The Bourne Conspiracy Hands-On Update

Robert Ludlum's thrilling books are about to become a Bourne-again action game. We took another look.

Jason Bourne is elusive, just ask the CIA, but we recently caught up with him at High Moon Studios in a playable build of Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy. Though he looked a little different (the game won't use Matt Damon's likeness), there was no mistaking his lightning-fast moves, lethal resourcefulness, or highly cinematic camera cuts. The Bourne Conspiracy looks just like a Bourne movie, making it as fun to watch as it is to play.

And, if you think about it, that is quite an accomplishment. After all, the Bourne movies aren't just action movies, they're some of the best action movies ever made. They draw from Robert Ludlum's excellent books and Tony Gilroy's script-writing expertise. They also draw from the directorial talents of Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass. To make a Bourne game that does justice to the film, High Moon Studios has been working with Tony Gilroy to pen a bona fide Bourne plot, as well as Jeff Imada, who choreographed all the fights in the Bourne films.

He may not look like Matt Damon's character, but he sure does fight like him.

One of the biggest challenges, though, has been figuring out how to emulate the snappy visual style of the movies. According to Emmanuel Valdez, the director of The Bourne Conspiracy, it's not all quick camera cuts. For instance, his team discovered that the punches and kicks in the films seem so scary-fast because the film's editors were actually stripping frames out of the animation sequences. High Moon Studios has emulated this technique, and as a result, their strikes are just supernaturally quick.

Speaking of fisticuffs, the combat in The Bourne Conspiracy will attempt to make you feel like a born killer without putting you through hours of tutorials. There are two attack buttons (light and heavy), a block button, and a takedown button. The basic premise is this: By hitting an enemy, you fill an adrenaline meter. When the meter is full, you can execute a cinematic and ultraviolent takedown with the push of a button.

Some takedowns are simple martial arts affairs: a chop to the neck, kick to the right testicle, punch in the nose, kick to the left testicle, and then a leg sweep. Many, however, employ props. You might plant an enemy in a concrete pot, wipe off a whiteboard with his face, or turn off the TV with his head and shoulders. If the enemy has a weapon, you'll take it away and teach him a couple of painful lessons in its use. If there are multiple enemies, you can take them all down, provided you have enough levels of adrenaline.

If you're in a hurry, you can even down a foe on the go. We saw one hilarious instance of this in the game's re-creation of the embassy scene from The Bourne Identity. You're sprinting down a hallway, trying to elude security as a man in a business suit watches you approach. The fellow, who looks like a banker, apparently makes up his mind to take a swing. Big mistake, buddy. You hit the takedown button without breaking your pace, duck his blow, and plant a running right haymaker in his crotch without wasting a step. It's a very satisfying moment from a gameplay perspective, and it looks hilarious.

The only characters you can't finish off with a single takedown are bosses. But by the time you're through with them, they'll wish they hadn't gotten up the first time you slammed their heads in a door, much less the fifth time. But then again, they give as good as they get, so if you aren't careful, a boss will do a takedown on you. The bosses on display at the event were normal-looking fellows, which made the horrific amounts of violence inflicted on their mortal-looking bodies all the more impressive.

The CIA denies any knowledge of this technique or its use in The Bourne Conspiracy.

Of course, you don't just wander through all the episodes from Bourne's life punching people out and kicking them down stairwells--you shoot quite a few of them too! If you draw a gun, the camera moves to an over-the-shoulder perspective, with most of the normal trappings of a third-person shooter. Unique to Bourne is a vision mode you can enter to instantly take stock of where the enemies are and which objects might explode. If you imagine the way Bourne immediately sizes up situations in the films, this vision mode makes a lot of sense.

And what would a Bourne game be without car chases? You can stop wondering, because The Bourne Supremacy will definitely have them. In the sequence we saw, Bourne was trying to elude the cops in picturesque Paris. The driving mechanics looked pretty normal, though shortcuts and detours were literally highlighted by stray rays breaking through the overcast day. Also entertaining were the squeals of your passenger every time you pulled off a slick turn or rammed another car.

