Lost Planet 3: The Last Thing You Expected

Unless you expected a civilian hero, a personal story, and Western developer Spark Unlimited (in which case, good job).

by

After Lost Planet 2's modest sales and lukewarm reviews, Capcom must have had a long, hard think on its sci-fi shooter series. A change of direction was probable, then, but not an about-face like this: Lost Planet 3 is a character-driven, primarily single-player adventure set years before the events of the first game. It's recognisably a Lost Planet outing (frozen plains, armoured mech suits, glowing akrid weak points), but there's a civilian hero, a personal story, engaging voice acting, and nary a nod at multiplayer co-op in its debut presentation at Capcom's annual Captivate showcase.

The new direction comes partly of a new studio. Lost Planet 3 is in the works at US studio Spark Unlimited, not with a Capcom in-house team. The new looks come of a new engine--not Capcom's own MT Framework, but ubiquitous workhorse Unreal, doing a spiffy job on the bluish alien glaciers, orange sunlight, and glinting mechs of E.D.N. III. The action, meanwhile, combines third-person shooting and exploration with first-person mech piloting and robo-brawling.

Where Lost Planet 2 took place after a thaw, revealing new jungle and desert environments, Lost Planet 3 turns back the clock to when the alien world was fully frozen, in the early days of human colonisation. Franchise director Kenji Oguro, still overseeing, promises a return to strictly cold climes, implying the second game steered too far from the icy terrain that marked out game one. "When you think of Lost Planet," he says, "you think of snow and ice and a very desolate world. This is one of the core concepts of Lost Planet 3."

Capcom producer Andrew Szymanski, meanwhile, talks up the story, a tale of "surviving in a harsh environment and unravelling its mysteries" as everyman protagonist Jim, a bearded construction labourer working to support his wife and baby back on Earth. ("The more I earn, the sooner I get to hold you both again," he says.) The hands-off demo was heavy on the cutscenes, charmingly voiced, showing Jim waking from a nap in the cab of his construction mech suit--the game's main vehicle and the series' biggest mech to date, says Oguro-san.

The portion presented comes from early in the game, starting in the enormous ice cavern hangar of the colony construction squad to which Jim is contracted. He ambles around this quest and upgrade hub in third person, whipping out a Dead Space-style holographic menu interface projected from a gauntlet gizmo. When he's piloting the mech suit, on the other hand, the game pops into first person: a cockpit view through the rig's frosty windows, from which he controls its mighty power arms--one a giant claw, one a giant drill, both strictly meant for construction work and clearing paths, but also handy in a scrap with a giant akrid crab beast.

Of which there are plenty on Jim's first mission. In it, he's despatched to plant ice-melting thermal posts at an intended building site. When a sudden storm ices up the cockpit canopy, he has to kick his way out--and the rest of the time, we're told, you can hop in and out at almost any point. Initially there are man-sized, four-legged akrid to see off; later come the colossal crab monsters, inevitable glowing weak spots protected by thick plates of translucent ice, as well as smallish, skittering, buglike variants. These latter beasties turn up in a mysteriously abandoned base Jim discovers while going about his day job; locations like these are inaccessible by mech, leaving Jim to tramp about on foot.

And the view from his mech suit.

The strategic akrid battles that combine shooting and mech controls are the most interesting. In one scuffle with an armoured, scorpionlike akrid, Jim uses the suit's claw hand to seize the monster's giant arm and pin it in place, before leaping out of the cockpit to fire away at exposed underbelly. In other fights, the mech can do all the work, grabbing with one arm and drilling with the other, spattering the windows with glowing akrid goo.

As first impressions go, this was a good one--a blast of icy fresh air after the ho-hum shooting and stomping of game two. Spark's last offering was the mediocre Legendary, but that's ancient history (2008), and on the strength of the demo, be prepared to keep an open mind. Capcom's approach here to rejuvenating Lost Planet (hand it to a Western studio) resembles the Devil May Cry reboot given to British developer Ninja Theory. Here's hoping it pays off.

Discussion

102 comments
ALEXIAMOS
ALEXIAMOS

Well if they didn't resolve the split-screen issues, it will be another big failfor Capcom, however i do like the general idea of the game, but it should include more effortsto face the new big games! on the market.and Jane u are cute :) great preview :) 

LatinproX
LatinproX

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

nanquan72
nanquan72

Jane is as cute in the video as her photo suggests! I'm not sure what those two fellas were talking about. Too distracted.

almat96
almat96

@lordking123 chances are, it will be. This series has never been over-the-top with the violence, and most likely that's how it'll stay. Moving it into the M rating would be a major mistake (at least in my opinion)

shadow580
shadow580

Forced co-op may not always work, especially when you want to play a game in single player mode and have dumb AI partners with you. Still, a ''tacked on'' co-op is at least better than nothing and it doesn't subtract from the game at all. Good examples would be Killzone 3 and Resistance 3. This way single player doesn't feel watered down and the added co-op is at least useful for those who want it. I hope the LP3 will be good. I'm slightly worried though that if they make it too mainstream and streamline everything, including customization. Fingers crossed.

zenstrata
zenstrata

Jane, I have to ask, why would gamespot uk fear spiders and oblivion because you have become section editor? ;)

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

Thank God their going in the opposite direction of Lost Planet 2, that game was a dsigrace.

Art_games4ever
Art_games4ever

Lately, I've been worried that the game industry was heading more and more towards the mindless(running/shooting/respawning/running/shooting...) multiplayer direction, but, yet again, I see a demand for a strong narrative, single player experience. Also, I know that Capcom had a mediocore run during the next gen console era, but I believe that they will return to their glory days!

