There are a few amazing metaphors that Rebellion break out in this Sniper Elite 3 dev diary. The best has to be the onion analogy, in which their Head of Art starts talking about the layers of the vegetable, only to shift into describing the layers of skin, flesh and gristle that are being shredded to bits as part of the game's much "improved" X-Ray Killcam.
It's not people that are the casualties of the small slice of war depicted in this trailer, but places. Specifically, it's the Libyan city Tobruk, which gets roundly shelled, shattered and exploded, all to demonstrate Sniper Elite 3's new fancier tech. At least, that's the case for the first minute of the trailer. After that, people are definitely the casualties. One person, to be precise, in a particularly gruesome way.
October 31st is a good time to release a game about killing zombies with a sniper rifle - why it's almost as if Rebellion had planned it to release on that very day. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2, their seasonally appropriate sequel to the seasonally inappropriate (it released on Valentine's Day) original, boasts a new campaign and new bosses, and once again features co-op, shambling right-wing corpses, and Rebellion's sickeningly gory X-Ray Killcam.
Sniper Elite V2 was a game that cast you as a cold, calculating psychopath let loose in a slightly too narrow World War 2 playground, and tasked with vindictively bringing pain, suffering and occasional corridor-based bullet spam. This first Sniper Elite 3 trailer would suggest a much more open sandbox, but the same level of soldier trolling dickery. Only this time, the gross, over-the-top kill-cam reacts to the less fleshy innards of vehicles as well.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Craig plays a hidden object game with bullets in Sniper Elite V2.
You, there: put down that spoon and tub of Nutella and go to a window, preferably one with a rural view. If you can’t find one, you’re out of fun as far as this paragraph is concerned. Just skip to the middle of the second and lament your windowless world. The rest of you, take time to absorb everything that you can see. Scan everywhere. Give it all a really good, hard look. Don’t rush. Done that?
Now how many Nazis did you see? Be honest! Any number above zero and you should probably move. The reason I ask is because when I go to the window, even though there are no mid-20th century German national socialists visible, I worry that there might be dozens. Is that a fascist fumbling in the foliage, or was it just the wind? Might that broken wall conceal someone? I might sound unreasonably paranoid, but if you’ve played Sniper Elite V2’s multiplayer as much as I have, you begin to realise the evil that could inhabit every bush.
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army will get a sequel in 2013, according to an announcement today from developer Rebellion. The goal of the new, stand-alone game will be to sharpen and intensify all the mechanics that brought players together in the self-published original, according to the studio.
Turning a well-regarded PC game into a Facebook/Zynga game is something I can well imagine an evil genius doing - I can almost see them now, stroking a cat and cackling malevolently as the microtransactions roll in. Which is not to say that Evil Genius Online - a free-to-play social game heading to Facebook and Zynga.com - will be such a game, but rather that I'm much more excited about the "fully featured" Evil Genius 2, which has just been outed on the Rebellion blog.
Adjusting their scope, accounting for wind, and holding their breath to steady their aim, 505 Games fired a series of bullets, each engraved with the message: "Hello, Sniper Elite 3 exists and we are publishing it." Those bullets travelled whole kilometres, eventually piercing the soft casings of PS3, Xbox 360 and the next-generation upgrades of both. The PC looked on aghast, thinking "Hang on! Why am I not in your crosshair?"
Just then, it too was hit square in the hard-drive, this time with a bullet direct from the Rebellion rifle. This one had the message: "Hello, yes Sniper Elite 3 is coming to PC too. It's just we're self-publishing it. Like we did with all the other Sniper Elite games." It was a much larger bullet.
Zombies seem like an odd choice for Sniper Elite V2 expandalone Nazi Zombie Army. There are lots of them, ceaselessly shuffling towards the smell of a brain currently preoccupied with wind-adjustment calculations. A far cry from the cold, clinical, sadistic professionalism of a top marksman. It seems Rebellion agree, because this first game footage is extremely light on, you know, actual sniping.
Last month, Rebellion teased a mysterious new project. There was a video full of creepy green fog and silhouetted soldiers, and a website called NZA that contained an occult corruption of the Sniper Elite logo. Using an ancient psychic technique called "stating the bloody obvious", we guessed it would be a Sniper Elite V2 DLC pack called Nazi Zombie Army, featuring an army of zombified Nazis.
We were wrong. Instead, it's a Sniper Elite V2 standalone expansion called Nazi Zombie Army, featuring an army of zombified Nazis.
Rebellion have released a mysterious teaser for an upcoming project, due to be revealed next month. It shows a soldier running through the war-torn ruins of a city; a city that's bathed in green mist. For those who don't watch terrible horror movies, green mist is the evillest of all mists. So, what are the Sniper Elite devs up to? I may not know, but by golly I can speculate!
