[IMGW]http://www.1up.com/media?id=3175155[/IMGW] By Matt Leone 01/25/2007 SCREENS: "The game's low-level graphic engine has been completely re-written to take advantage of the PS3 hardware," says Hector. "Sony engineers have also helped our team to optimize the rendering pipeline. Overall, you can expect the same visuals as the 360 version." Click the image above to check out all Double Agent PS3 screens.
And you thought Splinter Cell developers were hard to keep track of before. Running down the history of what teams worked on what parts of what Splinter Cell games would fill up most of this page, so let's just fast forward to the one this PS3 port of Double Agent is based on: the 360 game.
For that title, a team in Shanghai created the single-player campaign, while a team in Annecy (France) worked on multiplayer. Now, for the PS3 version, the team in Annecy is heading up the whole project along with 10 people from Shanghai -- and just to confuse things a bit more, a team in Milan (Italy) is producing two new multiplayer maps for the game.
From the looks of things, this developer shift hasn't altered the core game much, instead treating this version as something of a Director's Cut. Except with a different director.
Mathieu Hector is the producer of the PS3 game, and when he speaks about it, he gets most excited about the new multiplayer content, the tilt controller functions, and what he refers to as "improved accessibility." Of the three, the accessibility is the biggest mystery; Hector says the developers tightened up the game as a result of player comments, without going into specifics.
SCREENS: To go along with the new multiplayer maps, the developers have added new co-op challenges along the lines of those in the 360 version -- which is to say, fun things to mess around with, but nothing that actually deserves the name "co-op." Click the image above to check out all Double Agent PS3 screens.
Doing the math on the rest of the new content, there are two new multiplayer maps, a set of new "Spy Girl" multiplayer skins, and seven uses of the tilt control scheme that we currently know about.
Of those maps, Kinshasa brings the sunny terror-ridden setting from the single-player game into a multiplayer arena centred on an abandoned hospital, while Secret Base "is a high-tech research facility on an offshore platform," according to Hector. Of the latter, he warns to watch out for the security system that can trap players, leading us to imagine a throwback to the slower-paced multiplayer matches from older Splinter Cell games.
ART: Click on the above image to see the artwork for the Spy Girl that you'll be able to control in multiplayer.
The new skins are focused on what appears to be the PS3 version's biggest marketing hook: you can play as a girl. "It really embraces the fact that the spy should be cat-like, very nimble," says Hector, though the differences will simply be cosmetic to prevent throwing off the game's balance. Notably, in an internal Q&A Ubisoft sent out separately from our interview, one of the questions asks why the developers included "a hot female multiplayer skin," so it's not like the company is shying away from selling this as the next Tomb Raider.
For tilt controls, players will be able to perform actions like picking locks, hacking security systems and assembling mines/shutting down bombs (there's that Double Agent concept again) as you would expect, and will also be able to use the technology in some of the game's Directed Moments like skydiving and while swimming.
Though the developers didn't want to "take the risk to affect the gameplay balance" by tossing in any major multiplayer changes, players will be able to control the Mercenaries' bomb-with-wings Drone attack by tilting their way towards the Spies.
Since the PS3 controller lacks the rumble feature used in past Splinter Cell games for things like lock-picking, the developers are relying on tilt functions and "audio and visual effects" to make these features work, according to Hector. Lock-picking was one of the highlights of the Wii version of Double Agent, but it relied heavily on the rumble, so we're hopeful that the PS3's solution will be up to that standard.
And ultimately, the PS3 game seems a lot more ambitious than the Wii Double Agent. It's still the 360 game at its core, but with what looks to be just enough extra to give PS3 owners bragging rights in online forums or wherever they choose to brag. And you can play as a girl.
Thanks to 1UP.com for sharing the news with us!