A computer lab technician working on a top secret weapon for the government was planning to steal the information and sell it to Ivana for a king’s ransom. While trying to leave with the stolen CD-Roms he stored the information on, the technician had a mishap with Queelocke, Freefall’s teleporting critter friend.
Unexpectedly, the technician was whisked away to an unknown location, and his CD’s were scattered randomly around the world. Queelocke returned to La Jolla, Gen13’s current home, with a CD. Lynch was able to determine the contents, and realized the threat posed if these CD’s fell into the wrong hands. The Gen13 team must get them back.
Meanwhile, Ivana finds herself a little upset that her CD’s have not been handed over. She immediately initiates a search of her own, no holds barred. With the help of Queelocke, the Gen13 team will scour the globe in attempt to retrieve the CD’s before Ivana. It is up to the player to succeed, gathering as many CD’s as possible. Ivana’s troops won’t give up easy, however, and are bound to snag a few CD’s themselves. It is inevitable that the Gen13 team will face Ivana in the end to re-capture the final CD’s.
The normal gameplay engine will be similar to that of Earthworm Jim where the player controls at least one of the five different Gen13 characters. There are also “team-up” levels where the AI controls additional players on the screen. In the case of a two-player game, both characters will be actively controlled.
In addition to side scrolling fighting/shooting, the engine will be designed to be flexible, allowing for a variety of scenarios such as: vertical shooter, static screen action, zoomed in cinematic sequences, zoomed out view of gameplay, and forced scrolling action.
The boss combat engine will be a dynamic 3-D environment where the characters can cruise around in an arena. The closer the character is to the “boss,” the closer the camera will be. The camera will zoom out respectively when the characters are apart.
With the design documents completed, EA proceeded to entertain bids from possible developers. Potential developers included Evolutionary Publishing (Fox Hunt), Realtime Associates (Crusader: No Remorse, Iron Man & XO in Heavy Metal), and Gray Matter Inc. (Perfect Weapon). Each developer submitted technical demos for review. It is important to understand that developers have concurrent projects in progress while technical demos are being created and some have more time and resources to dedicate on this than others. The technical demos are not to be taken as indication of how the resulting gameplay would be.
Evolutionary Publishing submitted two progressive interactive technical demos of Rainmaker and Qeelocke. Both demos allowed the user to move the character in a platform environment. The backdrop was from the “Viva Las Vegas” level. The more recent demo allowed Rainmaker to scale the wall of the pyramid in Las Vegas. Evolutionary Publishing decided to utilize 2D sprites for the characters whereas the following two competing developers used 3D models.
Realtime Associates submitted a playable demonstration of their progress in representing Freefall as a real-time rendered 3D model. This demo was put together in less than a week and if given a few more days, the developer could make substantial improvements in the following areas:
Implement Gouraud shading on the model. This will help make Freefall seem much more smooth and well rounded-out.
More work on the walk animation. She needs to have a much more sensual/sexual feeling in her movement.
Improved head, face, and hair. In general she needs another revision in the art and model to make her look and feel more like Freefall. Realtime states that she was textured with not the most pleasing of expressions on her face, eyes, and lips.
This demo was to give the publisher a sense as to the high level of quality they expect from Realtime and the team, as well as a feel for the kind of personal passion they have for this project. If this is a representative of what they can do in a week, just imagine what they could deliver as a final product!
Gray Matter Inc. submitted a non-interactive art demo to illustrate the graphics style of the various Gen13 characters including an end boss as well as a fly through to the “Down In It” level. The graphics captured the essence of the design documents and ultimately Gray Matter was chosen as the developer.
After just a few months of programming, Gray Matter developed two polished interactive levels, an arena mode, and FMV for both the PlayStation and PC. Three different characters were created for the two side-scrolling levels as well as enemies. Four characters and an enemy Boss were programmed for the Arena mode. Below are screenshots from the interactive PlayStation beta versions.
Unfortunately the agreement between Gray Matter and Electronic Arts reached an impasse due to business politics. As a result Gray Matter closed down therefore ceasing all projects and all employees losing their jobs. Due to the amount of money spent and the popularity of Gen13 wavering, EA decided it was not financially feasible to engage another developer and instead decided to cut their losses. Fortunately many of the former Gray Matter employees who lost their jobs were hired by EA Canada and went on to develop Knockout Kings.Gen13,