|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Pub: CD Projekt|
|Release: TBA 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
They say the weather will be bad tomorrow. They say the war overseas is heating up. They say the economy is worse than it ever has been. Well, we finally know who "they" are: game delays! … Or killer robots controlled by ghosts of aliens. You know, whatever makes more sense.
THEY was an FPS that was being developed by IMC/Metropolis to be published by CD Projekt, the geniuses that thought we needed another Witcher. The game was set in an apocalyptic 2012 where killer robots have ravaged England and just about wiped out the human race. However, scientology kicks in, and it turns out that the robots were actually being controlled by strange ethereal aliens called Phantoms.
Back in 2007 when the media got its first preview of the game, it looked like the best thing since sliced bread. It featured things like destructible terrain and customizable weapons. Then, Metropolis got distracted by how shiny and awful The Witcher was and they never finished work on THEY. Now we are in 2011, just one year before the game is actually supposed to take place, and these "groundbreaking" game elements really aren't anything new to us. Battlefield did the whole destructible terrain thing, and just about every shooter did the customizable weapons thing.
If there's any unique feature that THEY still has, it's just how customizable the weapons are supposed to be. Each gun has four swappable slots that you could but any number of parts into. According to the developers, this means you can make a sniper rifle that shoots grenades or a pistol that shoots ice or acid. It's kind of like Borderlands, except you are building the guns rather than finding them.
THEY was also unique in that it did away with gun-specific ammo. Instead, your gun just fired Energy Bullets that could replenish at power generators. This meant that you could mix and match your gun parts to your heart's content without ever worrying about running out of ammo. It's a pretty cool idea, but more than one fan was worried that it would make the game too easy.
The basic combat mechanics actually revolve around the invisible aliens that L. Ron Hubbard fans are so keen on. When in battle, you can either target the robot itself or its alien controller. Blasting the robot takes more effort and uses more ammo, but it reduces it to nothing more than a pile of scrap. Unfortunately its alien controller will then look around the area for more robots to possess. Shooting the alien gets rid of that problem, but doesn't necessarily get rid of the robot. Instead, unprocessed robots might go berserk and fire at anything in the area. It's kind of a catch-22, and the game was never completed enough to see if this was innovative or fun.
The multiplayer seemed like the best part about THEY. Since guns were supposedly so customizable, right down to fire rate, spread, accuracy, and even chamber size, the majority of the multiplayer would actually be about making these new guns. Players could give their guns a cosmetic paint job and even tag them, and then after thoroughly owning a noob or two online, they could trade their guns in for yet more powerful weaponry. It was a self-sustaining barter system, where players naturally exchanged their guns for parts and weapons that they preferred. A great idea, true, but it never got off the ground.
THEY just isn't complete, and it may never be. Its original projected release was sometime in 2009, but that passed and delays stacked up, and finally early last year CD Projekt said they would suspend development on the game indefinitely to work on The Witcher 2. Now the Witcher 2 is out, and we still haven't heard anything about THEY.
Perhaps CD Projekt will give us some news about THEY this year at E3. The big question is, does this game, now more than five years in the making, have what it takes to satisfy our current FPS needs. Can it even co-exist in a world where Call of Duty and Halo rule the FPS world? Do we even care? Well, they say that THEY still has what it takes to be a hit FPS. We can only hope they are right.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
CCC Freelance Writer