One of the stranger moments of Sony's E3 2010 Press Conference was its introduction of the new Twisted Metal: A real version of Sweet Tooth's iconic truck showed up on stage. During our appointment, several members of the Eat Sleep Play team showed off the Nuke multiplayer mode, which wasn't playable on the showroom floor. The dev team jumped right into the gameplay basics, introducing the Nuke mode's faction-versus-faction gameplay. It's only one of several modes that they hope will revise the series favorably for its first high-definition entry.
Along a central, circular highway in a city defined by a circular shape, two vehicles are carrying giant statues of the faction leaders — in this case, Dollface and Sweet Tooth — and circling each other. Each team's goal is to destroy the other statue by using nuclear missiles.
The challenge comes from the introduction of flags, which power each launcher. In keeping with the series' twisted sense of humor, the flag is the opposing faction's leader; he's chained to one vehicle and is dragged to the team's launch site. There are several ways to get from surrounding buildings to the rooftop, where the leader is manning a turret.
As they started to drag Sweet Tooth toward the launch site, the developers talked about how each vehicle is meant to feel like a fighting game character, with distinct handling and special moves. Among the displayed weapons, a giant magnet that can deflect fire and vehicles sounded particularly interesting.
Once the "flag" had been moved to the launch site, the developers announced a mild surprise: The vehicle that's prepping the launch can't use any weapons, so other vehicles must defend it from attackers. After the missile was launched, it was promptly shot down by the opposing team, so defending the missile is also part of the winning strategy.
The devs talked about a few of the different vehicles in detail, including the Vermin with its rat missiles and the Talon helicopter, which is particularly suited to stopping missiles and is able to lug allies around the map. A tow truck can spawn cars to throw around or med kits, while the ambulance launches patients in bomb-strapped gurneys. (One dev talked about hopefully landing a "T" rating with the game. I don't think this is likely to happen.) To keep maps lively, the goal is for these modes to support 12 to 16 players in addition to a good number of NPC cars.
The game's tone is between Twisted Metal 2 and the grim Twisted Metal Black. There would be plenty of secrets, four-player split-screen support, and online play will center on camaraderie.
Vehicles are no longer associated with characters or factions. It's a decision that goes against the series' tradition, but Eat Sleep Play felt it is necessary to provide ideal game balance. It's also surprising that Dollface, who was introduced in Black, is a major character, especially when the plot and tone are meant to turn away from the bleak tone that Dollface epitomizes.
So far, it seems that the dev team is getting the important points of the series, even as they change a lot of details in the new Twisted Metal. Then again, if series originator David Jaffe is the one suggesting the changes, the series is in good hands.
More articles about Twisted Metal