Colony Wars 2 Shown by Psygnosis

Developer/publisher teases gamers with a display of three upcoming titles.

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At a recent press meeting, Psygnosis rolled out its titles for the months to come. And for the first time, the company allowed its designers to talk in detail about the company's three upcoming PlayStation titles, Colony Wars 2, Psybadek, and ODT.

Codename: VendettaObviously the title that turned the most heads was Codename: Vendetta, the follow-up release to Psygnosis' surprise hit Colony Wars. Vendetta offers players a whole new set of ships and ship upgrades for players to salivate over and also boasts an enhanced AI system. Mike Ellis, Vendetta's producer, and the mind behind the original Colony Wars, was on hand to introduce the new title and to explain some of the storyline behind the game.

"You have been born after the original Colony Wars," Mike explains, "and have grown up hearing only stories of the once mighty Earth forces." Thrown into the plot is a major civil war and a new villain named Kron.

As Mertens, a fighter pilot for the reconstructed Navy, you must choose which side to support and win the battle for good. The new game, like its predecessor, is split into 19 acts and boasts six different endings. Some of the most impressive features of the new title are the addition of a new camera angle, an external behind-the-craft view, the incorporation of 22 weapon types, and an all-new physics engine.

"We decided to revamp everything we could," Mike told reporters assembled at Psygnosis' presentation. "The whole engine is faster and more flexible than anything before." Some of this new flexibility is shown in new game effects, one of which will allow players to grab large items such as asteroids with their grappling hooks and use the bodies to "slingshot" in different directions.

Other new features include weaponry that will enable players to "steal" an enemy's shield power and add it to their own. The look of Colony Wars has also been improved on, resulting in an excellent job of displaying the effects of technology and war on new ship design. Ellis further explains, saying, "We are completely redoing our graphics, we're remodeling everything. The fighters are an evolution of the original designs, so players will be able to see the logical progressions."

Vendetta promises to allow players to customize their ships as well, enabling them to make cosmetic changes such as the addition of decals or labels, or changing colors in addition to making more functional upgrades like the addition of new weapons or items. "What we're hoping to do," explains Ellis, "is to let players customize their craft rather than just put weapons on it." Unfortunately, players will have to wait until this Christmas to get their hands on this slick-looking new title.

PsybadekPsybadek, Psygnosis' extremely stylized new snowboarding game, is another Christmas release that was shown to the game press. In this action title, players will control one of two cartoony kids as they use hoverboards to navigate through different levels that include such wildly different terrain as snow, jungle, desert, and the Underworld.

Throughout the game's 46 levels, players will collect items, fight bosses, and learn new tricks, which can then be used as weapons against new foes. Graham Sidwell, the game's designer, described how Psybadek would be different from the majority of snowboarding games already out in the market, saying, "There's obviously the snowboarding feel to this game, but unlike most games in which you're racing against the clock and performing tricks on the way down for points, in Psybadek, those tricks actually do something. The stunts themselves are weapons."

The game has plenty of different actions for players to tackle, from jumping through rings to banking off of huge half-pipes, and has a full range of off-the-wall baddies for players to compete with including a set of foes that Paul Bahr, the game's artistic designer, describes as "rabid beavers."

Or Die TryingThe last title shown at the press conference was a new 3D action game titled ODT, which we were told stands for Or Die Trying. The game, which is planned for a simultaneous PC and PlayStation release is a third-person perspective shooter that lets players take on the role of one of four different characters as they attempt to free themselves from a dark tower filled with mystical foes.

Each of the four characters has different levels in three skills that will determine how good they are at different tasks. The colonel is an all-around character that boasts fairly strong ratings in constitution (which determines how much punishment a character will be able to take), weapon control (which determines accuracy), and spirit (which controls how adept a given player is at magic).

Other characters include the Strongman who has a high constitution and lesser scores in weapon control and spirit, a female player who is both quick and fairly skilled at magic, and a magician who specializes in magic use.

During the course of the game, players will receive experience points for solving various puzzles, which they will then be able to use to bolster any skill they choose. The game's AI is also rather complex, and enables monsters to feel anger, hunger, and other virtual emotions that will give players a much more lifelike gaming experience. The game promises to be rather large and will consist of eight play levels broken up into 75 sectors. There are to be over 300 captures of individual motions in the game, and the developers are promising 30fps in a full 3D environment with full freedom of motion. ODT will have four different weapon types - electric, fusion, fire, and lasers, each with nine levels of upgradability as well as 32 different spells. Look for this release in Q4 as well.

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