Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

Io has taken the basic crowd system from Hitman Blood Money and extended it heavily. The developer is happy with the number of on-screen characters it can produce - it can throw out around 1,000 without much trouble - and is currently working on making the crowd work in groups and with logic to their reactions. Crowds will, apparently, feature heavily throughout the game, with civilians being present during street battles, for example.

In the night club - where Kane and Lynch have only limited ammo - the crowd is intended to provide the player with "sophisticated cover" from security guards, and it's beneficial to escape the club undetected. If the duo is spotted and gun shots are fired, the crowd around them scatters, effectively leaving Kane and Lynch exposed and vulnerable.

Above: The nightclub is the setting for a smash-and-grab operation led by Lynch

Io has opted for a no health bar approach so, if Kane takes a dangerous number of hits, the screen tilts and is coloured with a red hue, prompting the player to retreat, find cover and allow Kane's health to replenish itself.

Despite only glimpsing a small part of Kane & Lynch's world - we've still got to check out the co-op and super secret multiplayer modes - it's pretty evident that Io's combination of volatile - and slightly mental - main characters and explosive, action-focused scenarios should make for a winning formula. And coming from the creator of Hitman and Freedom Fighters we'd expect nothing less.