Sony's Senior Social Media Specialist Sid Shuman has shared new information today on the upcoming video game TRON Evolution for PS3, including PlayStation 3 multiplayer, 3D and PlayStation Move details.
To quote: TRON: Evolution is formally considered the second entry in the TRON trilogy, bridging the fiction between the 1982 film and the upcoming film TRON: Legacy.
But in addition to its new single-player story, TRON: Evolution will also serve up a comprehensive multiplayer mode complete with a player progression system, upgradeable weapons, and driveable vehicles. The new video below will give you a taste of what's in store.
I spoke with TRON: Evolution's design director, Chris Whiteside, to learn more about the scope of multiplayer and how stereoscopic 3D support will add to the experience (and possibly improve your aim).
And though details on PlayStation Move support are still scarce - sadly, it wasn't playable at the event - I was able to tease out a few details about how it will work when the final game ships this December.
Sid Shuman: Visually, TRON: Evolution looks to be showing many new visual effects since its last appearance. What have you done to enhance the visuals?
Chris Whiteside, Design Director, Propaganda Games: Prior to E3, we didn't have proper reflection maps. The lighting passes weren't complete, the visual effects were revamped after E3, and the camera was completely redone after E3 based on feedback that it was too fast and wasn't framing the action well enough.
We're very receptive to criticism and commentary, so we spent a lot of time getting it up to scratch. We're making this game for the fans of TRON, so we want to make sure it's tip-top.
SS: Why is stereoscopic 3D a good fit for TRON: Evolution?
CW: From a technical standpoint, the reason 3D works so well is the contrast of the colors in the environment, and the lines in the environment and the architecture style we use.
It's not a messy world, you know? There are no trees with leaves on them, that kind of thing. The environments are very angular, which creates an advantage with depth of field and super-advanced parallax effects when we render in 3D. We had to mess with the art style a bit. We went mental with the lighting to bring out the definition of the buildings, for instance.
SS: Will 3D be supported in both single-player and multiplayer?
CW: It totally does, yeah. 3D is awesome for combat because you get a sense of depth with the characters. The normal targeting system is based on the angle of the analog stick, and very minute aiming adjustments, so the 3D helps with targeting. We invested a lot of money in the 3D technology and we're hoping that TRON: Evolution is the pinnacle 3D gaming experience this year.
SS: We're seeing TRON: Evolution's multiplayer for the first time today. What's the scale of the multiplayer experience?
CW: For me, the multiplayer mode is the jewel in the crown. We've got four modes in all: Disintegration is a Deathmatch-style mode, we have Team Deathmatch, Power Monger in which you can take over sections and control them, and Bit Runner is our take on Capture the Flag. The difference is you don't take the "flag" back to the base, you have to hold onto it while everyone else tries to de-rez (kill) you.
We're also launching new modes and maps in DLC. You'll see new free maps at launch, and you'll get new modes in DLC. You'll also get upgrades to the player progression systems: new level caps, new vehicles, and so on.
SS: How do the lightcycles and tanks fit into the multiplayer ecosystem?
CW: We wanted to create this sort of sandbox cybersport, which meant that we needed players needed to be able to "rez" in and out of vehicles almost at will. The lightcycles are very fast and are a primary way for players to move around quickly.
The tanks bring the heavy firepower, and on-foot provides protection for the tanks. It's rock-paper-scissors design. The perception is that the tanks are the most powerful, but the reality is that you're most powerful when you're on foot.
SS: TRON's characters are unusually maneuverable. How do you maintain balance in a multiplayer setting with characters that can run on walls and make these huge jumps?
CW: Awesome question. We knew this game was about mobility. We basically set rules for how we build the environments - the distance between jumps and so forth. We created basic, grey-textured blocks that were kind of like LEGO pieces.
We knew that the distance between them was just right, so if we kept using the same blocks when we built multiplayer levels. This is a traditional tactic in this kind of game, but the difference is we have online multiplayer so it was even more important.
SS: How can players evolve and enhance their multiplayer characters?
CW: For starters, you can play the single-player game, level up, get vehicles and enhancements, specialize your character. Then you can take those upgrades with you when you go into online multiplayer, or vice-versa. Our player progression system allows you to customize a character to your own strengths, so when you start teaming up with people playing online, you'll essentially be forming a party.
