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May 17, 2005
Without Warning - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
28/10/2005CapcomCircle Studio1$99.95

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The game looks very impressive.
While you may not recognise the name of the development team of this title, Circle Studio, you will certainly know where the founders have come from. In fact the founders are none other then Jeremy Heath-Smith and Adrian Smith who formed Core Design and were the creators of a little PSOne/PC title called Tomb Raider. After leaving Core Design in 2003 the two men created Circle Studio with Without Warning being the first product out of that company. This is an action/shooter, certainly not an unknown genre, but even at this early stage of development the game is shaping up as a very exciting prospect.

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Nice flame effects.
In Without Warning, a radical terrorist group has targeted and seized the Peterson-Daniels Chemical Facility, a vulnerable location that jeopardizes millions of people from the devastating ecological hazard it imposes if destroyed. Pleas are useless and any direct military assault would be too great a risk. As terrified hostages fear for their lives, their only hope lies with a covert operations team, whose goal is to infiltrate the plant and eliminate the merciless enemy.

The harrowing events unfold over a 12 hour period, featuring a unique gameplay dynamic which enables the six central characters to experience events across the same timeline but from their own distinct viewpoints. The player controls each character individually, with the focus automatically shifting to a new character at key moments which are unfolded through cut scenes. By switching between the characters, their individual tales are woven together to create an overall picture of the events that happened during the crisis. The player will also retrospectively view events through the eyes of another character and is therefore not only a participant in the events, but a spectator as well. Furthermore, actions performed as one character affect the progress of others and players must successfully utilize the strengths of each in order to advance.

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Several enemies ahead.
The six characters in the game include three members of a covert operations team, and three civilians. The three members of the covert operations team include Kyle Rivers - the leader of the squad with an experienced combat background, Jack Hooper - the youngest and most inexperienced member of the team for whom this is the first combat mission and Ed Reagan - the squad’s bomb disposal specialist who is also formidable in close combat situations. On the civilian front the game includes Tanya Shaw - a terrified secretary whose only desire is to escape safely, Dave Wilson – a security guard who was overlooked by the terrorists; his fierce determination drives him as he fights to rescue his co-workers and Ben Harrison – a news cameraman who is grounded when his helicopter is shot down by the terrorists; his quest is to obtain breaking news coverage, however dangerous it may be. It's an interesting mix that should allow the developers to include very different game styles.

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One of the puzzles...
In fact the developers are including a broad range of gameplay styles from exploration to puzzle-solving and includes dynamic environmental interaction, and a variety of sub missions including bomb diffusion and hostage rescue. As you can see in the picture to the left here some sections, possibly bomb diffusion, involves pressing the correct sequence of buttons in quick succession. Of course the game will include a wide range of weapons and equipment to use as well as a rotatable camera to look around the environment.

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The levels look spectacular.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots Without Warning is one of the best looking PS2 games. Certainly the main characters are detailed and while the backgrounds could do with a little more work there is still well over six months of development time remaining.

What makes this game interesting for another reason is that its the first time Capcom has published a game developed in Europe. With Capcom's publishing muscle and polishing ability on titles it provides a great opportunity for both companies to generate a massive hit. Without Warning is a great looking title and one which is certainly worth watching in the coming months as development finishes up.