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It's been a long
time since we first heard about TimeGate Studios' Section 8
. Based on the "not even pre-alpha" game on display at this year's EIEIO
, it's going to be even longer before we see a final game. It's currently slated for the third quarter of next year on Xbox 360 and PC. But developer TimeGate Studios – they did the F.E.A.R.
expansions, if you'll recall – did give a short gameplay demonstration, and revealed one of the major facets of the Section 8
The game's name comes from the nickname given to the future 8th Armored Infantry, of which your character is a member. This group consists of soldiers who have volunteered to wear a super-powerful armored suit (awesome!) and be launched into combat from space
. The joke is that you would have to be crazy to volunteer for that, so the squad is informally called "Section 8" after the military code for a psychologically-motivated discharge.
In the game, you'll be able to choose any area of the stage that is currently in your control to "burn in" (that's what they call the launch process). This is the game's method of respawning, and it is pretty much the most exciting way to start over
that I can imagine. The whole map is visible when you choose, a massive desert expanse in the case of the demo. You have some control over your descent, so you can fine-tune your aim. You also have jetpacks that allow you to soften your landing -- your shields go out temporarily if you crash down at top speed. Another tantalizing possibility, for which the exact details have yet to be finalized: using your flying body as a projectile weapon. You can choose to land on enemy vehicles, which, at top speed, could be devastating to an enemy tank. Or hilarious to somebody who sees you slam into that tank.
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The concept of big guys in neat armor shooting at each other may have been well-explored in the FPS genre, but TimeGate may be onto something with the burn-in concept, which takes the worst part of the game (being dead) and makes it fun.