We haven’t seen a new True Crime title within the last six years. However, today, ModNation Racers developer United Front Games is taking up the challenge of creating the next game in the franchise. With a team composed of former Need for Speed, Saints Row, Godfather, Rockstar, and Radical Entertainment developers, it doesn’t sound like they’ll have much trouble doing it.
United Front really wanted to create a reboot of the franchise. To do this, they looked at what they would like to create in a True Crime title. They loved the idea of a cop as the main character and the idea of a man doing bad as a necessity of achieving good. The developer did admit that there is a lot of competition in the game’s genre, though. They pointed out Grand Theft Auto as the the number one contender. According to United Front, whatever Rockstar makes comes out and sells millions of copies – which is usually the way it goes.
The developer was heavily influenced by old Hong Kong movies, they told us. They loved the martial arts fighting style and they loved Hong Kong’s very diverse range of architecture such as its market streets. So you’ll see a lot of that architecture in this game. Although, the team admits that this isn’t an exact replica of Hong Kong. While they took “thousands of pictures”, it’s not at all similar to Hong Kong’s real-life streets. Although, they did get the city’s core components in there.
Hand-to-hand combat is a big focus for the team. They don’t want just guns in the game. Clearly displayed in the demo we were shown, the main character Wei Shen knows a series of martial arts. You can literally fight anywhere, too – it’s not like they limit you to enter some sort of fighting mode before taking on a foe. What’s really cool about the fighting system is that players can utilize the environment as they fight. During the “Night Market Chase” mission we were being shown, Shen was chasing down a man named Dirty Ming where, after catching him on a roof, beats the living hell out of him. Ming has allies which Shen needs to take care of first, though. We saw Shen throw these guys off the roof, stick their face in a fan (look at all the blood), and even stick them into a vent. Ouch.
During Shen’s chase with Dirty Ming, we see him pull off various acrobatic moves. The team mentions that Assassin’s Creed is currently the lead in free movement, or parkour, around the game worlds. They wanted to integrate some of that movement into True Crime. The chase sees Cheng jumping objects, quickly climbing gates, jump in slow-motion, etc. It looks really fluid.
Another mission we were shown, “Top Glamour”, sees players chase down Ming once again, this time on a motorcycle. When the player arrives to the dock area where Ming is, Shen jumps off the motorcycle as it’s in motion and lets it slide into what I’m assuming was some sort of oil tank which then explodes once the motorcycle collides with it.
Shen eventually put Ming in the trunk of a car and took him in. However, on the way, he was being chased by Ming’s accomplices, so naturally, Shen had to ready his gun and take them out. Aiming while in the car auto-locks and the shot goes into slow motion when you have them in a good position. It’s a cool little feature, I’ll admit. What’s also interesting to note is that in true Hong Kong fashion, the driver is on the right of the vehicle. Additionally, I noticed the game’s licensed soundtrack. When in the car, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West’s “Run This Town” was playing. I bobbed my head.
Another big addition to the game is its society. Shen will have some sort of popularity or unpopularity amongst people. He can do favors for people and they’ll pay him back by aiding him in missions. For example, if you’re searching for someone during a mission, you can talk to people in the streets and they’ll tell you if they’ve seen him.
United Front is promising a vast, rich open world for True Crime. There’s plenty of mini-games, side-quests, and other goodies in addition to the game’s main story for players to experience. There will be no multiplayer, unfortunately, but I’m sure if the single-player is as robust as United Front promises, then that won’t be a problem.