At E3 2006, I had the chance to talk to publishers Red Mile Entertainment about their highly anticipated upcoming release El Matador. One thing is certain; the build they were showing looks promising.
El Matador is a standard action shooter which uses the now extremely popular slow motion technique ("Bullet Time") to allow players to perform precise sequences of moves in an otherwise impossible time frame. It features roughly 15 levels stretched over 6 or 7 chapters and will take the average gamer 10-12 hours to complete.
The difference, however, is that this game is aimed at a wide audience. Red Mile is trying to ensure that anyone will be able to pick it up and play, without becoming frustrated with the extreme difficulty of modern first-person shooters. In keeping with this approach, the game is driven by an excellent story and is single-player only.
Where the game stands out is in the fact that the developers are not cutting corners on the quality of the gaming experience. It uses an in-house engine that has been in development for the past two years and looks very impressive. This engine is capable of full dynamic lighting and shadows, as well as reflection and refraction. In a demo, I was shown the capabilities of the physics' component of this; when you fire your weapon against a metal object, the bullet ricochets off at accurate and continues on its new path as a real bullet should. On top of that, the team spent time researching the environments used in the game by going to South America to do some reconnaissance work, as well as by remaining in close contact with people from there. This has resulted in some stunning and highly accurate looking visuals to enhance the story-line.
As mentioned before, there is no multiplayer component to this game. What Red Mile has done instead is included AI controlled teammates for the player. Approximately half of the game will be played solo, and the other half as a team. Instead adding the complexity of allowing players to issue commands to their teammates, the game's outcome is based entirely on the physics and advanced AI. An example of the latter is the fact that AI controlled NPCs use terrain reasoning and knows where and what proper hiding points are in any given area.
I personally feel that Red Mile will not only hit their target audience with El Matador, I believe they will surpass it. Although it may be lacking in depth for some gamers, El Matador has impressive graphics, a good story-line and looks like it will be incredibly fun to play. If you are a fan of action games, keep an eye out for this one sometime in August this year.