There are a huge number of upgrades - upgrades that increase your damage greatly but make you slower or weaker, upgrades that make you stealthy and scout-like, or other enhancements that will buff the team as a whole.
There's a ton of stuff in multiplayer: you can buy new bikes, augments for the different weapons, and more. But you can't buy everything, and that's really the secret. You have to specialize in what works for you.
SS: How will TRON: Evolution support PlayStation Move?
CW: PlayStation Move is used in vehicle segments, particularly the lightcycle segments. It gives players a more nuanced control over the lightcycle, and it's fun to be able to hold it like it's the actual control panel of the lightcycle. And yes, PlayStation Move support is included on the disc!
SS: Do you use one PlayStation Move controller to control vehicles, or two?
CW: You use one, though we experimented with using two. You hold it on its side and tilt it up or down to accelerate or slow down. Watch this space - I think PlayStation Move is something we'll be doing a little more with going forward. We'll see what happens with that.
Finally, below is the TRON Evolution PS3 Multiplayer Fact Sheet:
• The TRON: Evolution multiplayer modes feature 10-player online competitive multiplayer with programs battling on game grids based within the franchise.
• Like the single player experience, players move through environments using free roaming, climbing and vehicles while battling with high mobility combat and discs
• The game will include four multiplayer maps each allowing four multiplayer modes.
• On the release date, two more free maps are scheduled to be available as downloadable content by using a code found in the game case.
• More maps and game content are scheduled to be available as downloadable content after release.
• Online multiplayer games can include both players and AI bots in the two maps featuring close-quarters combat. Players can choose teams that include players and AI bots or join together on one team to battle a team of AI bots in a co-op set-up.
• With persistent character progression, players can level up their character either in single-player mode or online multiplayer mode. Their character’s status will carry over to both modes. For example, a player can level up his or her character in single player mode and then take that character with advanced weapons and protection into the online multiplayer combat.
• In single-player mode, players can choose quickly to be transported into multiplayer arenas. Their single-player game is automatically saved.
• Players will have the choice of selecting among three light cycles as they progress through the game. The three light cycles have different handling and features.
• In two of the maps, all players can transform into light cycles at any time to move freely around the environments.
• The light cycles are fast, nimble vehicles that leave light trails that can derezz opponents.
• Players can also throw their disc at enemies while moving on certain light cycles
• Light cycles can turn both on arcs or on right angles
• The two vehicle maps also have tanks available.
• Tanks are available to the first player to access them.
• The tanks provide the advantage of being strong and powerful but are also slow.
• With the proper skill and strategy, players on foot and on light cycles can destroy tanks.
There will be four online multiplayer maps each suited for different styles of combat and strategy. Half are larger maps that enable players to transform into light cycles or access one of the limited tanks on the map.
The names of the maps and descriptions are:
• Defrag – This map takes place on the outskirts of the cities. This is a large map featuring vehicles
• Circuit Board – This is another large map with platforms and vehicles
• Hard Disk – This is a medium-sized map with movement on foot only and vertical architecture enabling free roaming movement and climbing
• Heat Sink – This is another medium-sized map with movement on foot only and a vertical structure
Four game modes are available for each map. The modes provide a variety of gameplay challenges for players of all skill levels.
• Disintegration – Players compete individually to derezz their opponents most. The player with the highest derezz total, having wiped out the most players, wins.
• Team Disintegration – Teams compete to derezz the other team’s players.
• Bit Runner – A central bit is available to be acquired. Teams compete to pick up the bit and stay on the grid while the other team attempts to derezz the bit runner and acquire the bit. The team with the most points holding the bit wins.
• Power Monger – Teams compete to secure capture points. Energy nodes have to be linked in order to gain points.
Each map features various pick-ups that enable players to acquire advantageous powers
• Overcharge (appearing like a DNA strand) – This pick-up enables players to refill their health and energy.
• User Mode (appearing as the TRON symbol) – This enables the player to be impervious to attacks for a limited time.
• Equalizer – This pick-up enables players to have a one-hit derezz of their opponents for a limited time.
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