Bringing the Zone to life

The A-Life system doesn't have total control of the world though, as major story events are initially blocked off. Once the player completes a plot point however, that area is handed over to A-Life and it can evolve on its own accord.

"For example, in one mission there is a group of bandits at a factory. You can see the faction, however everything beyond the story component is not really linked to what the player does," said Anton Bolshakov, project lead on the game. "The events going on in the simulated world can affect the missions the player gets. The player can pick up randomly generated missions from a dealer or trader he meets in the zone."

Moving through the game world, the impressiveness of the A-Life system becomes apparent the first time you witness a gun battle between two opposing factions or run across a mutated creature that's looking for an easy meal. Key characters are always where they should be, but low level merchants mill about so you might find yourself running into familiar faces in unusual places.