We recently had the chance to take a look at You Are Empty, neophyte developer Digital Spray's PC shooter, before it hit the floor at E3, and we came away with a few impressions of this macabre Soviet-era first-person shooter.
You Are Empty takes place in the 1950s, in an alternate-history version of the USSR. The loyal scientists in the city where the game takes place have the bright idea of augmenting human mental capacity and physical abilities to create some kind of master race to spread their Communist ideals far and wide, but before you can say "Darwin Award," their creations turn on them and spread through the city at large, slaughtering the hoi polloi and spreading genetic mutations among the surviving civilian populations. As one of the few remaining humans in the city, you'll have to fight your way through the mutants to discover precisely what happened, while also struggling with mutations that are beginning to wrack your own body. We're told that these mutations will reveal themselves as special powers that will become available to you as you play.
The first thing you'll notice about You Are Empty is the graphical polish: This is one good-looking game. Much of the action will take place in the city streets, which bear the same kind of dilapidated, Socialist atmosphere as did City 17 in Half-Life 2. You Are Empty, however, has a more exaggerated Communist feeling to it, with large Stalinist monuments scattered about and plenty of hammer-and-sickle flags flapping in the breeze.
What Digital Spray seems to be banking on as a distinguishing feature is the look of the enemies; few games feature creatures as bizarre as those that appear in You Are Empty. Digital Spray has fused the game's Soviet theme with the premise of genetic experimentation to create some...interesting enemies, such as an eight-foot tall chicken, straightjacket-bound asylum inmates with elaborate dental equipment still affixed to their faces, and plenty of gas-mask-wearing secret police.
You Are Empty is still scheduled for release later this year, and GameSpot is planning on getting more in-depth coverage of the game from the E3 floor.