The Crossing is Arkane’s attempt to blend single and multiplayer games, to cancel out what they see as the failings of both: the idiocy of single-player AI, the lack of meaning to multiplayer bouts.
When you start in Story mode, you’re playing fairly traditional single-player (or optionally co-op) shooter fare: you’re either a modern-day Knight Templar or a cop-like IBAT agent, and you’re shooting AI bad guys in an alternate-reality Paris. Yet at any time other players can jump into your single-player game to take control of any enemy.
The worlds don’t really collide, however, until you get to the Skirmish maps: warzones in which two teams are already deathmatching. It’s IBAT vs Templars, so whichever side you’re on you’re likely to have some allies, but there’s nothing to stop everyone switching teams to gang up on the story-mode guy - he’s much tougher and more powerful than the deathmatchers.
The game-mode can change, so the deathmatchers might be playing CTF until a story player turns up, at which point the map changes to give the two teams the objectives they have in that section of his story.
It’s a bold and immensely complex idea, but we’re not yet convinced that being an ill-fated extra in someone else’s adventure is the context multiplayer games have been waiting for.
February 14, 2007