Project: Snowblind Weapons Profile

Crystal Dynamics designer Zak McClendon talks about the weapons that you'll have access to in Project: Snowblind.

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Currently scheduled for release toward the end of next month, Project: Snowblind is a futuristic first-person shooter in which you'll assume the role of a cybersoldier in a Hong Kong ravaged by war. As you progress through the game, you'll gain access to a number of special abilities (such as being able to target enemies through walls), but they wouldn't do you much good if they weren't augmented by a formidable arsenal, which, according to designer Zak McClendon, was a major focus for the development team.

Guns, Guns, Guns

By Zak McClendon
Designer

As I write this, the team is toiling away here in the "Design Pit" (our home away from home at Crystal Dynamics), putting the finishing touches on Project: Snowblind, but we're taking a break to fill you guys in on some of the awesome stuff that we have in store for you via a series of features. First up are the weapons!

All of the weapons in Project: Snowblind will have an alternate fire mode.
All of the weapons in Project: Snowblind will have an alternate fire mode.

We knew from the start that we wanted to make the weapons a major focus for Project: Snowblind. What's more important to a first-person shooter than the weapons? Nothing! So, we went all-out to give the player a huge arsenal and massive firepower. By the end of the game, you'll have access to dozens of weapons and abilities. Because the game takes place in the near future (Hong Kong 2065, to be exact), we were able to straddle the line between modern-day stuff, like your standard machine guns, rocket launchers, and such, and futuristic, sci-fi gear like the HERF gun (a sort of short-range electrical flamethrower that can jump between nearby targets) and the flechette gun (a rapid-fire energy rifle that fires rounds that will bounce off the walls and is great for shooting around corners).

The primary weapons have a little bit of everything, but the really cool thing is that each one has its own unique alternate fire mode. We decided to go really crazy with the alternate fire modes on the weapons. A lot of games just give you a souped up version of the primary fire--single shotgun to double-barreled shotgun, that sort of thing. But we wanted the alt fires to be more like a whole new weapon, sort of like dual wielding in one handy package.

One of the team favorites is the flechette's alt fire--the attack drones (also known around the studio as the "angry bees"). The alt fire shoots out this swarming cloud of intelligent (and very tiny) drones that immediately take off and try to find some baddies. Once they do, they'll swarm around him, peppering him with electrical shocks till he's dead, and then move on. Not only are these great for thinning out a crowd, but they'll also sometimes cause a mass panic, as enemy troops flee for cover and try to shoot them down. They're too small to hit, though, so more often than not the enemies just end up hitting each other in the chaos. They're super fun in multiplayer as well, where they not only cause damage, but also make your enemies "snowblind" by filling their screens with static. Nothing's more gratifying in multiplayer than shooting out the drones and seeing your opponent flee, while you hear cries of, "Ah! Bees! Bees!" from over the cube wall.

Because Snowblind is all about the weapons, just having the primary and alternate fire modes isn't quite enough firepower to satisfy. So, supersoldier Nathan Frost also comes with some handy secondary weapons that players can throw out or use with their left hand, while keeping their main weapon primed and ready in the right. Nate also throws a mean left hook, by the way--popping a soldier in the kisser is often the best way of taking him down, especially if you're low on ammo.

Melee attacks will be an effective way to take enemies down.
Melee attacks will be an effective way to take enemies down.

The secondary weapons run the whole gamut. You'll get your standard offensive ones like frag or EMP grenades (to take down bots and other electronic security), as well as defensive ones like flashbangs and gas grenades to stun and choke the opposition. We cooked up a few more innovative gadgets for your secondaries though, like the nanoboost, a one-shot medical injection that can restore your health or bioenergy (or even bring you back from death's door, much to the surprise of the guy who just "killed" you), or the spiderbots, intelligent little robot pals that will follow you around to help you kick ass.

Our favorite secondary, though, is the riot wall--a cool little gadget that's really changed up how we've been playing the game. The riot wall is a handy, auto-deploying piece of cover. Slap one down in the middle of an empty street and presto--now you have a position you can defend. As you can imagine, this thing's been crazy in multiplayer. People have been using it to block off escape routes, seal in their flag, keep the enemy from reaching gun emplacements, you name it.

This was really our goal for all the weapons--to give you guys weapons and abilities that not only look cool and hit hard, but can also be combined and used in new and creative ways. We really want every battle to play out differently and, with all the tools we've cooked up, we hope you, the gamers, will really be able to get creative with them. We've already seen some stuff we never dreamed of from the testers here, and we can't wait to see what happens when we release the game into the wild next month. Now, let's take a look at some of those weapons.