As you can see, there was plenty on display at High Moon Studios, but there is still much to learn about this mysterious, as well as good-looking, game of action and mystery. We'll keep you up to date with a full dossier, but in the meantime, look forward to being Bourne sometime this summer.

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

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

128 comments
Crazy_Kid314
Crazy_Kid314

The demo was fun and enjoyful. Made me have a adrenaline rush. Ill buy the game for sure. PS The driving needs to be tweaked

MisterSinister6
MisterSinister6

I plated the demo too(downloaded it for my ps3) and let me tell ya it is a pretty solid game with great controls and fun missions(even though the demo only has 3) I'm getting this!

Gloveman08
Gloveman08

I played the demo and this game is a all around action game

jacobmjl
jacobmjl

hand to hand looks awesome......but i'll probaly button mash :-)

dutch777
dutch777

Oh, this looks a fast paced all action game, but will it flop ????

Marzo_1
Marzo_1

Hope this is as good as the movies.

Iu_uI
Iu_uI

Pretty glad Matt Damon isn't the model there using actually, will make the game feel better ^^

tcooley
tcooley

I'm -blam-ing Matt Damon so he's too busy to lend his likeness to the game anyway.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

just hope they DONT make a copy of 'Punisher' whereby you are pointed in the direction of an 'Interactive object' in order to despatch your enemies, not to mention the monotonous repetative gameplay. I Love the Bourne series and just hope Sierra do it justice.

CubsTwinsFan
CubsTwinsFan

The objects are all interactive? This will be better than COD 4

NonyoBizness
NonyoBizness

thenephariouson says: who cares if it doesnt look like Matt Damon, those of you that have his posters all over your bedroom walls probably : ) lmfaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bahahahahhahahahahaaaa exactly what I was thinking anyways, this game looks kickass.. can't wait to try it

Rgallivan0015
Rgallivan0015

books were great, movies were great, and this game looks like it will be great

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

who cares if it doesnt look like Matt Damon, those of you that have his posters all over your bedroom walls probably : )

Zandonai
Zandonai

well, he doesnt look nothing with Matt Damon, that will rip out a 0.5 at my score for sure...

Franchize-24
Franchize-24

a game now,alalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalallalalalalalallalalalalalalalalalalallalalal

ghost_leader117
ghost_leader117

hi everyone! if they mess up this game i am going to be pissed as hell! loved the movies and read the books! quite a character Jason Bourne is! i wonder how does it really feels to have ur memory lost and being chased by crazy spies? peace out

Head-Cruncher
Head-Cruncher

Why doesn't Bourne look like Matt Damon in the game?! In the films and in the books he looks like Matt Damon!!!... It seems to be a good game with alot of action!

CapnQwark
CapnQwark

I love all of the movies to the point where I can say line for line on all three of them. This game is looking pretty good. There is still a lot of questions to be answered. So far the fighting does not sound disappointing. I wish they had used Matt Damon because this guy in the game doesn't "look" the part. Besides that looks good. Hope I'm not let down by the finished product.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

being a movie tie-in, lets hope its good, mind you its being done by Sierra who made Riddick and that rocked so... heres to hoping as i love the movies.

marco0798
marco0798

Massive fan but already no matt damon ={ not a good sign.

flametiger32
flametiger32

Looks pretty cool, and I'm a fan of the movies so i hope it doesn't disappoint.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

silent_riku, they will take their references from the movies, not the books!

silent_riku
silent_riku

man you people don't know what you're saying... this isn't a tie in to the movie, it's a tie in to the novel! but that being said... after watching the gameplay trailer...if most of the moves that you're gonna be doing suddenly goes into slow-mo... it's gonna be real irritating always having to wait a few seconds for a single punch to be blown... it may look cool at first but darn is it gonna be a repetitive annoyance if it happens everytime... But what am I being so pessimistic about? I do hope they pull it off cuz this one is from the book and I haven't seen a book-to-game concept turn out bad yet... here's hoping it doesn't have the same jinx as movie-to-game titles... Now if only they'd let the blood flow a little bit more...

