You Are Empty has been shown at E3 for a couple of years now, and it appears that it might be showing at one more, since we learned that its release date is now mid-2006. We went behind the scenes with 1C, the publisher of the game, to get a close look at the title.
You Are Empty takes place in a 1950s-era Soviet Union, in an alternate history timeline that's seen the USSR become the only world superpower. Apparently not appeased by their world domination, Soviet scientists begin experimenting with genetic mutation, attempting to create superhuman Communists to spread the joyous revolution throughout the world. After developing a unique kind of "psycho ray" that can influence the minds of numerous people simultaneously, they lose control of their creation, and entire towns eventually become overrun by mutants and supermonsters. Your character is dropped into the middle of the mess and has to chop through numerous wacky enemies, such as asylum inmates, mutated firemen, and even ballet dancers, to find out what the heck is going on.
Our demo of the game was fairly short, but from what we saw You Are Empty is shaping up rather well. We're told that the pace of the game will change as you proceed, with the earlier missions being more action oriented and the later stages of the game evoking more of an atmosphere of horror. The level that was shown to us, however, seemed to take place in some kind of public building, and it featured a rather steady onslaught of enemies. Although graphically the game is probably most comparable to Painkiller, just in terms of visual style and enemy design, the demo run-through consisted mostly of fights against single enemies. The enemies in the level were fairly well animated for a game that's still a year away, and we witnessed the player even managing to drag off a corpse from where it fell, although we're not sure what gameplay implementations this feature will have.
It's still a bit too early to call You Are Empty the next big thing, but we're hoping that the developers can emphasize some of the humor that they seem to be working into the title to avoid having it be just another find-the-key FPS. We'll have more on the game as it shapes up, so stay tuned to GameSpot.