Weapon Specs

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Pistol: FCSTUnited S-10 "Slug Thrower"
Ammo Capacity: 10
Primary Fire: 5.56mm multiform round. Silenced. Semiautomatic.
Secondary Fire: Seeker salvo.
Description: Standard Coalition sidearm. The S-10 features a stock silenced barrel, and holds a 10-round clip of standard high-impact multiform 5.56mm rounds. The Slug Thrower comes equipped with BioSyn sensor caps, allowing the user to fire a salvo that tracks unregistered biosignatures.

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Carbine: FCSTUnited MAR-30
Ammo Capacity: 30
Primary Fire: 5.56mm multiform round. Single shot and burst.
Secondary Fire: Skip grenade.
Description: Main assault rifle of the Coalition forces. The MAR-30 utilizes the same multiform 5.56mm rounds as the S-10 pistol, adding to its battlefield versatility. The MAR-30 can convert multiform ammunition into an elastic explosive shell, commonly referred to as a "skip grenade." Grenades provide one bounce off unregistered targets, affording them effective room-clearing ability when skipped off a wall or ceiling.

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Rocket Launcher: KRMAview R-56 "Adversary"
Primary Fire: High-explosive warhead.
Secondary Fire: Multiple homing rockets.
Description: The R-56 rocket launcher is the standard for highly mobile anti-armor units. Its primary fire launches a high-explosive warhead on a straight line to its target. It is also equipped with an internal BioSyn sensor guidance system with the ability to paint and lock on to up to four hostile targets.

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Shotgun: MDRinc Suppressor-12
Primary Fire: Pump-action buckshot.
Secondary Fire: Sheet of contact explosives.
Description: The Suppressor-12 fires a tightly grouped buckshot load at up to 3 meters. Ranges beyond 3 meters degrade the impact but increase the effect radius, making the weapon comfortable for medium wounding at range. Its secondary fire superheats ammo to a molten "sheet" that adheres to surfaces before detonating. It is a highly effective dumb-fire weapon for use against soft- to medium-hardened targets.

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EMBeam: FCSTUnited BEM-7 "HERF"
Primary Fire: Short-range electromagnetic beam.
Secondary Fire: Stabilized EMP pulse.
Description: A short-range electromagnetic beam weapon effective against electronics and human targets. Uses BioSyn sensors to distinguish between targets. The beam is a short-range weapon but will arc between active targets, increasing its range and damage. The secondary fire combines the beams into a coalescent sphere that adheres to surfaces and actively attacks targets.

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Mine Gun: AMPT Industries REXIM-6 "Crippler"
Primary Fire: High-explosive triggered antipersonnel mine.
Secondary Fire: High-explosive proximity antipersonnel mine.
Description: The REXIM-6 is primarily used to limit a combat force's mobility by laying high explosives in their path. Multiple mines can be seeded in an area and detonated simultaneously to magnify their effect. Mines can be triggered on command or set as active proximity mines to defend an area or approach. The proximity function is singularly active only against unregistered biosignatures.

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Flechette Rifle: KRMAview BDE4 "Hornet"
Primary Fire: Tumbling flechette.
Secondary Fire: Flechette swarm.
Description: The BDE4 fires a tumbling flechette capable of multiple ricochets off hardened surfaces. On soft to medium targets the round penetrates and "burrows," causing internal structural damage. A salvo of flechettes can be angled into an opening, such as a doorway, creating an effective barrage within as it ricochets. The flechette swarm is a BioSyn-sensor-directed attack that targets the nearest enemies.

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Sniper Rifle: FCSTUnited Modified AVR-100 "Far Kill"
Ammo Capacity: 5
Primary fire: 7.62x63mm high-penetration round. Silenced.
Secondary Fire: Biodominance.
Description: The AVR-100 is a standard FCST United sniper rifle that holds a five-round clip of 7.62x63mm high-penetration rounds. These rounds have a higher penetration profile than regular sniper rounds, which makes them more effective over longer distances. The AVR-100 has been modified to include a secondary fire feature--a neural virus that causes humanoid targets to behave erratically and attack friendly targets. Extended exposure to the virus is fatal over time.

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Rail Laser: Details Unknown, Designated "X Wire"
Primary Fire: Unknown--suspected phase beam.
Secondary Fire: Unknown--suspected beam overload.
Description: This weapon has been reported as being capable of penetrating solid objects to damage targets in cover. It is also reported to fire a sphere of unstable energy that not only damages nearby objects along its target path, but also massively explodes on solid contact. Please note: The Theoretical Combat Engineering department offers a reward for more information on this object.

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