With the official announcement due this month, MI6 previews some of the features in the forthcoming videogame "From Russia With Love" by EA Games...

FRWL April Report
5th April 2005

As MI6 exclusively revealed in January, the next James Bond game from EA will be titled "From Russia With Love" and set around the 1963 film. 007's likeness and voice in the third person perspective game will be none-other than the original Bond - Sir Sean Connery.

Rather than a straight film-to-game production, EA will be expanding the storyline to include addition characters and locations.

MI6 looks ahead to some of the key features of the game, including: third person and driving game engines, cut scenes, aiming and targeting systems, extra Bond abilities, and the new "Target Mode" feature...


Above: A rare British "From Russia With Love" front house still (image courtesy CinemaRetro magazine).

All Revved Up
When EA took over Criterion (producers of the "Burnout" driving series), the studio acquired RenderWare development tools, a powerful middle ware package for producing games for multiple platforms. Whereas EA developed proprietary third-person game and driving engines for "Everything or Nothing", this time around the studio will be adopting RenderWare for the entire production of "From Russia With Love".

With the third-person and driving missions using the same game engine, this enables the designers to weave the different game formats into missions without any breaks or loading screens. As James Bond, you will be able to take out a few goons, hop in the DB5 and charge to the other side of the warehouse, then pop out and continue your shooting - seamlessly. The upshot of using RenderWare as a common engine for the whole game is that the entire production will take place in EA Redwood without involvement from EA Vancouver, who provided the driving mission in "Everything or Nothing"


Without the need to place cut scenes between missions for the sake of it, the CG sequences will now be used purely for story telling purposes.

With a mix of pre-rendered and in-game engine scenes, "From Russia With Love" will move closer towards the interactive movie format that EoN aspired to.

Left: Despite not featuring until "Goldfinger", the Aston Martin DB5 makes an appearance in the game.

Jump To It
One of the criticisms often leveled at the Bond games is the lack of freedom to do anything other than walk, duck and run. EoN introduced the rappel feature which allowed Bond to descend walls, but FRWL will take another "leap" forward with an ability to jump! Climbing will also be possible in certain maps.

A View To A Kill
One of the trickiest aspects of third-person gaming is the aiming and lock on system. EoN made a brave attempt, but it was seen as one of the weaker aspects of the game. FRWL promises a revised targeting system and a more intelligent lock-on mechanism that will attempt to identify which target you are trying to aim for - rather than EoN's hit and miss success at choosing the correct target. There will also be a manual aim option for those who prefer to do their own work.

As with EoN, there will be a return of "Bond Sense", where time slows down when the player activates the feature. FRWL will use "Target Mode", a slight adaptation on EoN's idea, enabling the player to get inside Bond's head to make precise shots in slow-mo (for example, shooting a guards walkie talkie to prevent him from raising the alarm).

Above: The first look at the digital Connery.

Along with several minor control adjustments, weapon selection will be made a lot simpler over EoN's system, but it will not go as far as "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent", which only allowed players to carry two weapons.

Central Intelligence
Despite the hype surrounding the "E.V.I.L." AI used in "GoldenEye: Rogue Agent", a lot still has to be improved to deliver a better gameplay experience, and FRWL is promising better AI with smarter enemies and squad-like behaviours. Rather than facing a dozen identical goons, enemies will also be gifted individual characteristics, so some may be more trigger happy while others will prefer stealth.

Development of the game will take place at EA Redwood studios (USA) and will ship in November 2005 on Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. An official announcement of the game will be made in April 2005.

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