing the game's scenario, Killer 7 is shaping up to be a promising game with a refreshingly twisted premise that isn't at all what we expected.
Killer 7 is a bizarre story of revenge and different personas, and it follows the life of one very odd man. Your part in the game is to stop a wave of indiscriminate violence plaguing the world. You'll take the role of Harman Smith, an unlikely wheelchair-bound assassin who leads a life as the intermediary link between seven alter egos. While the presence of multiple personalities is usually viewed as an inconvenience in one's life, it's worked out pretty well for Harman. By switching between his seven different identities, Harman employs each character's abilities to terminate targets he feels deserve to die.
When a powerful underworld kingpin unleashes violent creatures collectively called "Heaven's Smile," the crime lord quickly becomes a fixture on Harman's "to do" list after he's contracted by the US government to take care of some business. It seems Heaven's Smile are soldiers affixed with horrific smiles who wreak havoc on city streets, destroying anything unlucky enough to cross their path and overtaking the minds of the populace. It will be up to you to switch between Harman's seven "partners" and use the special powers that dwell within them in order to assassinate Kun Lan, the notorious criminal overlord behind all this madness. As you'd expect, taking Kun Lan down is going to be a messy affair.
Despite the odds, Harman seems pretty well equipped to take on a criminal overlord, thanks to his "friends." Unlike most folks with normal personalities, Harman's personas are real in more ways than one. Rather than manifest as marked personality changes in Harman, the voices in his head actually come with bodies. As Harman takes on these personalities, he physically changes to become them. Thankfully, each persona's different strengths, special abilities, and weapons complement each other pretty well and help Harman proceed through the game.
The seven personalities make up what's called the "Smith Alliance" and are certainly an eclectic bunch. Garcian Smith is the clairvoyant leader of the "alliance." He has the ability to turn invisible and serves as the "cleaner" that recovers the bodies of fallen teammates. Dan Smith is a strong and extremely well-trained individual with the ability to slow time. Mask De Smith is a grenade-launcher-wielding man who can emit flames from his body to counter attacks by his enemies, effectively rendering him invincible. Coyote Smith has the ability to unleash a frighteningly destructive "gang kick" that can knock down enemies with a single blow.
Kaede Smith, the only female personality of the group, steals the lives of her enemies by blasting out a shower of blood supercharged with a deadly virus. Con Smith is a young man blessed with exceptional hearing who uses his ability to reveal the locations of enemies prowling about in the shadows. Finally, Kevin Smith is described as the outsider of the group (although we have to wonder if a multiple personality can be an outsider) and is a master of various knife-wielding techniques.
The game will be set up like a book and will feature 10 scenarios, each of which will take roughly two hours to finish. Each of the various chapters will revolve around assassinating a specific target, and you'll have to choose which of Harman's personalities will serve you best as you play. The game mechanics are still a little hazy, but from the looks of the footage shown, the bulk of the action will take place from a third-person perspective, with shooting sequences switching to a first-person perspective. One of the unique aspects of Killer 7 is that its gameplay is more than just standard shooter fare. The Heaven's Smile soldiers are difficult to defeat because they're not solid until scanned by one of Harman's characters, such as Con, and identified. Once that's done, they can be shot with impunity. The catch to the situation is that they usually attack by running into you and exploding (a definite problem).
As far as the graphics go, Killer 7's look is heavily influenced by film noir and uses a unique cel-shading technique to create a surreal world that suits the game's bizarre story quite well. From the looks of the assorted clips we've seen, you can expect to see a plethora of blood and some stylized environments to boot. The game's sense of style is very slick and extends to little touches such as the cool layout and appearance of its interfaces and menus.
From what we've seen so far, Killer 7 is shaping up to be a stylish action game that doesn't look quite like anything you've ever seen before. The unique story and gameplay complement each other very well, and the cel-shaded look helps sell the whole package nicely. Killer 7 is currently slated to ship for the GameCube this winter. Look for more on the game in the coming months.