Ash2X
Ash2X

Well,I usually don´t expect much of games like that,but this one could be really good...

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Well although i absoloutely love the Movie versions i cannot help but feel that this will be a gaming flop! With the exception of Riddick all Movie/Game tie-ins Crash & Burn misserably! I just hope im wrong.... but i somehow doubt it.

georgeverity
georgeverity

"And what would a Bourne game be without car chases? You can stop wondering, because The Bourne Supremacy will definitely have them. In the sequence we saw, Bourne was trying to elude the cops in picturesque Paris. " Doesn't he mean: "The Bourne Conspiracy"?

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

This game has a lot of potential and may interest many gamers. At least we have more than a first person shooter. The uniqueness of the Bourne books and movies has always been its storyline. If the game can capture the novel literature along with great game play you will have a winner.

butcher5683
butcher5683

Looks sweet. I'm buying it the moment it goes onto the greatest hits shelf! There's not many games I am willing to pay full price for (GTA IV will be in the select few). Just recently paid $12.50 for Assassin's Creed off of Ebay. Couldn't wait to pop it in my system and immediately see those 3 Red Lights mocking me......their laughter was so cruel!!!!!!!! Thanks be to teh 3 year warranty.

raw153
raw153

Hopefully this game lives up to the greatness of both the books and the movies. So far it seems to be coming together nicely.

ronniepage588
ronniepage588

hmm....i'm optimistic.....and uh richmaester, king kong was well made and fun and unique, and don't forget riddick

X-7
X-7

I can't wait.

Richmaester6907
Richmaester6907

LMAO cheap any game made after a film is awful always has been and always will be if anyone buys this I bet they own the golden compass and king kong!

Munkey4098
Munkey4098

well if they dont use Matt Damon but make an AAA action games based from a book/ movie than i can get over the fact that Matt Damon's likeness wasnt used.

surppo
surppo

they wont use matt damon to keep production cost down. maybe the fans could start a matt damon fund to get him in the game

confucioussayyo
confucioussayyo

It would be better to make Bourne look like Matt Damon, since nearly everyone knows him that way, but maybe Matt didn't want to do the game? Anyways, this looks like they will be sticking to the feel of the movies, so this game is probably going to be very good. I can't wait to have a Bourne-style car chase.

Tonkpilsnut
Tonkpilsnut

IKKF I know there based off the books, but I really want my character to look like Matt Damon. I want Matt Damon, dammit! Uhmmm.... keep that to yourself. You are on the wrong website for Matt Damon wanting.

Twili
Twili

Looks awesome! I hope this doesn't get screwed up.

sniper-show
sniper-show

woooow ... goddamn ,,, looks great... really cant wait...

nrCooldude
nrCooldude

i haven't read the books and i haven't seen the movies.. but i'll still keep an eye out for this one because of the fast action

IKKF
IKKF

I know there based off the books, but I really want my character to look like Matt Damon. I want Matt Damon, dammit! But it looks great, and I really it can pull a Chronicles of Riddick and suprise us all!

dragonman06
dragonman06

Looks like a game that i will have to a sharp eye out for. Love the moives. Got to get the game.

shadow9669
shadow9669

looks like something worth keeping an eye on

Eman5805
Eman5805

Sounds awesome. I can't wait.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

This game comes out around the same time as Splinter Cell and Too Human, Alone in the Dark . . I'm stoked. And even though I hate it MGS4 will be out around the same time, so if you like that one too and you have both consoles, the beginning of this summer is going to blow away the last two combined, and we should all be VERY busy no matter what console you prefer. . . I prefer both, thank you very much.

Legacyoftain
Legacyoftain

If this is done well hopefully it will set the bar for Movie/Book tie in games..because lets face it..9 times out of 10 they suck..With the acception of Chronicles of Riddick (which may be the greatest of all time)

rohil27
rohil27

sounds great, cant wait to play it

saigondude63
saigondude63

i cant wait to melt my fist into a guy's nose