I like the fact that Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions have made the switch to the downloadable market. For starters, the likes of XBLA and PSN have always been a better fit for their quirkier, more experimental creative brain-splurges. Secondly, the shorter development time means that we now get a new Double Fine game announced roughly every 3.1 seconds, 24 hours a day. They’re pumping them out like The X-Factor pumps briefly-hopeful flash-in-the-pan failures towards the unemployment line. I like it.
The latest pumpee? Trenched, Double Fine’s mech combat game. The fact that it's Double Fine has me interested, but how will it get around rule 347.b of video game law, which states that the majority of mech games must be a bit guff? Let’s watch the trailer and find out, shall we?
Done? Right then. What we appear to have in Trenched is big old blasty mech combat game, probably with a big online multiplayer focus (lines like "march will allies from around the world" always mean big multiplayer, fact). Mucho mech customisation too, if that high-speed montage with the little twitchy man - seriously, look at him go! - is anything to go by. But I think it's going to be more interesting than that.
You see these aren't your standard issue mobile suits. They're mobile trenches. They can service all your walky-walky-smashy-smashy needs, but they can also morph into a standard, static fortification. This my friends, is what I believe we can call the hook.
How Double Fine will use it remains to be seen, but I'm guessing some manner of large scale, real-time tactical play with various team members simultaneously defending and becoming* their team's frontline through on-the-fly transformation of their mechs. Possibly with the ability to control their little men on foot when in trench mode. With the kind of scale on show here, that could be one hell of an epic, organic and intelligent system for a war game.
Also, the tone of the trailer is pure Starship Troopers. And Starship Troopers is awesome. There's a whole chapter in the bible proving it.
*Christ, I'm abusing the italics in this one.
Mar 3, 2011