Crime-based action games aren't exactly a new thing in this generation of gaming, but as of yet, no game company has really tried to master the art of the true heist. Films like Heist, The Score, and Heat all show that to pull off the most masterful of capers, you will need a crew, and a good one at that. For Acclaim's upcoming title The Last Job, the company believes that they have a game that can truly turn a crew-based heist into a playable game. Though we were only shown a short video that contained pre-pre-alpha footage of the game, the concepts found within the demo have us greatly intrigued.
In The Last Job, you will be in control of a crew of four top-notch crooks, each with their own special skills. One is the brains behind the whole operation, another works as the brawn, one provides all the necessary hacking skills, and the other is the pure, stealth-based thief. During each mission, you will control all four characters. Now, don't mistake this for a squad-based game, because it's hardly that. Rather, missions will be broken up into four different sections, each happening within the same frame of time, but each featuring a different teammate performing a different task. Sound confusing? Let's give an example.
The demo video shown to us featured a mission in which our crew is involved in a bank heist gone wrong. Cops are beginning to swarm the area, and you only have 15 minutes to break into the vault, get the loot and get out, all while trying to hold off the cops. To begin the mission, O'Neil, the brains man, was on the roof sniping off cops. Once that mission was over, time literally rewound back to the beginning, and now the controlled character was Miller, the muscle. Miller's job was to shoot any cops that O'Neil missed during the roof sequence. This is something the developers of the game call "parallel play." Everything you do from sequence to sequence affects how the next one will play out. If you snipe off nearly all the cops in the first section, you won't have to face very many of them in the second. If you send a cop car flying into the front window of the bank, you'll have to avoid that cop car in the next section.
Acclaim was quick to point out that this exact mission was only a test mission, and would not be in the final game. However, this demo still gave us a good idea of what kind of potential this game could have, if done right. We love the concept--now we just hope the underlying game design can match up to its conceptual potential. The Last Job is currently slated for a 2005 release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. We will have more on the game as it develops.