Day 1 Studios is taking a fresh approach with F.E.A.R. 3 and it hopes to pull a new crowd of gamers into the FPS horror series as a result.
Day 1, which has taken over primary development duties from Monolith, has implemented what's called "divergent co-op", a two-player campaign co-op mode that is a first for the series.
The feature is just one example of Day 1's attempt to broaden F.E.A.R.'s appeal.
"One of the things we wanted to do for F.E.A.R. 3 was to continue to extend the audience," lead systems designer Parker Hamilton told Eurogamer in a new interview published today.
"The landscape of gaming is developing into more social aspects and people wanting to play together. We're hoping we can evolve the franchise, maintain all of the tenets we had in previous versions of F.E.A.R. and offer a new, fresh look that new players will enjoy as well. We are definitely interested in pulling in a new crowd for the franchise."
Some F.E.A.R. fans have expressed concern over the series' new direction, pointing towards videos of mech combat and the co-op as evidence of the franchise's retreat from its scary single-player roots.
But fans have nothing to fear, Day 1 said.
"When I look at F.E.A.R. 3, for me, part of that is scale of combat," art director Heinz Schuller said. "F.E.A.R. 1 and 2 were done on very close quarters spaces. We're offering a broader topology, and we get into some pretty epic combat situations. We're hoping to see more people who like that kind of experience try F.E.A.R. because we think that's going to be a pretty fun experience for them."
Explaining the addition of co-op, Schuller added: "We wanted to provide new experiences for the player. This being the third product in the franchise, we wanted to bring an element to it people didn't expect. If you look at where gaming is trending, it's becoming much more of a community experience. We wanted to support that in a way that could let two people experience F.E.A.R. together as opposed to one.
"First and foremost, F.E.A.R. is a single-player experience. While we put almost as much energy into co-op as we did single-player, a lot of us are big fans of the single-player experience, even though that seems to be waning these days. For us it's still key. The way I look at it, it's a great, high quality single-player game and it's a great co-op game. I weigh them pretty much equally in terms of how well they came off."
F.E.A.R. 3 was yesterday delayed from its nailed down 25th March release date to a May 2011 launch window "as we look to deliver the best possible game for our consumers".
An exclusive new trailer is below.