Blacksite: Area 51 Preview

Written by Joe Martin

August 15, 2007 | 08:53

Tags: #51 #alien #area #blacksite #deus-ex #grey #harvey-smith #preview #stranglehold #ue3

Companies: #midway

You are here, we are not

So, Blacksite is taking a new perspective in the series, we’ve told you that much, but what about the specifics? Who is this new alien-ass-kicking grunt whom we shall be taking possession of?

While the details are still pretty thin on the ground, it has been revealed that the main character will be a Delta Force soldier named Aeran Pierce – a name which my spellchecker keeps refusing to believe in – who is on alien-slaughter duty after the events of the first game see wide-spread havoc across the world.

The aliens from the first game are slowly spreading out, infecting and resurrecting their enemies to fight for them as zombie-mutant-alien-cyborg-things called ‘Reborn’. How and why the aliens are doing all this isn’t exactly clear yet, but early footage shows enemies with cybernetic enhancements and attachments.

As for why, it’s most likely the usual alien-takeover reasons, with a dash of Deus Ex conspiracy thrown in for good measure given that The Illuminati featured prominently in the plot of the first Xbox and PC game.

Blacksite: Area 51 Preview A story all of its own Blacksite: Area 51 Preview A story all of its ownClick to enlarge

The story will see Aeran commanding small units of soldiers, typically limited to two or three grunts, across a wide range of locations. Area 51 and the nearby ghost town of Rachael, Nevada, are obvious locations which have been confirmed since early on, but the player will also be doing battle in a number of locations across America.

Most unusual and interestingly though is the revelation that some of the levels will be set in Iraq, where the player will have to combat against some none-too-happy natives in order to achieve their objectives. It’s an odd step for a sci-fi FPS to take, suddenly leaping over into a politically charged issue like Iraq with little warning, but Harvey Smith has been clear that the game will have a subtle political agenda.

"All games have a political perspective," Harvey said in a recent interview. "American's Army has a perspective from the Right, and Blacksite is from the Left."

Blacksite: Area 51 Preview A story all of its ownClick to enlarge

Smith has said that the majority of the story will be told with the player in ‘marginal locations’ such as trailer parks and deserted villages, but the game is also set to have some more massive and stunning set-pieces. The helicopter boss battle is one such location, where players must man a helicopter’s gun turret as it flies over a massive, monstrous alien beast that has emerged from beneath the ground. The battle involves dozens of vehicles and soldiers and although the combat is strictly on-rails, the skirmish is still as exciting and thrilling as anything else on offer, with the whole encounter being vaguely reminiscent of the tentacle boss in Half-Life.

One of the biggest and best things about the story however is the assured quality leant to the series by the writer; one Susan O’Connor. Writers for computer games, particularly FPS games, are often overlooked as being largely useless but when the writer you’ve recruited has worked on writing the story for games like Gears of War and Bioshock then it’s hard to deny the quality and depth of story which Blacksite will be bringing to the table.
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