On Monday, we brought news that a selection of games had found their GameSpy provided multiplayer matchmaking suddenly taken offline. Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, SWAT 4, Sniper Elite, Hidden and Dangerous 2, Wings of War and Star Wars: Battlefront were all affected, with Sniper Elite devs Rebellion claiming that “this decision by Glu was not taken in consultation with us and was beyond our control.”
On their Facebook page, GameSpy have posted a statement in which they say... well, completely the opposite.
This review was originally published in PC Gamer 241
Sniper Elite V2 puts you so far behind enemy lines that during its entire campaign you’ll meet precisely one person who doesn’t want you dead.
Two nations are out to get you. The Germans aren’t happy because... well, because it’s Berlin in 1945. They don’t have much to be happy about. The Russians, meanwhile, are trying to capture the German scientists behind the V2 rocket. Your mission, as a American sniper, is to ensure a bullet greets those scientists before the Reds do.
Sniper Elite V2 claims to feature "the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available" on its Steam page. The ballistics system takes "gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration" and "aim stability" into account every time you pull the trigger. Hit the target and you'll get to see your victim's demise in splattery detail via a hallucinatory slow motion death sequence. This gory epilogue peels back the victim's skin to show organs popping and bones shattering from the impact of your bullet as it passes through your enemy's squishy body. This feature is "not available in Germany."
If that sounds like the sort of shooter you might like to shoot guns in, you can take a few experimental pot shots now in a new demo, available on Steam. The full release is scheduled for May 4. Yesterday we learned that the team deathmatch mode that it ships with will be exclusive to the PC, which is nice. Check out the official Sniper Elite V2 site for more.
As reported by MP1st.com, Rebellion have announced in a forum post that Sniper Elite V2's 12-player team deathmatch mode will be PC exclusive. Responding to queries on Twitter, developers Rebellion explained that they were able to include the mode for PC players because they're self-publishing that version of the game, whereas the console versions are being co-published with 505 Games.
Sniper Elite V2's kill cams will stretch every shot into a macabre, slow motion short film designed to show the bone-shattering consequences of every bullet. Ew. This one in particular shows how Sniper Elite's carefully modelled bullet physics will reward exceptional moments of skill. Shooting a sniper through his own scope is surely about as impressive as a shot can be. We'll have to see if Remedy can better it in future. It looks as though this is the first in a weekly series of grisly death cams. It's out on May 4.
We were probably never meant to see what happens inside a man's skull when he's shot in the eye with a sniper bullet, but Rebellion are determined to show us. Producer Steve Hart told us that the skeletal mode is designed to give the player a greater sense of the consequence of pulling the trigger, "because sniping is such an intimate thing" he said, "it’s got an almost voyeuristic touch to it – you’re studying that person before you take that shot." Before you ask. Yes, you can shoot a man in the balls. They've modelled that as well.
They've also released a series of decent screenshots, including and especially niceone in a ruined clock tower overlooking a flaming, bombed out city. Check it out.
We’ve already covered Rebellion’s decision to self-publish upcoming FPS Sniper Elite on the PC, but we recently had a chance to ask the company’s CEO and creative director Jason Kingsley about how it’s all going to work.
“I’m a great supporter of the PC as a platform, I always have been,” says Kingsley. “I’m always very disappointed when people talk about the PC dying as a platform, and then eight months later PC’s flavour of the month again.”
But, as a PC gamer and developer, Kingsley finds the current situation frustrating. Having worked with the likes of Sega on Aliens versus Predator and Bethesda on Rogue Warrior, Kingsley knows what it’s like to have a big publisher breathing down the back of your neck all the way through the development process.
Flicking through my notebook on the way back from the Sniper Elite V2 preview event, I find a completely blank page save for the word “TESTICLES” at the top. Underlined several times. It was at this point that I stopped writing and started wincing. A wince that still occurs whenever I think about what I saw and heard at developer and publisher Rebellion’s HQ in Oxford.
You see, Sniper Elite Version 2’s first-person World War II sniping is gilded with a fully dynamic skeletal slow-motion animation system. Aim for an enemy soldier’s neck and their vertebrae will shatter. Shoot at the crown of the head and it’ll smash like an egg. Go for the heart and blood will fill their thoracic cavity. And, inevitably, you can shoot their balls off.
After an overwhelming response from PC gamers, Rebellion announce that they plan to self-fund a PC version of their upcoming sharpshooter sequel, Sniper Elite V2.
The shooter was originally destined for a console only release, now it will be coming to PC, and Rebellion say they're determined to ensure that we won't be getting a shoddy port. Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley has stated that the PC version "will be built specifically for PC to take advantage of the more flexible and powerful hardware, with strong support directly from Rebellion.”