HONOLULU, Hawaii – At Captivate 2010, the creators of Capcom’s bestselling Lost Planet franchise were on hand to offer a guided tour through the new game’s multiplayer offerings. Producer Jun Takeuchi and Director Kenji Oguro showed off the latest online multiplayer maps and discussed what lies in store for gamers who explore the new environments of EDN III.
In the new game, which is set 10 years after the events of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, the inhabitants of the planet (Yuri’s Snow Pirates, NEVEC and others) must work together to battle the Akrid, who are more powerful than ever, for the survival of the planet. Many of the battles, which allow up to four players to join in the action, focus on eliminating giant monsters. Takeuchi said the gameplay’s evolution into a Monster Hunter-style experience came about naturally.
“We weren’t trying to make it like Monster Hunter,” said Takeuchi. “We had the similarities of four players and huge bosses, but the game itself plays very differently.”
New technology open things up for creatively for the development team, as MT Framework 2.0, the latest iteration of Capcom’s proprietary game engine, allowed more AI characters to be incorporated into the gameplay in this sequel.
“This allowed us to implement a mode where you can have 15 AI-controlled characters versus you in a training for the online play,” explained Takeuchi. “That was something that was not technologically feasible the first time around.”
Technology also allowed the developer to create an experience that is more open to the growing number of Lost Planet fans, which includes a large following of casual gamers.
“I think one thing that makes this game accessible for a casual audience is that there are a lot of things like vehicles and outrageous weapons that you can’t do in other shooters,” said Oguro. “You can launch a rocket just to see what it does and kill an enemy by accident. You can do more things by accident that help you in the game. It’s less discouraging for new players to toy around with the game.”
“Internally, we get a lot of feedback from the US side where the hardcore fans enjoy it and the Japanese audience feedback is also very positive and they’re not a shooter audience,” added Takeuchi. “If we’re going to put a fine point on it, we’re talking about a casual subgroup within gamers. If someone can’t play Halo, they’re not going to be able to play this game.”
While the four-player cooperative gameplay adds another dimension to the campaign mode, it’s the games online multiplayer that will keep players – casual and veteran alike – engaged in the action. The online experience allows up to 16 people to take part in multiplayer modes like elimination, team elimination, data post battle, akrid egg battle, and fugitive, to name a few.
The game disc includes 10 maps, including desecration, turbulent jungle, kraftwerk, great outdoors, thunderpeal precipice, duel complex, neos, friction, pirate fortress, and cube. Takeuchi said these are all big maps with a lot of exploration, so the game offers a lot of content right out of the gate.
Those who pre-ordered the game get a free DLC Map Pack 1, which includes Helix, which is an underwater base with a lot of height as well as width, and a lot of gimmicks and tricks built into the map.
“Steam fans shoot you into the air—once you jump you hit the A button again and you can swim a bit, it’s a bit Mario-like,” said Takeuchi. “There are data posts that need to be activated and if you toss a grenade, you’re better off shooting it in the air to do more damage.”
Back to the Island is an above-ground map that includes giant launch pads to shoot you into the air and plenty of interactive environments to play with.