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Too Human

Platform(s): Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Silicon Knights

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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Too Human' (X360) Building Up Baldur #5 - New Screens

by Rainier on Aug. 12, 2008 @ 10:38 a.m. PDT

As the Cybernetic God Baldur, players are thrust into the midst of an ongoing battle that threatens the existence of mankind. An ancient machine presence has forced the God's hand. In the first of a three part trilogy, Baldur is charged with defending mankind from an onslaught of monstrous war machines bent on eradication of human life.

Step into the world of “Too Human,” the third-person epic action game from renowned Canadian developer Silicon Knights. As the cybernetic god Baldur, players are thrust into the midst of an ongoing battle that threatens the existence of mankind. An ancient machine presence has forced the god’s hand, and now Baldur is charged with defending humanity from an onslaught of monstrous war machines bent on the eradication of human life.

In “Too Human,” players are treated to a nonstop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and firearms combat, plus deep RPG elements fueled by breathtaking visuals enabled by the powerful Xbox 360. Battles unfold in awesome scale as players engage with vast numbers of enemies. Gamers can also take it to the next level by playing the entire single-player campaign in multiplayer co-op mode via Xbox Live.

Baldur wasn’t always Baldur. In fact, he was originally much less of a god than he is now. When Too Human was first conceived as a cyberpunk influenced science fiction game, Baldur was known as “John Franks” – a somewhat uninteresting monicker for an understated hero. We had wanted Too Human to open up in a very mundane, clichéd manner to lure the player into a sense of “been there, done that” and had set Franks up accordingly as a beat cop whose family was killed and he was looking for revenge.

At this point there was almost no Norse Mythology in the game at all. As the story was developed, we began to see more and more of the mythology reflected in the story. Throughout this, Franks changed: had hair, had none; had a goatee, then none, etc. His design fluctuated with the whims of the artists or anyone else - no one had a clear vision of what he should, or shouldn’t, look like.

When the game was shelved, dreams of Franks and the rest of Too Human also fell to the wayside. Too Human wouldn’t be revisited for another 5-6 years, until a funny thing happened: someone jokingly suggested doing the whole thing as Norse Mythology. Although jaws dropped and heads were scratched, it galvanized interest in the game again and pushed development in a totally different direction.

John Franks was immediately shelved as a character - as was pretty much every bit piece of existing content and ideas relating to the old game. John Franks became Baldur, the sun god from Norse Mythology and his world change from cyberpunk metropolis to the war-torn, ice-encrusted purgatory of the current game. A design was quickly arrived at but there was a lot of controversy over whether he should have horns on his helmet or not.

Horned helmets have become an icon of Viking culture, but real Vikings wore no such thing. Historians agree that the idea of horned helmets came from confusion with the ancient Celts who often wore precariously horned, winged and other wildly decorated helmets. The Vikings were very practical people – horns and other distractions would only have weighed them down unnecessarily and made it harder to fight. Nonetheless, in Viking art, many gods wore winged and horned helmets – gods, not mortals, and so it was fitting that Baldur had horns on his helm. To satisfy both parties, the idea of holographic horns came to the fore. The horns would sweep to the front of the helmet, before Baldur’s eyes, forming a visible display. Both parties would be satisfied, but not for long as the publisher was soon to change.

After Microsoft took over the game, Baldur would change a few more times to suit their vision as a marketable character. For our “default” Baldur – the one that would be used throughout marketing and become the prime image of who Baldur is – we lost the helm altogether. We felt that it reduced his humanity by obscuring so much of his personality and made him look like a machine in the process.

It is in the last stages of character design that the most work is done - with subtle, sometimes almost unnoticeable changes taking many hours to visualize and get right. Here, we were less interested with costume and more with the dynamics of the face – making him more charismatic, impressionable, courageous, and ultimately more “human” - a face that could take charge and be serious, yet also emote and show compassion.

Eventually, we felt we had a main character that could live up to his part in the story and yet hold his own on the screen with some of the better known and more recognizable heroes and villains.

Features:

  • Thrilling action-RPG gameplay. Unlike some games that may force players to choose between two genres, “Too Human” combines all the creative economy features and social experiences of a typical RPG, such as collecting loot and leveling up, while maintaining the excitement of an action game. With a wide array of weapons, armors, cybernetic implants and skills, players have an unprecedented level of customization with their characters
  • Explosive melee and firearms combat. It will take more than brawn and raw strength to supplant the machine hordes. Using a sophisticated blend of seamless melee and high-tech weapons combat, players have the power to vanquish foes near and far. Witness the fluid grace of heroes and enemies in battle as enacted by the acclaimed motion-capture group F.A.S.T. (Fight Action Stunt Team). Feel each punishing blow through advanced visual effects made possible through the unmatched power of Xbox 360.
  • The birth of an icon. Fight as Baldur, a powerful cybernetic god battling his way through enemy armies to become one of gaming’s renowned iconic heroes. From weaponry and armor to combat techniques and combos, players can fully customize Baldur to become the best possible hero.
  • Advanced cinematic presentation. Characters and environments come to life with unparalleled visual fidelity. Experience the full excitement of combat through a dynamically driven presentation system that portrays the combat with cinematic quality. Survive pulse-pounding battles against hordes of on-screen enemies set against the vast landscape of the “Too Human” world. A sweeping orchestral score sets the mood for heartbreak, anger and bloodlust as each tune encapsulates the gamer within the immersive gaming environment.
  • New level of accessibility through intuitive combat. Perform Baldur’s elaborate and complex combat maneuvers and chain together rapid-fire attacks and combos with ease. Through the use of an intuitive combat system, “Too Human” delivers gameplay that is easy to learn and rewarding to master.
  • Shared experience. Conquer the world of “Too Human” alone or with friends through advanced, online multiplayer co-op gameplay through the Xbox LIVE® service.
  • Modern take on classical Norse Mythology. In a world ruined by centuries of war, “Too Human” chronicles the epic story of Baldur, favored son of Odin and the last protector of humanity. As Baldur you must destroy the ancient war machines that threaten the world, but to do so you must balance your sense of duty and honor against your lust for revenge…perhaps even sacrificing your humanity in the process.

Too Human is currently scheduled for release in North America on Aug. 19, 2008, and Europe on Aug. 29th (£44.99)


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