Set to appear later this year on PS2 and Xbox with a possible PC version to follow, 100 Bullets is a videogame adaptation of the much lauded Brian Azzarello comic book.
Acclaim is developing the title, which promises to appeal to arcade fans and conspiracy theorists alike; we're promised a strong story which dissects the the dark underbelly of contemporary America, along with a pleasing amount of searingly violent action.
Producer Frank J. Lafuente and the masterfully named lead designer Berenger Fish dropped by to explain what to expect from the title.
For anyone who's unfamiliar with the premise, 100 Bullets is based on a comic book - could you give us a little background on that?
Lafuente: 100 Bullets is a DC comic, printed under the Vertigo label. It is the creation of Brian Azzarello, penned by Eduardo Risso.
The story starts with a certain Mr Graves approaching individuals with a briefcase in hand. In the briefcase, he presents them with proof that their lives were ruined by an individual, irrefutable proof that they were wronged. In the case there's also a gun and 100 Bullets.
They are given with the assurance that they are untraceable - if any law enforcement investigations find the gun or bullets, they will cease. The individual will have complete immunity.
As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Mr. Graves is not trying to right every wrong...
Fish: The story slowly reveals a world where America is secretly ruled by a secretive group of families known as The Trust.
One of the major characters in the comic book is Cole Burns, a member of the Minutemen. The Minutemen and their leader the mysterious Agent Graves were once an internal police force for The Trust but are now operating for their own motives. Cole is one of the characters that the player will get to play in 100 Bullets the game.
Maybe we've grossly misunderstood the idea, but it sounds like moral choices figure in the game - isn't that a rather ambitious conceit for a videogame, where you're more normally concerned with just shooting everyone?
Fish: One of the original game concepts when Acclaim first looked at the 100 Bullets property was to have moral choices be a major part of the game. We decided however this idea would be difficult to make compelling to the player. The concept is not completely abandoned but instead there will be certain aspects of the story that will convey the same feelings.
Lafuente: Yes, that would be too ambitious for the development cycle that we have. Our game is rooted in the classic shooter, you don't have to shoot everyone, but it doesn't hurt to try. However, the story that we're getting from Brian will present the player with complexities that go well beyond that of the average shooter.
How has writer Brian Azzurello contributed to the game?
Lafuente: Brian has been an important part of the game from the very beginning. Once Acclaim secured the 100 Bullets licence, we met with Brian and brainstormed a basic plot for the game. A couple of months later he delivered to us the final story for the game.
At this time he's almost completed writing all of the dialogue for the game as well. We have been extremely lucky to squeeze some time out of him, as he's very busy with his other commitments to DC.
Fish: When we started the project, we identified the story as a key element. Except for Brian, no one knows what is going to happen in the 100 bullets universe. We had Brian come spend several days in Austin where we presented what we wanted to do with the game.