GameCity '07: Braben goes inside Outsider

Developer behind Elite and Thrillville spills a few more of the beans on his highly anticipated actioner, which will feature a re-creation of Washington, DC.

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NOTTINGHAM--The Outsider is David Braben's latest project--and it is nothing short of ambitious. Ambition is not an alien emotion to the famed game designer, who worked on the original version of space fighting and trading game Elite in 1984, which was critically lauded for being way ahead of its time.

In his GameCity event keynote speech, titled "Creating Games for the Next Generation," Braben revealed some of the extent of his game's scope. He told the audience, "The Outsider has a big, open city. We've created, essentially, the whole of Washington, DC. You can go into any of the buildings." He showed how this was possible, by using what he called a "Lego system" of modular development.

Braben also explained the Outsider will feature thousands of non-player characters with distinctly different appearances. As in many other open-world games, said characters will wander about doing their day-to-day business in the background of the game's events.

He also talked about some of the more controversial aspects of the game, which sees the main character Commander Jameson, accused of killing the President of the United States. He must then decide which, if any, of the many different agencies and factions in the game to side with, including a terrorist faction.

Braben commented, "I've been criticised for saying you can work with terrorists--but one man's terrorist is another's revolutionary. And actually they're [not] such bad people at all--one of the things they are fighting against is the corruption, and that's good."

In summary, Braben said The Outsider will be essentially be an action game. He explained, "It's about chasing people, being chased, car chases, that kind of thing... It's taking the first-person shooter genre and hopefully expanding it a little." He hastily added that those who preferred to play the game a different way could do so, although, "sadly," it would likely be impossible to complete the game without killing anyone.

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