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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Ninja Theory
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: September 17, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Matthew Prunty & J.J. Remshart

March 8, 2005 - For the most part, this title has fallen off the maps from when it was first announced. As one of the first next generation titles we got a chance to look at, it gave gamers a closer look at what we could expect and very much see with the arrival of the newer systems as well as greater creativity. Just think about "Ninja Gaiden meets Half-Life 2" combined into one to create something fresh, violent, and more addicting than anything on the current hardware systems.

Just Add Monsters, A Cambridge-based games company which prior experience in the industry with an Xbox title, Kung Fu Chaos. In an effort to get a jump on the big name developers in the industry, Just Add Monster gave a brief insight into their first next generation title, Heavenly Sword. This game has been in development for almost a year now, and was shown at the European Developer's Conference in 2004 to give gamers and developers their first taste of what's to come in the near future.

In the words of several developers, Heavenly Sword was seen as "Ninja Gaiden meets Half-Life 2". Being design on high-end PC systems for next generation systems, JAM spent 18 months with the staff of 20 people to garnish the prototype preview that was shown at EDC in 2004. Still to this day, we don't know who is the publisher of this title, but the game is well on its way through the pre-production stages, with very few signs of a luckily showing at this year's E3, but who knows, they could pull a shocker.

The following is a compilation of video footage and screenshots that shows of the shear beauty and ambitions of this small Cambridge-based company. For those gamers who have played games like Dynasty Warriors, have something to see with the second video clip:

Prototype Footage

More Screenshots

"The 3D engine used for Heavenly Sword supports modern rendering techniques including per-pixel lighting, normal mapping, fuzzy shadows, light blooms and environmental effects such as clouds that smoothly roll across the terrain, projecting shadows over every object in the scene. The second movie shows the advance facial animation system that JAM has incorporated to its next-generation engine."

Facial Animation

In the second video clip, the first thing you will notice is the sheer depth of coding, A.I. and fluidity in motion. This title was design to keep gamers on their toes since every single enemy will be host to its own A.I. system. Which means, no two enemies will attack the same. So for those who thought nothing could challenge them, they will have their beliefs shattered with this very title.

And for those who say that online gaming is the next level for the gaming world, may get their wish with this title. In a recent interview with Tameem Antoniades, head of JAM, he mentioned that online play was being design from the get go of this title, so that is a very good sign that we could see some form of online play with this title. They are even experimenting with 1 on 1 battles to see if they can perfect it to a point that would be also included into the title.

So at this point, it is safe to say that JAM has proven their worth in the industry, and still have a lot to show us within the coming months up to the launching of the next generation platforms.

Personal Thoughts:
In the 6 months or so since I first reported this not much has changed. The Revolution on a technological standpoint seems very similar to the XBOX 2. The only major difference we know of so far is the controls. Rumors abound, of no d-pad (which I think it's about time) and no A or B buttons (which is a little odd) down to gyroscopic controllers with 3-d motion sensing. Imagine every twist of your wrist translating to moving your sword. Even if that doesn't come through it looks like this is going to be a nice hack and slash of quite the amazing scope. I reserve judgment till we get a little further in development though.

I'm in sheer awe over the dedication and efforts of this small core team of JAM. Though nothing new has been given in some months, it’s safe to say that this year's E3 or even next year will play showcase to this massive and indulging title.

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