Neversoft has revealed the first details of GUN, currently in development for PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360 and GameCube.
It's something of a departure for the Tony Hawk developer, being a cross between an FPS and an action adventure and based around a 19th century gunslinger rather than a game about a man who is good at skateboarding.
You play a bloke called Colton White whose whole life is turned upside down after he joins his dad on a trip to meet a friend aboard a steamboat. When a fight breaks out and the friend is murdered, Pops hurriedly hands you a mysterious medallion before informing you that he's not your real dad and dying.
Next thing you know you're getting down and dirty Dodge City, where the locals are none too pleased to find you making friends with their favourite prostitute. A furious gun battle ensues and you end up on the run and on a quest to save the hooker, discover your true origins and generally become the baddest badass the Wild West has ever seen.
For the most part it's a free-roaming third-person action-adventure, with plenty of sub-quests alongside the main story missions. You might find yourself raiding an opium den or helping the sheriff defend a stage coach, for example, or panhandling for gold, gambling for cash, or hunting anything from bison and coyotes to wolves, cougars and bears.
As far as getting around goes you'll spend most of your time on horseback, but you can also ride stage coaches and trains and even sail in canoes. Weapons include your standard pistols, rifles and shotguns plus tomahawks, dynamite and bows and arrows - and there are novel ways to use them. Why not tie a stick of dynamite to an arrow, say, to deal your enemy a doubly violent death blow? (A concept invented by the Native American Black Arrow Tribe some time around the 1880s, according to Neversoft.)
There's lots of melee fighting to be done too, and expect plenty of broken bar stools, smashed saloon windows and an awful lot of blood and guts. The tomahawk comes in handy for scalping your enemies - and you can make a point of collecting the brainhats of everyone you meet, if you like.
But for the most part you'll probably want to stick to your guns. Once you've taken down enough enemies, preferably with nice clean headshots, you can activate Quick Draw mode - this switches the perspective to first person and allows you to take out your enemies before they have time to reach for their holster. Smart.
Neversoft says GUN is most definitely a single-player game, but hints that future titles in the series will include multiplayer modes and will also support online play. The game is due out in the US this autumn, so trigger fingers crossed for a European release by Christmas.
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