Project Origin: Officially VERY EXCITING

Monolith chat about their non-F.E.A.R. sequel to, er, F.E.A.R. in an Xbox World 360 exclusive...

After severing ties with publisher Vivendi, coders Monolith took everything they'd ever done on the first F.E.A.R. with them to their new home at Warner Interactive. Well, everything except the name F.E.A.R., which Vivendi retained the rights to. Did that stop them? Oh no. We caught up with Lead Designer John Mulkey for a lengthy chat about the newly-monickered Project Origin - the true sequel to F.E.A.R in everything but name. Read on...

How frustrating was it to have to leave the F.E.A.R. name behind?
I think the biggest frustration was just the amount of distraction it created. All I want to do is try to make great games for people to enjoy. All the energy expended dealing with the whole naming thing is just energy that could have otherwise been directed at making a great game.

The name was famously dreamed up by fans, through Monolith's website...
Right. I think the title works well. The idea is to brand a franchise on which a number of games can be created, so taking on the name of the project that started the whole chain of events in the game universe rolling, Project Origin, seems a natural fit. I imagine there will a be a subtitle attached to the name at some point (as well).

You guys pushed melee combat rather than gunplay in your other big 360 title, Condemned. Will there be more melee attacks in Origin?
At the core, Project Origin is about over the top cinematic combat. We explored the idea of a deeper melee system early on in production, but decided that it was diluting the core experience more than adding to it, so we decided to focus that effort in other areas that would enhance the gunplay aspect of the game instead.

Such as?
Well, I like to approach the combat in the game as a sandbox of opportunities that allow the gameplay to unfold based on the choices made by both the player and enemies; sort of like a chess game, where every action has a reaction - or in our case multiple reactions - that set off a chain of events that is contextual to the environment and the actions taken by the player. So for Project Origin the goal was to ramp this up even further. We accomplished this in a number of ways, but one is by giving the enemies a stronger understanding of the environment around them; how they can use it in combat. This gives the player new ways they can interact with the environment - especially as we're throwing in new weapons that provide both sides with new strategies.

AND THAT'S ONLY A CHEEKY TASTER!For Xbox World 360's full, interview with John Mulkey, including his views on Vivendi's F.E.A.R. Files, how Alma fits into Origin's gameplay, and how they're facing up to the threat of Crysis, pick up issue 63 of Xbox World 360, on sale 27th February...