Work has yet to be completed on Midway Austin's promising first-person shooter Blacksite: Area 51, but already creative director Harvey Smith is thinking about ways to improve things for the (by the sound of it inevitable) sequel.
"It's really nice to be working on a pure shooter just once. With the next game, we might expand the world-exploration a little bit," Smith told Eurogamer today, before admitting that he wanted to cut his teeth a little on Blacksite, having arrived after the original Area 51 had been completed. He didn't say "cut my teeth" though, obviously - only an idiot like me would write that.
Blacksite is itself a sequel, but Smith confirmed that Midway's focus is on re-establishing it: the desire is to move away from the quirky, almost comedic interludes of the first Area 51, get outside the famed military base and deal with weightier concepts like American foreign policy and the atmosphere of "open lies" (my phrase - aren't I clever?) that pervades politics on that side of the Atlantic. One of the ways Smith summed up the premise was that you and your unit are, in effect, fighting against an insurgency within the mainland United States - one that happens to be made up of aliens. Hence the "Blacksite" badge moving up front, and little reference to Area 51 in the game itself.
A recent Xbox 360 demo didn't really convey any of this, in our view, but pointed to a technologically-accomplished first-person shooter that knew how to dot its i's and toss its pineapples. Smith also confirmed that that demo will soon appear on PlayStation 3 and PC - the other platforms targeted by Blacksite. The PC version would allow Midway to show off the "double-size textures" it can't display on PS3 and 360.
Beyond that, there are plans afoot for another demo. "We want to release another - maybe longer, but maybe not, maybe 30 minutes - demo from another location, later," he said. The next demo is also expected to include multiplayer elements, with Blacksite set to include deathmatch, capture-the-flag and other competitive modes along with campaign-length co-operative of the type seen in Gears of War and promised in Ubisoft's Haze.
Naturally we'll be bringing you more on Blacksite: Area 51 soon, including hands-on impressions and more from Smith, whose past work has taken him from Origin (Wing Commander, Ultima) to Looking Glass (System Shock) and Ion Storm Austin (Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War), and who therefore probably qualifies for a bit of your time, if not a lock of your hair.