Warmonger - Operation: Downtown Destruction

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: NetDevil
Developer: NetDevil

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PC Preview - 'Warmonger - Operation: Downtown Destruction'

by Thomas Wilde on May 12, 2007 @ 12:38 a.m. PDT

Warmonger - Operation: Downtown Destruction is an apocalyptic FPS, built around the AGEIA PhysX processor, enabling unique, piece-by-piece destruction system and is designed to deliver stunning fluid and cloth-based effects unlike anything seen before.

Genre : MMOFPS
Publisher: Netdevil
Developer: Netdevil
Release Date: 2007

“When we finished Auto Assault,” Chris Sherland, producer on Warmonger, says, “we wanted to take physics to the next level… and defeat the ‘titanium fence.’”

If you’ve ever played any kind of shooter, you know what the titanium fence is. Due to the limitations of game physics up until recently, any damn thing in a game environment could serve as hard cover, regardless of whether it actually should or not. This has led to many great, unwittingly hilarious moments in gaming, such as a tent being able to deflect chaingun fire in the last stages of Resident Evil 4, or subnuclear explosions in games like Serious Sam that utterly annihilate everything in a building except the building itself.

Warmonger is a deliberate attempt to avoid that. It’s a modern shooter, putting you in the role of a mercenary fighting across a variety of urban environments, and it’s based around the notion that you can literally destroy everything.

By combining AGEIA physics and Unreal Engine 3 (“we’ve pushed Havok way crazy far in Auto Assault,” Scott Brown, Netdevil’s president, says) in Warmonger, Netdevil has created a game world where everything is just about as durable as it has a right to be, from wood to stone to metal. Then it hands the player high-impact military firearms and encourages him or her to blow the crap out of it.

“You can’t rely on your cover anymore,” Sherland says. “The bottom drops out of shooter gameplay.” If you want to blow down a door, you can. If you want to knock a building out from underneath a sniper, go for it. You can break down walls, tunnel through floors, and break just about everything you see. If a round of Warmonger ends and the environment doesn’t look like the surface of the moon, you’re doing it wrong.

Unfortunately for most of us, this kind of fun comes with a price tag. Warmonger, given what it needs to do what it does, is going to be what we in the trade call a two-thousand-dollar game. You see, it comes with a new computer.

On the plus side, though, Netdevil’s planning on giving away the first episode of Warmonger for free, as something between a public beta and a gauging of consumer interest. It will be a fully complete product, but as Sherland says, “we need feedback.” It’ll handle online multiplayer using Gamespy’s matching software.

Warmonger, in short, sounds cool, but from the word “go” it’s suffering from the same kind of hardware inflation problems that plague a lot of PC games. It’ll be interesting to see how it pushes the envelope, and what influence it’ll have on shooters in general. With luck, we’ll get a closer look at it later this year.


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