TGS 06: Blade Storm and Fatal Inertia Impressions

Koei drops new information on its PS3 titles that are absent from TGS.

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TOKYO--Some new details on Koei's forthcoming PlayStation 3 titles, action epic Blade Storm: Hundred Years War and futuristic racer Fatal Inertia, have emerged from a Q & A session at TGS with producers Akihiro Suzuki and Takazumi Tomoike. Both games were in evidence as trailers only, despite expectation that there would be playable code for fans to get their hands on.

Fatal Inertia--which was originally slated as a possible PS3 launch title--has now had its release date put back, although there are hopes that it will still ship by the end of this year.

Currently, Fatal Inertia features four main vehicle types but plenty of customisation. The trailer that we saw showed a menu with options to alter performance, design parts, and body paint, with more specific options to change the vehicle's spoiler, cockpit, tail, wings, and front. There's no indication at this stage if this is an exhaustive list or if there's more to come.

On the racing side, there are currently four overall maps that have been completed, each of which will contain eight individual courses. This may be added to before the ship date, although no decision has been taken on how the final roster may look. However, it's very likely that there will be additional customisations and maps available for download from Sony's online service, although no further details were given.

The action itself looks fairly straightforward, with racers trying to blow each other up while speeding around the circuit, and there is a selection of weapons available, collectible as you cross nodes located on the ground.

Koei's other title, action epic Blade Storm, will be set in Europe during the Hundred Years War between the English and the French. There are currently around 500 to 600 enemy troops able to feature onscreen at one time, although this number should rise to near 1,000 by the time of release, demonstrating Koei's determination to give the game an epic feel.

You'll be able to choose from 10 playable characters at the outset, and more will become available as you progress through the game. In the battles, which are--according to Suzuki--somewhere between Kessen and Dynasty Warriors in style, you neither control a hero character, nor do you take direct control of bodies of troops. Instead, you tell the units where or how to attack and they carry out those commands, with the individual soldiers using their own artificial intelligence to decide best how to do that.

The examples we were given were cavalry charging into infantry, archers firing on enemies, and spearmen jabbing or fighting in hand-to-hand combat, although exactly how you interact with your troops is still unclear.

Neither game's online multiplayer elements have been confirmed yet, but for different reasons. Fatal Intertia is suffering with problems arising from the Unreal 3 engine that it uses, although Tomokei was keen to make clear this was an issue shared between the engine, Sony, and Koei themselves, and it was something that all three parties were working to resolve. The delay in releasing details for Blade Storm's online activity is down to current uncertainty about the minimum amount of bandwidth that will be available, which is something that may be different between regions. Because of the game's complexity, Koei is opting to wait until they have a guarantee of level before moving forward in that area.

Both of the titles will ship without support for full HD, and Tomokei explained that the additional resources required to improve upon the current 780p standard were too much for the very low ownership base globally.

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