And as with the beasties in the Dutchman's divisive satire, this baddie's suitably epic health-bar can be whittled down in a number of ways. You can directly engage its glowing weak points at the joints, and hop into one of the returning Vital Suits (mechs) to try and dismember it using the more excessive firepower therein. Or you can use a hill to jump on top of it and fire at a huge weak spot on its back. The one Takeuchi grins at the most though is an incursion through its mouth into its guts, where the player splashes around ankle-high rivers of bile smashing up the intestines, rather like that bit in Gears of War 2.

With the co-op angle, Takeuchi says that certain hits in here will enlarge weak spots on the exterior for team-mates to attack. The co-op extends to Vital Suits, too, with several that we're not shown apparently pilotable in groups, although when quizzed later Capcom is quick to point out that the game can be played solo, with the AI filling in for the other players.

When you do play together, however, you should have little difficulty picking one another part thanks to some of the most extensive, and correspondingly outrageous, customisation I can remember seeing - another Japanese favourite of course. On the body, you can pick from dozens of model and colour variations for head, body, back and legs, opting for billowing trenchcoats, ornamental tripod backpacks, zebra-print tunics, slightly fascist army uniforms and camo. You can switch to a female model too, and opt for a similar array of clothing and accessories, including the predictably requisite bikini (with, sigh, jiggling you-know-whats) and other impractical alternatives. This, we believe, is also popular in Japan.

Clothing won't affect your character's in-game performance, but customisable weapon loadouts will. You can fill slots with various options - machineguns, gunswords and hand cannons among them - and there are more grenade options, including some support models for team-play. Takeuchi also mentions several upgrade slots, although he may have been referring to the weapon designations. Either way, he says there will be unlockables throughout the game, and the team will go to work on more for premium downloadable content once the game ships. Fans of rubbing it in will also delight in customisable gestures, including some impressively risqué hip-thrusting and suggestive dances. "Some of these may affect the game's rating."

2
The game will definitely be backed with premium DLC, but Takeuchi insists nothing will be decided until much later - and a lot will be left to you to insist upon.

Takeuchi says the team is keen for feedback, and even tells one interviewer that he will report back on his preference for customising interchangeable loadout presets in other multiplayer games. Several steps have already been taken in response to the first game, he says - the hand cannon was your idea, as was a new dash move, and a range of new melee attacks.

With that in mind, you won't have to wait long to see and even play Lost Planet 2 for yourself. The original threw up a surprise playable demo on Xbox Live at the E3 preceding its release, much earlier than most publishers typically go for, and Takeuchi says that the same may happen for E3 2009 at the start of June - he doesn't say for which formats - where the game will certainly be playable for the press. It's not too surprising, however, because of the console-facing games on display at Captivate 09, Lost Planet 2 looks the most developed, and no less ambitious than Dead Rising 2, Dark Void and its other friends. Quite the contrary.

Lost Planet 2 is due out for Xbox 360 next year.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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