Eclipse-015
Eclipse-015

To me both Lost Planet games have been barely above average, but I believe that they got the potential to make this one be amazing.

dab0ne
dab0ne

@VercettiTommyy I agree. Too bad I'm boycotting Capcom for their horrible DLC practices or I would consider buying this game. Maybe I'll get it used in a couple years.

VercettiTommyy
VercettiTommyy

This is a great move, co-op and multiplayer driven games have almost always been a step back. I salute this singleplayer, story driven oriented decision and I hope that more series will follow its example.

Xandoom
Xandoom

I love this series. It's had it's flaws, but not every good game has to be perfect. I'm glad they are making a third one. Oh and pardon my avatar, Eraserhead has yet to be resized.

gytis49847
gytis49847

It takes 5 years until they undrestud that same players want good story , god damit.

shivavns10
shivavns10

i've played lost planet 2 & i liked it & so i think for the fourth coming part

Sam-os_IMP
Sam-os_IMP

Finally Capcom does something with sense, stop forcing multiplayer on people, thats goes for Resident Evil as well.

Atheno
Atheno

I liked Lost Planet 1, but 2 felt different. I still played it but it never really felt like Lost Planet to me. I'm interested deeply in a better single player story and back to the snow.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

No co-op? Failure, Capcom. Failure and disgust. Instead of fixing it, you abandon it.

redmoonseven
redmoonseven

capcom game stories are going backwards lol ;p

DrakonianLegend
DrakonianLegend

I personally prefer a lush environment, but I thought due to the snowy environment the game was able showcase some other, and unique, qualities. Qualities such as surprise bug attacks and hidden things as well as a more open world feel. So there is good and bad with both in my opinion and I just hope for a solid game with good game play.

jmace1
jmace1

That was a 10/10 interview. I honestly feel as if I know exactly what the developer is trying to accomplish and the direction they are moving.

joedan38
joedan38

I actually did expect this at all but if they want this game to be good Capcom is gonna have to completely change the game. I liked Lost Planet 1 but 2 I wasn't a big fan of so i really hope they can create great game.

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

I personally like LP2. Looks like everything I liked about it is gone. Dang

dimis_
dimis_

With both games they'd made a lethal mistake that brought the game's fun down, be it the thermal thingies in LP1, and how much you had to count on the squad in LP2. They thought "challenge", everyone else thought "chore". Let's hope that this does what War For Cybertron did for Transformers. :-)

FITRS
FITRS

Thanks Jane for the interview. Great to see a continuation of the Lost Planet franchise. I hope while they have a solid single player storyline/game, they also retain coop because I loved LP2 for it.

jollybest1
jollybest1

So no SW Battlefront 3 ???...............

OGKNav
OGKNav

So in a nutshell, it'll end up like RE:ORC? Great.

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

It's Capcom Jane. Of course we expected a Western dev team...

scratchisme
scratchisme

Why don't people ever admit that their last game bombed?

MGSKojima
MGSKojima

I don't know...I loved both lost planets even though the reviews were crappy, the 2nd one in my opinion was pretty fun. I didn't expect to see this headlined though lol

SHINRIEL
SHINRIEL

I hope the single player will be good this time , and please , keep the single player and multiplayer separated this time.

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

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

daveg1
daveg1

well,,, it wants to be better than the last peice of trash that was lost planet 2! shame cos lost planet was a good game..

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

20 or so random people seem to recognize the laughing stock that is Spark, what exactly was lost in translation?

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

.............and on a side note,, who the hell keeps giving Spark Unlimited paychecks?

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

@evzorz My god how could i have ever forgotten the company that quite possibly created the single worst game on this current generation of consoles.. Ah this really frikken sucks Turning Point - Fall of liberty, there are no words in the human language to describe the inconceivable terriblenesss of this game, a lobotamy would have been preferable, inconceivable iknow, to those who doubt me in my use of inconceivable.....inconceivable

JohnMark320
JohnMark320

I remember Lost Planet was the game that truly made me go "wow" about this gen's graphic capabilities. I hope to experience something similar with this title.

rat-fish
rat-fish

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

dovberg
dovberg

seems mostly about single player when lost planet is 99.9% about multiplayer.

abex44
abex44

Voice actor for Jim is totally Samuel Witwer (Star Wars Force Unleashed) This is looking like a good redemption for Lost Planet 2. Though nothing actually can be said until we see gameplay.

kaychun88
kaychun88

I'm hoping this is not yet another disappointment like LP2. *Fingers cross*

SlimeSwayze
SlimeSwayze

The last thing I expected was for Capcom to NOT outsource yet another franchise to a Western developer.

evilfish82
evilfish82

Well at least the main character is not an effeminate anime badass.

chicack
chicack

OW YEAH!... wait? 2013?

Sento_brean
Sento_brean

I really liked the first lost planet but I liked the second one better, I liked the more lush environments and the crazy boss battles, I wish they would have just continued but at least it is looking good so far.

X-RS
X-RS

I def feel like I can already get a better sense of exploration from that vid. Reminds me of the beginnig to Spriggan. And on another note, as I am excited for this, I've also gotten a hypesurge for that ZOE collection >.>

Ratatoskr321
Ratatoskr321

Certainly not a pre-order from me. I could never even finish the first game after a glitch prevented me from going any further unless I restarted. I really want to support Capcom but with announcements like this, they're making it really hard for me...

janedouglas
janedouglas

 @abex44 Good spot! I think you might well be right, listening to Witwer in interviews and to the Lost Planet 3 footage again. Nice one.