Damnation slips to early 2009

Codemasters sidesteps Gears of War 2.

Codemasters has told Eurogamer that third-person shooter Damnation has slipped to early 2009. We had expected the game this winter.

The publisher also explained that PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 demos will appear roughly a month before launch.

"Damnation is being rescheduled for an early 2009 release," a Codemasters spokesperson told us.

"The game will be much stronger and better as a result, and will also give people time to get all the pre-holiday releases out the way - ready for the fresh (and vertical) gaming experience that Damnation offers."

The most threatening of those "pre-holiday releases" will be Gears of War 2, as Damnation shares the same Unreal Engine 3 foundation and rather similar visuals and mechanics as a result.

But there are differences; Damnation ditches a cover system in favour of vertical gameplay, where players climb up buildings, leap between ledges and slide down zip wires during battle. Pace has replaced patience.

The setting is a steampunk alternate history of the American Civil war, and the levels have opened into giant three hour-long treks and course-planning puzzles, where the goal can be seen from the outset, and vice versa. And there are motorbikes - ones that can ride along walls.

The tactical rescheduling also moves Damnation away from Call of Duty: World at War, Resistance 2 and Left 4 Dead. But February 2009 happens to harbour Killzone 2 and to a lesser extent F.E.A.R. 2, which will present problems of their own.

Head over to our Damnation gamepage for hands-on impressions, plus plenty of videos and screenshots.

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