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News: Vanquish Has Powered Armor, Gundam Space Colonies

Posted on : 06-06-2010 | By : | In : News, Videos

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With the latest trailer for Vanquish, we finally see what the game looks like in action and I have to say that my initial skepticism about it has all but vanished. The game’s pedigree is excellent, being created by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Mad World) and headed by Shinji Mikami (Devil May Cry, Resident Evil) but the early screenshots and teaser trailer released to the gaming public made the game seem, at best, an interesting take on the overused “space marine” trope all too common in current-gen titles.

The new trailer puts any doubts to rest because not only is the action as frenetic as we would expect from Platinum Games, but rather than simply using space-age armor to explain away the amount of damage these characters are capable of soaking up, we can see in the trailer that the main character’s powered armor provides him with additional movement options as well–one scene shows him boosting from one set of cover to another almost instantaneously, while another has him using his thrusters to gain enough vertical range to smash a foe.

It’s nice to see designers thinking about what ways these wonderful “space marine” armors could change combat, and while the scale of powered armor doesn’t exactly match that of mecha, and thus is really a whole different kettle of fish, a lot of the solutions are the same–just as giant robots shouldn’t be treated as human analogues, humans in powered armor should have different skillsets following from their upgrade. While Vanquish isn’t the only game in recent memory to play with the trope (Section 8 being a good example) it’s good to see some of the most talented people in the action game business working on the problem.

On more firmly mecha-related territory, I’d also like to point out some interesting similarities between Vanquish and Mobile Suit Gundam. Both deal with humanity expanding into space not onto different planets, but rather in O’Neill cylinders floating freely in space that use rotation to generate an approximate feeling of gravity, and both have these colonies eventually being used as weapons, by taking advantage of the plentiful solar energy resources of outer space.

While it’s hard to tell where the homage ends and genuine cultural absorption begins with the Japanese and their (perfectly reasonable) obsession with Mobile Suit Gundam, I do find the use of Gundam as a reference point interesting, because much as the mobile suit’s use in Gundam is to provide a vehicle that can operate equally well in space, under Earth’s gravity, and in the artificial “gravity” of O’Neill cylinders, Vanquish is taking the commonly used Western term “space marine” quite literally, as Vanquish’s power armor seems to be designed both as a spacesuit and as body armor, used to infiltrate a structure floating in space. Most of what are called “space marines” in the press tend to be neither, operating on planets rather than in space and not being any more mobile than regular troops being shipped to a far-off planet.

Hopefully Vanquish will be the great game that it looks like it will be, and that it will create a renaissance in the West regarding the Men In Space Suits, Holding Guns, Shooting Aliens genre, maybe even something a bit closer to the original Western concept; when the West made Starship Troopers into a movie we kept only the fascism, while Japan kept only the robots. Needless to say, Mecha Damashii supports robots over fascism.





Comments (6)

Interesting looking game… But I think I’ll be playing this one with the VO volume at zero.
Wow that’s some bad VO.

It seems that Shinji Mikami has bad luck with English voice-overs:

Despite that outrageously flagrant abuse of the English language, Resident Evil was still one of the earliest “killer apps” for the original PlayStation. In fact, I think, in a weird way, it’s the bad voice overs that I remember with the most fondness, because jokes about “a Jill sandwich” and “Masters of Unlocking” never seem to get old.

I can’t wait to see what other choice quotes Old Cyborg Arm General and Space Hillary Clinton can bring to the table for the final release.

If it looks like that the V.O. can be as bad as it wants. Hope it’s playable next week 😀

+1 for skate-boosting action. I’m wondering if they’ll slip in some kind of “trick” mechanism like Gunvalkyrie, or if it’ll just be used to gain ground/cover rapidly.

This looks fantastic! Though I wonder why Mikami decided to go with a USA vs Russia plot. Is a different story really that risky when the game footage looks so blisteringly awesome?

I’d personally like to see Japanese space marines against… I dunno, France? It’s the future, anything can happen!

I really hope O’Neill cylinders start getting used more.

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