GDCO 2010: UTV True Games wows with three new titles

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GDCO 2010: UTV True Games wows with three new titles
One of the most thrilling aspects of this job is visiting game studios. It's essentially like stepping into a toy factory, complete with strange noises and funny personalities. Nerf guns are a staple, and each desk or station is decorated with all types of toys, posters, and other trophies from Nerd-dom. UTV True Games is no different, so when we were asked to sit down with three (count 'em, three) different teams to preview some new titles, we knew we were in for a good time.

Of course, our professionalism prevented us from actually clapping and going "sqqquuueeeee!" every time a new product was shown, but it's very possible that the teams would not have cared anyway. So what did we see? What do we have to look forward to from the same people that brought us Mytheon? Well, click past the cut and let's take a look!

Sky Legends

Fly. Fight. Build. Sounds simple enough? Not really. If you played Snoopy Flying Ace for the Xbox, then you are familiar with Sky Legends' team. That team decided to take it several steps further, allowing players to not only customize a small fleet of planes for their instanced battle sessions, but also grow a pilot's skills. This is not a flight sim, however. Your job will not be to land a realistic 737 on a mile-long runway. Instead, the game stems from the "open cockpit era of flight -- the romantic era of barnstorming."

The game will be brought to your browser thanks to the Unity game engine and will feature microtransactions like plane options, customization, and time-saving items. In fact, building your plane from the ground up is a big part of the experience, as players maintain one craft that changes over time. Think of the game as an FPS experience in the air, one that includes melee weapons and tanks -- familiar FPS elements mixed in with vertical environments. You won't just fly over the landscape, but through it. Strategy will be based not only around weapon load outs and match goals, but also around the lay of the land. You can even bring several planes with you into the battle and switch them out as you respawn.

Eventually the game will feature social network connections for bragging and even iPhone connectivity to allow a pilot to purchase and fit her planes while on the go. Groups of players can band together and fight in 16-player battles, with each side sporting unique decals and colors. There will be at least a couple hundred items available at launch, so it sounds like there will be no lack of cash-shop goodies from the very beginning.

Want more information? Check it out here. There is even some grainy secret footage to whet your whistle!

Planet Crashers

Up next we witnessed some of the cutest and deadliest battles to come to the iPhone yet. If you have played MyBrute before, then you will be familiar with the combat concept behind Planet Crashers. One thing MyBrute lacked was depth, something that Planet Crashers seems to offer tons of. Essentially, you can outfit your character (since customization is huge) and even load out weapons and stats. Next, you choose the planet you want to battle on. Once a duel is planned, the combat is played out for you, leaving you to bite your nails as you hope for the perfect outcome.

Eventually, players will also be able to "farm" their chosen planets and group up into teams of eight to battle each other. Of course, to keep up with the current mobile gaming craze, the game will feature a GPS location mode that will pair players up with local opponents. Don't worry -- we were assured that it can be set to "off" and is safe!

Graphically, the game is bright and cartoony and a little familiar. The team seems to be taking cues from many different games and giving it a hardcore stat-crunching spin. Hands-free battles might not seem to be very exciting, but the overall experience can definitely leave you satisfied. Thanks to the added depth of customizable planets, stats, and character customization, the experience looks fulfilling.

Prepare your browsers, iPods, iPads, and iPhones for its release... soon.

Faxion Online

Next, the Faxion crew came on like gangbusters! It was interesting to see the design approach here compared to the first two. While Sky Legends and Planet Crashers promise fast-paced, instanced gameplay, Faxion Online promises an old school experience in a free-to-play game. Honestly, it's hard to describe what we saw, but let's give it a go: Picture a game that looks and feels like the original EverQuest and a bit like Vanguard, with a huge, epic open-world. Then throw in newer graphical bells and whistles like blurred distant backgrounds, moving individual trees, and solid texturing. The game has a stylistic flow to it, even during a play-through on a test model.

Players will choose between Heaven and Hell, the two distinct sides that are busy battling over themed landscapes. Greed, for example, looks like a massive desert that features long minecart tracks that all lead into one massive vault. Inside, you'll find piles and piles of riches. Many of the zones will feature choke-points and other strategic layouts, including higher points to allow the player to glide down onto enemies. Depending on which faction is controlling the area, sun might shine down onto the ground or the air will be filled with a hellish red hue. A player will feel the weight of the controlling faction as soon as he or she walks in.

"During the conversation, we could see the developers act more like gamers talking about their favorite game instead of salesmen. It was, to put it simply, fun."

PvP is, of course, the main goal of the game. The two warring factions can hold an area as long as they are able, but it only takes one look at a game like EVE Online to see how that might be easier said than done. Don't worry -- if you tire of killing other players, you can always play through some of the promised PvE content, or you can communicate and trade with other players in the city of Purgatory, the neutral starting area for everyone.

Players can choose to form a single-strength character or can branch off into multiple class roles. Class customization seems to be the name of the game in Faxion. Skill-learning is done as in EVE Online: You learn with time, not grinding. If you would like to speed up a skill's training, you can do so with a purchase from the item shop. Of course, concerns about power being paid for are put mostly to rest when you consider that no amount of money can buy the knowledge needed to play the class perfectly -- that skill still comes from time played.

Did we not mention that the game is free-to-play? In fact, as we watched the play-throughs, we were slightly stunned at the fact that not only will it feature a small, free client, but also a time-saver cash shop. You needn't worry about that either; since some of the Faxion devs came from Shadowbane and Ultima Online, they know to not sell advantages in their PvP game.

The game looks great and features modern, stylized characters (think toned-down Spellborn) but has old-school flavor dripping from it. There will be no instanced zones; players will be able to walk from one end to the next, finding adventure along the way. The Faxion team wanted players to feel that living history in the game and to experience those wonderful community moments like drive-by buffs and heals. In one of the most exciting parts of the meeting, we discussed whether or not it would be a good decision to allow players to understand those from the other faction. During the conversation, we could see the developers act more like gamers talking about their favorite game instead of salesmen. It was, to put it simply, fun.

Check out the website for more information, but rest easy since the game is set to see the light of day soon enough. We can't wait to see how a PvP-focused free-to-play game -- one developed right here -- will be received.

We would like to thank UTV True games for putting up with all of our questions and comments. Lucky for them, we decided against yelling "Squueeeeeee!" We're still not sure that would have been professional.
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