Eidos takes the prize for both decoration at this year's E3. The Age of Conan booth featured moody, Conan-esque decor and shrunken heads, and the latest title from IO received the full treatment: cocaine under glass.
The makers of Hitman: Blood Money, were showing off their latest effort, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men and instead of the usual array of event chairs lined up mina row, someone thought to build benches with clear glass tops and weapons, ammunition, cash and drugs stuffed inside.
I took my seat on the cocaine bench, eagerly awaiting the preview of this interesting new title, and was sorely disappointed when their TV conked out, and we moved to another room. The disappointment faded rapidly.
A scene from "Kane & Lynch" caught my eye at Sony's press conference (where they tried to pawn the game off as a "PS3 title"), and for good reason. The scene they showed was of a group of men huddled around each other on the roof of a building, planning an assault on a conference room several floors below.
It was a mission briefing, the likes of which we've seen a thousand times, but we've never seen one quite like this. In Kane & Lynch the entire story, from dialogue to mission briefings, occurs in-game. You're given objectives as you move form place to place - as you play - and you make your plans as you go.
The two scenes they showed, the afore-mentioned conference room assault, and the kidnapping of a night club manager, displayed such a depth of gameplay that I have a hard time pigeon holing this game into a genre.
The game is part action game, part stealth shooter, part squad-based combat, with a number of Hitman elements and some stuff that's just totally new. You can take cover behind objects, for example, but as they take damage, they get whittled down to nothing, forcing you to revaluate and keep moving.
The designers claim it's an effort to see how far down into a hole you can go, and how thin the line is between anti-hero and monster. "You start at the bottom," they said, "and keep going down."
I asked if we find out how exactly thin that line is. They told me we'll have to wait and see.
Kane & Lynch comes out Q4 2007, and I will definitely be buying this one.