F.E.A.R. 3: Alma's brought the family

F.E.A.R. 3 has been announced, bringing with it some mixed emotions. On one hand, the franchise is back! This is good! On the other, it’s no longer with original developers Monolith, which will be an interesting thing to see. On a third, dismembered hand, horror hero John Carpenter is involved, which makes the whole lot very interesting indeed.

Following along the storyline started with the previous two games, F.E.A.R. 3 (or, um, “F.3.A.R.”, as I’ve seen it referred to), is a “heart-pounding paranormal horror first-person shooter”, packed with all the usual compelling narrative, intense combat and co-op play that we’ve come to expect. It’s currently in development for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC – due out in about six months, northern hemisphere autumn 2010.

So! What’s new?

Original scary girl Alma’s back, obviously, bringing both sons with her. Point Man, the genetically-enhanced super soldier introduced in the first game, is now playable in single-player or co-op mode, while his brother, the psychic cannibal Paxton Fettel is also playable if you want to take things into co-op. Both men bring completely different abilities to the mix, offering new experiences for both gamers. (If you were under the impression that Paxton had died, you don’t know him well enough. Remember those incredible powers of telekinesis that plagued you so much in the first game? You shouldn’t be surprised they helped give him life beyond the grave…)

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are still on board, with president Martin Tremblay a bit chufed:

“Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is evolving the F.E.A.R. brand with top horror, co-op and first person shooter combat in F.E.A.R. 3. Monolith Productions has passed the torch to Day 1 Studios to create a quality, powerful game that stays true to the roots of the F.E.A.R. franchise but takes players to a heightened level of gameplay.”

…that’s right. Goodbye Monolith, hello Day 1. You may remember them from their work on Fracture, but should probably be more familiar with their work on the console ports of the original F.E.A.R..

Denny Thorley, Founder and President, Day 1 Studios explains:

“After working closely with Monolith, Day 1 is honoured to bring the next iteration of the F.E.A.R. franchise to gamers with key elements of the past games yet providing fresh combat and horror experiences in F.E.A.R. 3. Players can look forward to new features such as divergent co-op, an evolved cover system, and more scares in F.E.A.R. 3.”

Also new to this instalment is the introduction of a couple of horror legends. Critically acclaimed horror comic / script writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) has signed up as a co-writer, working closely with the game’s development team to make sure everything is frightening enough.

Then, of course, John Carpenter. With 30 years of horror and science-fiction films behind him – including the classic Halloween series – he’s lent his expertise to the game, crafting many of the in-game cinematics.

On paper, this one sounds great – but I know many gamers are still a bit wary of Alma and her friends after playing through F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, which failed to live up to the high standards set by the original. We’ll be keeping an eye out – I have a bit of a soft spot for the franchise, naming my dogs Alma and Paxton in honour of the original game. They’re beagles, and every bit as terrifying as their namesakes.

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