Recently we were able to see a quick presentation of THQ's upcoming game based on The Punisher franchise from Marvel. The game is not based upon the recent movie release, instead THQ have licensed the rights to the actual comic and will work with those to create the game giving them more time to work on the title and considering its not due out till January 2005, they should have all the time they need to make this a high quality gaming experience.
The story behind The Punisher for those of you who don't know, is that he wants revenge against those who killed his wife and children. It sounds like Max Payne and considering the respect that franchise has built up over the past few years, that can only bode well for THQ's game. It's Max Payne on steroids.
The storyline has also had another injection of authenticity from the writing perspective. Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti are in charge of the story behind the game, and considering they actually wrote the story lines for the comics, you aren't going to get much more of an authentic, realistic Punisher back story than that.
From what we could see the game will be played in a third person perspective and has a combination of features that we have seen in other games. That's not to say The Punisher won't offer unique gaming experiences, as it will, but the features are definitely enhanced versions of aspects from other titles. During the video we saw The Punisher walk in and shoot a place up without breaking a sweat but the game is not just run and gun and will offer some interesting options to make it different from the pack but also to keep the gamer interested.
As was demonstrated the game will contain over one hundred hot spots. These are used for interrogation with special characters who have information to further the storyline. At first they may resist the interrogation but this is where one of the more interesting features of the game shows itself. To get them to give up information you can slowly increase the torture level with a button press. Eventually they may give the information up, but if you aren't happy with the amount of time it took, you can 'punish' them anyway or you can leave them to live.
Two examples were shown of the punishment that can be delved out to get information. We saw the Punisher dangling an enemies head above a sink of boiling water, pushing closer and closer to get information out of the character before finally pushing them right in, obviously killing them. Another punishment involved an environmental object, namely a ladder. As the enemy was laying on the ground, the main character pulled down the ladder into the enemies rib area. As you can tell, the hot spot areas will not necessarily be contrived, and focus more on the spot action such as when you discover a ladder or other object can be used in that fashion.
In terms of graphics and sounds the game is already looking great. What we saw was a very quick presentation but it showed a gritty punisher character model as well as some hapless AI enemies and detailed environments. The bar looked highly detailed and as the Punisher shot the place up, objects were being destroyed left right and centre leading us to believe the game will contain highly destructible environments, perfect for the various weapons (such as pistols and flamethrower) the Punisher will be able to carry throughout the game.
The game is still quite a way off from release but fans of the comic have every reason to be looking forward to this game. THQ and Marvel are coming up with an authentic storyline and setting for the game and those who just like action games in the vein of titles such as Max Payne, then The Punisher may just fill your need for action. The Punisher is set to ship on Xbox and PlayStation 2 in January 2005.