Rogue Warrior Impressions

Bethesda shows off its personality-driven revamp of its upcoming action game, now with a whole lot more Mickey Rourke.

It has been quite a while since we saw much on Bethesda's Rogue Warrior. When we saw it in 2006, the game was set to be a tactical shooter developed by Zombie. Flash-forward to April 2009 and Bethesda's London press event, where a totally revamped version of the game was shown off. Developer Rebellion was on hand to demo some of the game and talk about its new direction.

Rogue Warrior is now a "personality focused" shooter, which is the result of Bethesda's thinking about the best way to showcase former Navy SEAL Richard "Dick" Marcinko. The decorated officer has since gone on to be an author, whose work includes an autobiography, penned with John Weismann, and a series of fictional novels. Although Marcinko's autobiography is titled Rogue Warrior, the game is not based on his life--though it was suggested that there are some grains of truth in the story as well as in Dick's brutal fighting style. Instead, the game sticks to the spirit of his fiction novels, although using an updated setting of North Korea, and it relies on Marcinko's experience to give the action a layer of authenticity and, of course, personality.

The demo we saw showed off the game's personality focus quickly, thanks to the inclusion of expletive-laden quips from Dick--voiced by veteran actor Mickey Rourke--which pop up at almost every opportunity. The demo, intended to show off the different styles of gameplay in Rogue Warrior, featured highlights from the fourth level of the game, which finds Dick heading to the Korean-Russian border to prevent missiles from being shipped to Russia.

While there was the expected sneaking around and aggressive shooting, the game will also emphasize "quiet kills," which are essentially context-sensitive stealth kills inspired by Marcinko's experience in the field and, more often than not, delivered with a quip. It was mentioned that the game will feature roughly 25 of the stealth kills. The ones we saw seemed to fixate on knifeplay and stabbing, and the brutality of some of them--stabbings to the face and crotch--was particularly noteworthy. In addition, we saw some third-person cover-style shooting that required Dick to take cover while dealing with enemies. The focus of the level revolves around setting C4 in a complex while either avoiding or dealing with enemy forces.

Some of the "stealth" kills are somewhat lacking in subtlety.

The level then shifted to a slower pace of gameplay that focused on sneaking as Dick slipped into the complex interior. To deal with the enemies, Dick took out overhead lights, which brought guards over. He then switched to night vision to better take the guards out. Unfortunately, one of the problems you'll encounter in the game is Murphy's Law, which will ensure that no matter how smoothly a mission is going, something will go wrong, forcing you out of stealth mode to take swift, decisive, and invariably bloody action to save yourself and complete the mission. At the moment, the specific timing of when things fall apart on you will vary based on your performance, but the team is still tweaking balance. The demo ended with Dick decoupling the train cars with missiles and detonating his C4 before heading off with a quip.

A Q&A session following the demo let us get more info on the upcoming game. The quiet kills will be a context-sensitive action assigned to a button and randomized. The key to them is ensuring that you're within the proper range without being spotted. The game will take place in Korea and Russia in the late 1980s and will send Dick to a variety of locations both under US military command and after he has gone rogue. In addition to the single-player game, Rogue Warrior will feature a multiplayer mode with deathmatch and team deathmatch on six unique maps for up to 16 people. The quiet kills will be usable during multiplayer matches to ensure maximum humiliation of your enemies. The team is aiming for an '80s action-movie feel, which is pretty clear thanks to Dick's Rambo-esque appearance and swinging ponytail. The multiplayer mode will feature a ranking system that will offer rewards to the highest-ranked player in a match: while other players will use skins based on supporting characters in the game, the top-ranked player will use a special skin based on Marcinko.

Brutality looks set to be the game's shibboleth.

The game's presentation is coming along. The audio, using Mickey Rourke, was working in the version we saw, and it should go without saying that Rourke does a fine job of selling Dick's lines. In terms of visuals, there are still some rough spots that need polishing up, but they're to be expected in a work-in-progress game.

Based on what we saw, Rogue Warrior looks like it's set in the personality department. Marcinko's quips and Rourke's delivery appear to be a potent combo. As far as the actual game goes, what we saw was still pretty rough around the edges. The basics you'd expect seem to be covered well--third-person shooting, cover, and so on--but we're waiting to play the game to see how it all works together. Rogue Warrior is slated to ship toward the end of the year for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

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38 comments
DaGhOsT187
DaGhOsT187

Sad the betheseda made this game a huge dump in Dicks name !!

shadowkiller11
shadowkiller11

Seems decent actually which is not helping as there is too many games coming out.

