PS4: The cinematic universe of The Order 1886

February 19, 2014


Today PlayStation revealed a two and a half minute long trailer for the highly anticipated PS4 exclusive The Order 1886.

With its graphical artstyle and steampunk depiction of victorian era London this game is definitely on my ” looks promising radar”. Mystery seems to surround the Order and not only in terms of game plot. First party studio Sony Santa Monica in collaboration with Ready at Dawn are quite tight lipped about what we can expect from their new IP, that is until today.

Controlling the flow of information about a new IP isn’t new or even a strange thing to do.
Let’s be frank with each other, the internet’s collective panties can get in the proverbial bunch quite easily. Sometimes justifiably so, more often unnecessary at best.

System specs and native resolution seem to dominate the talk on game focused websites. Not very surprising since many gamers still need to grow accustomed to what the new generation of consoles are capable of.
Sure technological advancements can inspire game designers and give them the ability to create new genres. However most of the time better hardware has “just” resulted in a smoother user experience with genres we as gamers are all to familiar with.
That being said there are some aspects of The Order 1886 that are sure to change things up.

Ru Weerasuriya the game’s Creative Director from spoke with VG24/7 and explained the why and how behind some of their game design choices .

Setting

The Order 1886 For the uninitiated: When humanity is divided between humans and half breeds, war between them wages the earth.  With the technological advances made at the beginning of the industrial revolution humans finally have the means to take on the half breeds.
At the same time the oppressed general population isn’t satisfied with their living conditions and revolts. Amidst this war torn world you the player are a knight of the Order, sworn to protect humanity, even from itself.

It is difficult to say where in terms of genre this game is going to end up. We do know that the game has shooting mechanics as well that it is played in third person, a very important decision for the developers as they feel this allows players to connect more with the world and characters of The Order.

“Third person mode by far was the one that helped us be most attached to the character and to be cinematic ..”

“Seeing your character and seeing your character go through things are  sometimes a necessity for that cinematic feel to come through.”

Quick time events

Footage of The Order 1886 shows quicktime events, a gameplay element of which generally speaking (vocal) hardcore gamers aren’t to fond. QTE’s have been around in games for decades and there are plenty of bad and good examples of how games incorporate them.

The Order 1886 implements what the developer calls branching  QTE’S. Basically this makes sure that actions leading into and during a QTE decide which path is shown and what happens next.  This makes it a player unique experience while also doing away with the trial and error aspect that these “button press events” can hold.

Another aspect showing the team’s dedication to deliver a cinematic experience is the choice for resolution/ aspect ratio.

Recently the internet learned about the artistic choice of making the game playable in a somewhat letterbox state. The reason behind this is to give the player a more panoramic view of his surroundings.
Everything I see and hear from the developer tells me that presentation is going to be very important to experience gamers are going to have with The Order.
I just hope that this game won’t dial back on challenging the player’s skill in favor of providing a cinematic experience. Thus far there is no reason to assume this game will deliver a bland experience. The production values seem to indicate the opposite and keep me very interested in this game.
I have a feeling that when all is said and done The Order 1886 will be compared to games like Uncharted &Tomb Raider but hopefully with a darker more mysterious tone it.

From a the developer perspective Weerasuriya expressed how the team hopes today’s trailer shows the way the game blends cinematic cut scenes, navigation throughout the game with both long- and short ranged combat as well as QTE’s. It is the sum of these parts, the pacing and how they collectively contribute to the storytelling that set The Order 1886 apart from other third person shooters.

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