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GDC09: Impressions of Love ... the game

Justin McElroy

First, a note for clarity's sake: Our impression of love is that it's a beautiful emotion and the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.

Now, impressions of Love, the game.

It's pretty common at trade shows like GDC to find indie games that are exceptionally clever or creative. It's far rarer to find games like Love, games that look, even in an early stage, like a heck of a lot of fun.

We're going to try our best to explain the game as we understand it, but we're almost certain to fall short. It's an MMO, but one that's limited to 200 players per server. Players are tasked with exploring the game's beautiful, constantly shifting environment and growing and defending their home town by disabling and exploring fortresses.

The unusual thing about these bases is that they're dynamically generated by the environment depending on how far you've progressed in the game and the items you've already found. And each fortress -- and by extension, the method used to disable them -- is unique.

For example, we saw a fortress defended by turrets. To get past that first layer of defense, the player must disable the turret by shooting it until it's destroyed -- yes, there are FPS elements here too -- or disabling its power. To do that, you'll have to find the generator it's connected to and disable it ... or simply wait until the wind stops.

It's all really dynamic, but it becomes even more so when you realize that you can install the exact same defenses in your home area. In fact, everything in your home is created by you, fashioned from tokens you find throughout the world.

That home is one you share with the other players. Everyone's under the same roof, and they're all sharing the same items, etc. It's collaborative gameplay in it's truest sense.

Now, here's what we haven't told you yet. It's all made by one dude. Super-genius Eskil Steenberg has been crafting the world of Love for two years, all by his lonesome. Talking to Steenberg, it's not hard to imagine a GDC a few years down the road where the guy's being hailed as one of the all-time greats.

The saddest thing about love is that we can't share it with you right now, that we're limited to just a few words and an early trailer. But just knowing that somewhere Steenberg is still toiling on the thing makes us feel better about games in general. We're betting that if you ever get your hands on it, you'll feel the same.

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