Rhatik
Rhatik

you know what would be cool is a game where you can pick steven seagal arnold or rambo to play as in some kinda military game titled like a 80's movie example ROIDED WARRIOR

aflamingninja
aflamingninja

This game does need personality to do Dick Marcinko's novels justice, he's such an over-the-top personality it's hard to believe that he is a real person. But in his autobiography he bashes hollywood's perception of war (the book was written in 1992, and he made fun of the quote "macho BS" in 80's action movies) so a move to make this game into an 80's action movie seems like an odd decision to me. It seemed better suited as an ultra-realistic tactical shooter, because, after all, Dick Marcinko IS a real person.

mossongreens
mossongreens

@dbpvivi like rtek_billabong is saying we have all played ww1 and 2 games are you to young for them? Lame comment...there's not much to get about the eighties that you can't rent a movie to enlighten youself about especially considering it's a kin to Rambo. If it weren't for movies like that and the eighties when games were born then we wouldn't have the games we have now. Bottom line...rent some movies like Rambo maybe some old Arnold movies some delta force movies and yoru set. Senseless violence, one man army over the top action...what's not to love or get? I don't know why I said all that; this doesn't look like more than a 7 anyway...par to simple a concept. The random stealth kill specials are dumb people want more control...let's make a game where a character has tekken like combo list of fight moves and has guns too...

topeira
topeira

the took an original , open ended squad based idea and changed it to something rather ordinary and mundane?!?! i dont get it. it seems, for the time being, that they have ruined the game.

rtek_billabong
rtek_billabong

People play games that were based in the 40s(COD:WaW and many others). So what if the game is based in the 80s, at least it's not based in the future like the Ghost Recon series. The 80s is just the time in which the storyline is set, which means we can expect to see a storyline over future games in the series that will progress through the years. This game is going to kickass.

dbpvivi
dbpvivi

How many gamers where born 1965-170? To understand the 80's films you have to have been old enough at the time. I'm 21 and really this 80's timespan is too old for me, its more for my old man (not a gamer). Obviously trying to follow trends found in the music industry lol epic fail based on the fact that this doesn't really have an audience to sell to.

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

Might be okay, but 80s?!?

Startech01
Startech01

Could be cool! If the multiplayer mode is good, thats all i need to be happy ;)

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

I was hoping to see gameplay footage

antonio619play
antonio619play

Slowly Anticipating this one,But Not Expecting It To Be Great But We'll Have To Wait and see.

Ryozo
Ryozo

So they've abandoned the squad-based tactical shooter for something more akin to Dead to Rights or recent takes on Punisher; let's hope Rebellion takes the time they need to get things done right. While I am generally ambivalent about this change there is one thing I will miss about the multiplayer component: if I recall correctly, the plan was for there to be, instead of discrete maps, a large array of map sections. The 'map' for a given match would be composed of three - one chosen by each team, plus another selected randomly - joined together.

GR1MNIR
GR1MNIR

Having read his autobiography many years ago, I'm very intrigued by this game. I like the new look for it, and I'm hoping it delivers.

Waffen_SS84
Waffen_SS84

And here comes Tenchu 5 : Rogue Warriorz, the chronicles of Demo-Dick the barbarian

king_bobo
king_bobo

@ ninjarat Indeed, it COULD be. Then again it could be a 6.5-er on Gamespot or worse. Here's to hoping it's the former...

TehEliteElite
TehEliteElite

@ starduke: That's because it's the 80's! Things don't have to make sense! :D

starduke
starduke

Stealth kills where the dude is swearing all the time? Doesn't sound stealthly to me. I thought stealth was supposed to be silent and deadly, Of course, this dudes not a Ninja. I just with people would make a game that is like this without all the swearing. Although, I think it fits somewhat here, I think going up behind some one and saying "BLEEP" could actually result in them turning around and shooting you, instead of a you doing a stealth kill. It might actually be a great game, but not very stealthy, unless he goes"bleep" very silently.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

"This game is based off a no shjt real American Hero of legendary proportions" Theres a suprise! lol

FalcorLucDragon
FalcorLucDragon

Actually being in the Navy and in Korea at the moment this game is wildly interesting to me. I cant wait to kill thousands of koreans. My Korean girlfriend will prob not find it so cool though. If any of you have the chance read Rogue Warrior. This game is based off a no shjt real American Hero of legendary proportions. My friend and I have a man-crush on Demo Dick, so I cant wait to play this game.

bodylotion
bodylotion

A game like this seems to be done a thousand times, the only thing that can make this game stand apart from the rest is a compelling story. Not Bethesda's best quality.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I will try to remain open minded, however will be very interested to see how this compares with SC (the daddy of Stealth Action Games).

Sivus_2000
Sivus_2000

Graphics aren't too amazing but I bet they're making up for that with a High Framerate and large environments.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Sounds ok, I want to see more

Matt215
Matt215

What the hell! I was so looking forward to a new team-based tactical shooter! They're just turning this into a mainstream GOW ripoff...

dareough
dareough

Man bethseda has a couple of games in development.

muthsera666
muthsera666

I was hoping that it hadn't been canceled, but I hadn't heard about it for so long.

dual_barrel
dual_barrel

I hope the Koreans look cool in this game unlike the baby faced ones in Crysis.

billyjunxix
billyjunxix

Already on my game list for my PS3. I like it more now because it looks better to be a third person game.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

I prefered it when it was suposed to be an FPS, but the game looks cool anyway, i'll give it a try

kytomasi
kytomasi

Bethesda is in the news alot lol.

buratzuki
buratzuki

i need to watch the gameplay b4 i make my decision.

Lonelynight
Lonelynight

I thought this was going to be a tactical shooter....

Spartan1017
Spartan1017

this is looking pretty cool, i've been waiting on it for a while now, glad to see it didn't fall by the wayside. fyi, the book is great...