Gamereactor went to London to try out the upcoming Tron: Evolution, which promises to tie movie and game together in brand new ways. Read about Emil's experiences right here.
What is life like inside a computer? Countless people have asked themselves that question, and numerous movies and games have attempted to visualize that virtual reality. But none of them have achieved the same cult following as the original Tron movie.
Ever since Jeff Bridges, in his role as Kevin Flynn, took the first baby steps inside ENCOM's central computer in the Disney movie from 1982, the classic Tron aesthetic has been copied in both music videos and movies. Even John Lasseter (creator of Toy Story) has recogninzed Tron's huge influence on computer animated movies in general. Now the movie is finally getting a sequel, Tron Legacy, and Disney's own studios are creating a game to tie the movies together. We were invited to London in that occasion, to have a closer look at how the Tron universe has developed during the past 28 years.
In Tron: Evolution you play as Anon, a control program designed to bring peace between the different population groups within the Tron universe. New programs with free will, the so-called Isos, have appeared as the result of the digital evolution and now inhabit the computer system. But they are not alone in this system, and without revealing too much, all hell breaks loose between the different programs, and it is up to Anon to put an end to the conflict.
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In a third person style akin to Prince of Persia, Anon has to climb, wallrun and fight his way through the many obstacles and enemies of the Tron universe. He's equipped with an Identity disc, a frisbee-like weapon used to keep enemies at a distance. And if they come too close, he can take them down with a martial arts system partly inspired by Capoeira. So far, so good, and the game ran smoothly and without any significant technical difficulties in the presentation we saw. And while the graphics aren't exactly mouthwateringly gorgeous, Propaganda Games have still managed to capture the feel and aesthetic that defined the original movie.
I meet with game director Darren Hedges later that day and ask about the aesthetics and the greatest challenges of bringing Tron back to life after 28 years of hibernation. Darren tells me how the developers have been on the film set since the first day of shooting, and how the film crew and the game developers have been sharing ideas, thoughts and concept art in order to tie the universe as closely together as possible, both in regards to the look and framework of the game, but also in regards to the film itself, which will reference events from the game.
During our talk with Darren, we also touch upon multiplayer, which he sees as the most exciting aspect of the game. Players will be able to take their characters online, rack up points to upgrade their character, and then return to the singleplayer portion of the game with their newly acquired skills. That way, trying out the different game modes offered by multiplayer should be more appealing to new players, and actually give them an incentive to go online.
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We take the multiplayer for a spin, and get to play with the iconic Light Cycles, the Tron universe's take on motorcycles. These bikes are deadly in multiplayer, as they leave behind a solid barrier everywhere they go. It quickly feels like a 3D version of the classic game Snake, where we try to capture our opponents inside our barriers while avoiding theirs. It's a unique and rather entertaining experience, and with a little polish it can easily steal hours of your time.
From what we've seen of Tron: Evolution, the game doesn't look bad at all. But so far it just doesn't seem to be in the same league as the aforementioned Prince of Persia, as the game simply isn't challenging enough and appears a bit too simple for experienced players. But if you're a fan of the universe and the 1982 movie, there's plenty to look forward too. Particularly the PlayStation 3 version, which supports both 3D displays and Move.
The keyword is "Transmedia", and the goal is to deliver a coherent experience across several media forms. We're looking forward to see whether the developers succeed in creating a game that feels like a natural extension of the movie, or whether we end up with a tame license product only aimed at players who can remember 1982.