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Generation Zero

Co-op taken to "a whole new level" in Generation Zero

THQ Nordic to publish Avalanche's tactical open-world sci-fi title.

  • Text: Bengt Lemne

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Avalanche Studios had a huge presence at this year's E3 with Just Cause 4 and Rage 2 making headlines, but they also had another game, Generation Zero, that has now found a physical publishing partner in THQ Nordic.

"We developed a good, and successful, relationship through the distribution of the Hunter Call of the Wild, so we're happy to partner up with THQ again with our brand-new IP, Generation Zero. With a strong partner like THQ we can put our full focus on what we're best at; making fantastic game experiences," says Pim Holfve, CEO, Avalanche Studios.

"Having been fans of the weird science our fellow Nordic friends have been doing for years, we are very excited to do the right thing, as well as providing gamers with the first opportunity to play Generation Zero for themselves on the THQ Nordic booth at Gamescom," says Jan Binsmaier, Publishing Director, THQ Nordic.

We had an opportunity to talk to game director Emil Kraftling about the game at E3 where they camped out at the Microsoft Theater along with a few other high-profile ID@Xbox titles.

Set in an alternative Sweden in the year 1989 (you can see newspaper headlines about the fall of the Berlin Wall in the trailer), Avalanche isn't calling it a post-apocalyptic game:

"We call it a day after scenario, basically," says Kraftling. "So the world is eerily familiar, but something has gone wrong and noone is around. But still lights are still on, houses are standing abandoned. So it's not the brown world you would have come to expect otherwise."

Avalanche are best known for their open-world action games Just Cause and Mad Mad, but the also have the hunting series, theHunter, and in many ways Generation Zero builds on that game (with the main difference that the machines that replace the animals also hunt you). Co-op is one aspect brought over from theHunter: Call of the Wild.

"We had co-operative hunting in [Call of the Wild], but here we've taken it to a whole new level," explains Kraftling. "You have a vast skill-tree of different specialisations, and you have different types of weapons. And all of this unlocks these tactics that you can use when you are playing together with others and basically you can make sure that your team becomes more than the sum of your parts, just by having different specialisations and how you approach any enemy encounter will be affected with that."

The conversation also touched upon how the machines will carry scars from previous encounters, what the Swedish setting means for the Swedish development team, and the freedom self-publishing offers (today's THQ Nordic deal is more of a distribution deal, and creative control is in the hands of Avalanche).

We've also got a fresh batch of screens...

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Generation Zero is set for release next year on PC, PS4, and Xbox One and will be shown at this year's Gamescom in Cologne.