September 5, 2007 // 3:05 pm
- Monolith Productions is a developer in a prime position to shed some light on the situation, having achieved critical and retail success with their launch title Condemned: Criminal Origins, and working on their follow-up with the upcoming sequel, Condemned 2: Bloodshot. "There is a certain satisfaction in taking on major challenges and overcoming them -- and this was definitely a major challenge. Sega also wanted us to hit the launch date... [and] gave us great testing and localization support to help make sure that we did hit our dates," says producer David Hasle, who later adds, "We knew that being present at launch would provide us more time to get more game titles developed internally at Monolith Productions for the 360 over the course of the lifespan of the 360 so this was seen as a good business decision. Plus being one of six or seven games is better than being one of 50 or 60 games on the shelf at your local game store."
The making of Condemned 2 is not just about redressing past mistakes, but also about implementing new features with the intention of enriching the gameplay experience. A prime example includes the inclusion of multiplayer gameplay, a particularly intriguing gesture considering the visceral experience that Condemned's combat engine imposes on the player in that first-person beat-them-to-a-pulp kind of way. When we hear comments by Rooke such as "chucking a brick at your buddy's head while online, then beating him silly with a pipe is pretty satisfying, and never gets old," who can't help but be a little excited about the prospects. It's unfortunate that specifics are scant on the issue, but as Tarl Raney, multiplayer associate producer, points out, "We are working on several gameplay modes that will allow players to bring some of the trademark single-player elements into a brutal multiplayer environment." Not much to go on, but the crowbar wielder in all of us can only hope for now.
Ultimately, what Monolith accomplished with the original Condemned is that which any launch title developer hopes to achieve with their product -- a solid and innovative game well received by gamers and the press alike and, equally important for the prospects of a sequel, a financial success. But Hasle and his team are aware of room for improvement. He tells us, "We're proud of what we were able to accomplish with hitting a nearly impossible schedule -- but we know deep down that with a few more months, we could have made a stronger, tighter game." With the opportunity to make Condemned 2, they have a chance to prove it.