E3 2010: Bodycount boasts the strangest inspirations

Kicking off a demo of his new first-person shooter Bodycount, creative director Stuart Black of Codemasters' Guildford Studio tears into a list of influences that become more and more disparate with each passing name or work. Blade Runner. Lady Gaga. J.J. Abrams. Comic writer Garth Ennis. It's a frankly unexpected start to an E3 demo, but Bodycount is clearly a game that aims to be as quirkily intense as its creator.

Above: Standing directly in front of the guy with the minigun is not advised

Once upon a time, Black (the man) shepherded the development of Criterion Games' last-gen shooter, Black, but now is working to give Codemasters a presence in the first-person market with this original entry, and its compelling premise. Bodycount's campaign is split into a season of television-like "episodes," which tell the story of a mysterious organization (The Network) and hero Jackson Delgado, who was plucked from an ordinary life and offered a sweet gig blasting folks to kingdom come. Naturally, he accepted without... you know, finding out the details of the position, and now finds himself fighting to discover just what the hell is going on.

We didn't get much of a chance to see the aforementioned influences in action, but the bit of the campaign we played found Delgado filling various human foes with copious shells, all while using an unusual cover system. Holding the left trigger puts you in a crouch-like position behind any nearby cover or debris, and from there you can use the left analog stick to peek out in any direction, giving you a chance to pop out and surprise enemies with ease. However, hyper-detailed damage modeling - to the point that crates and other objects can be decimated with surprising precision - make it difficult to stay behind cover for long.

Above: Shooting a man who's about to eat an explosion with his face seems wasteful

Also interesting are the glowing intel icons that explode forth from fallen enemies, not only giving you currency to upgrade weapons and call in air strikes, but also a definitive visual cue that an opponent is good and dead. Black says the single-player campaign is set in a series of interconnected stages, and Delgado will receive objectives and assignments via a PDA display and the sultry, unidentified female voice in his headset.

But Bodycount offers more than just a solo experience, as a separate co-op campaign - currently set for two players, though four is under consideration - offers additional insight into the game's backstory, and a 12-player team deathmatch mode is also in the works for this early 2011 release.

The first-person shooter market is incredibly crowded, but with arcade-style action and an intriguing premise behind the action, we'll be keeping a closer eye on Bodycount as it progresses towards completion. But Black isn't content to just promise one forthcoming shooter - he says the game will end with a "big reveal" that will set up the narrative and gameplay evolutions in a potential sequel, and that the intended follow-up will also feature a more robust multiplayer approach.

What a card. Man, give us the first game before talking up another!

Jun 17, 2010


E3 E3 2010


  • CAPST3R - June 20, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    They need to get the pace right here. First off, with cover so weak, you'll need to be damn near invincible. Also, the guns need to pack a real hefty punch (Black said that this was going to happen), the map needs to be big (so there's cover), and, most importantly, it needs to be fast. Really fast. This peek-out-of-cover style really doesn't go well with the damage system. Cover is only for playing against bosses in arcade shooters, and they will hopefully figure this out.
  • FreekinIdiot - June 18, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    No thanks, not for me. Getting a little bored of FPS's at the moment.
  • BAbaracus1983 - June 18, 2010 1:33 a.m.

    The pre-alpha obviously shows much work to be done, but a spiritual successor to BLACK is worth the time needed to make it right.
  • smallberry - June 17, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    Looks fun and BLACK was great but itsPre Alpha and they are aiming for Spring 011? I don't see it reaching us that soon.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 17, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    I'm pretty stoked for this game. Like Hayward said, the FPS market is crowded, but most of them are serious or dramatic/epic. This looks to be just crazy balls-to-the-wall fun.
  • Evil_AppleJuice - June 17, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    meh. I dont like the lack of seriousness. I mean, I know not all shooters are serious, but the exploding blue items, the seductive woman telling you what is going on, and the lack of oomph from the bullets/guns kinda ruins it for me.
  • ScruffMoney - June 17, 2010 9:33 p.m.

    Looks like it could be good.
  • Gameguy94 - June 17, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    This game has potential and it will certainly be unique I'm not too concerned about the Lady Gaga inspiration not because I'm a fan but because its based on how different she is from the rest of all that pop music crap. And Bodycount wants to standout what's wrong with that given how overpopulated the shooter genre is?
  • oufour - June 17, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    i like the sidekick. but i hope this doesn't come out the same time as bulletstorm, i doubt this could take on bulletstorm. still, looks fun.
  • ventanger - June 17, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    Where do I go to pass a constitutional amendment declaring a legal separation between video games and Lady Gaga?

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