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Game Profile
3DO Company, The
3DO Company, The
GENRE: Action
Not Rated
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on March 25, 2003

First Impressions: The only way this game could offend more people is if it was titled Columbine 3D.

3DO has recently announced it's biggest project to date, titled Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The project, which sports a gigantic $9.6 million budget ($1.6 million of that just going towards marketing), certainly looks like it will be a pivotal change for 3DO, who has garnered itself a reputation around the industry for publishing games that have "bargain-bin" written all over them.

The game's plot will be very dark, featuring heavy inspiration from the New Testament being the base of many of the game's dark religious tones. The story follows Abaddon, a fallen archangel that doesn't fit in either Heaven or Hell. Despite his lack of obligation to either side, when the Horsemen are unleashed upon the world Abaddon decides to stop them.

In order to do this Abaddon calls on the help of three mortals. These three mortals aren't exactly the moral-driven heroes you would usually see in such a game. Instead, the three mortals are just as dark and scary as the Four Horsemen themselves. The first one is a prostitute named Jesse Horner, who has the ability to heal you. The second mortal Abaddon picks is a mass murderer named Jimmy Ray Flint, who sees visions of those who are evil in the purest sense, and finally there is Senator Anderson Scott, who just like any real-life senator is very good at coercion.

To bring these stunningly dark ideas to life 3DO has enlisted Simon Bisley, known for his DC comics artwork, who has provided a lot of the art direction for the game. This is really apparent in the game thus far, as it features much of the gothic styling that has made Simon Bisley so famous as an artist. He's also contributed a lot of vulgar art material that otherwise wouldn't normally be seen in a game, like how the top that prostitute Jesse Horner wears is so tight that you can perfectly make out every little bit of the woman's breasts.

Of course with all this great art design you do need to have gameplay to back it up. Although 3DO is still in the middle of trying to figure out just how exactly the battle system will work (the game is still pretty early in development) some tidbits are known about the game's battle system so far. Mainly, it's design will be set around a short-range/long-range battle style, which will change as new weapons are introduced to the player. 3DO has also promised that the combat system will be very fast-paced, engaging players in what will hopefully be a very twitch-based bloodbath. To touch off this gory red masterpiece, 3DO plans to allow players to top off a good battle with FMV finishing moves that, as evidenced through the ultra-gory examples provided thus far, will be ten times more disturbing than anything that Mortal Kombat ever showed us.

As for the team-based gameplay...well, just don't expect anything like The Thing. Basically, for the most part of the game, you will adventure alone while your teammates follow you in the background. When you do pair up with your allies though, it will likely only be one of them and only for a short time. Darn...

To display the gameplay when it's fully realized will be the game's ultra slick graphics. The textures used in the game will be dark as to portray the general feeling that the developers will hope the game will give off. 3DO is also hoping to implement some rather impressive graphical spectacles, the main spectacle being the flowing cloth and hair physics that are going to look like something out of dream. Character models will also be super-detailed, featuring a hefty 5,000-7,000 polygons each. The combat animations that we'll see in the fights are being made by the folks at SmashCut, renowned for their work in The Crow, Fight Club, and The Matrix.

Final Thoughts
At this stage in the development of Four Horsemen, the game is all concept and a whole lot of promise. 3DO seems to be really putting a lot of effort into this one, as evidenced by the game's huge budget, and gathering of game development sources from renowned outside sources, including SmashCut and artist Simon Bisley. Because of all of this, Four Horsemen does show potential but if that potential will be fully realized is yet to be seen. Stay tuned gamers, there's going to be more to see about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the coming months.

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