The first trailer and official website for Manhunt 2, the pleasingly shocking return for one of Rockstar's best ever games, has slashed a disturbing hole in the web, and we've squeezed out a few bleak details.
This footage suggests this unsettling sequel will take place in a dingy laboratory complex, where your character, Daniel Lamb, is the tortured victim of horrific mind-control experiments conducted by a sinister man called Dr. Whyte. Hit the Movies tab above to see the footage.
Watch carefully after Daniel croaks "I live in Hell," and you'll get a snatched glimpse of what looks like an operating theatre, and then what appears to be a placard for a lecture, dated "4th September." The lecture is titled "Mind Control" and would seem to be conducted by a Dr. Whyte, who's name appears beneath the text.
All interesting, but what comes next is even stranger. As the images continue to flicker and fade, a menacing voice proclaims: "What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?" This odd, almost incomprehensible phrase is actually a direct quote - from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Above: These images flick in and out of focus during the trailer, hinting at brain-troublingly dark themes from the game
The Tempest initially focuses on two characters - Prospero (the play's wise but flawed nobleman, exiled on an island) and his daughter, Miranda. Both have lived on a deserted island for 12 years, and Miranda has never known anyone but her father. As a result he has been able to construct her entire reality, by manipulating her mind. He is, in effect, her creator. The quote comes when Prospero quizzes Miranda about faint memories she has from her past before they were banished.
But enough with the English lesson. We believe that Manhunt 2 will see you as Daniel Lamb in an attempt to escape a brutal laboratory, where you've spent who knows how long after being abducted and brainwashed in a series of experiments by the elusive Dr. Whyte. He has perhaps even used you as a mindless slave to do his dirty work for him - echoing another character from The Tempest, the abused and vicious animal-man-thing, Caliban.
Rockstar is one of the few developers which really knows how to build and unfold a complex and challenging plot - so expect plenty of truly unsettling memories to come pouring through as you play, with the trailer hinting that you may even have killed your own family. But can you even trust your memories when you know you've been mind-mangled? Don't think about it too hard - we wouldn't want anyone to have nightmares...
February 7, 2007