Despite being shunned aside by bigger franchise power-houses in PlayStation's history (the likes of Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid), Sony's E3 press conference spelled out quite categorically that Twisted Metal is truly back in bombastic style. This was not an announcement of muted voices and sporadic applause — this was a melt-your-face off moment of pyrotechnics and on-stage Ice Cream Trucks.
Alongside a complete reboot for the franchise, David Jaffe revealed alongside his Eat Sleep Play co-founder that the original Twisted Metal team are back, and that they're looking to popular online franchises with which they can draw inspiration to merge with Twisted Metal's familiar car-combat. So what's new?
- Online multiplayer. Even in the hazy days of the PSone, Twisted Metal's always seemed like a game destined for online multiplayer. Finally, with the PlayStation 3, that's a reality. So it's no surprise that Twisted Metal's 16-player online multiplayer mode is the game's banner feature. While Twisted Metal will hit the traditional free-for-all and split-screen checkmarks of previous series encounters, it's the game's "faction mode" that Eat Sleep Play are pushing hard. Here you'll select a faction (Clowns and Dolls are the first to be confirmed, with more to follow) and a particular vehicle. You can change your vehicle during a match, similar to load-outs and perks in modern first-person shooters. Playing as part of a faction also allows you to operate new Crew Attacks. These place a second character in the vehicle's passenger seat, giving you access to some extra fire-power. The modes are looking really technical, with plenty of team-based play considered.
- Helicopters. Perhaps the biggest new feature in Twisted Metal is the introduction of aerial vehicles. These take the form of helicopters which can swoop across the game's environments, striking opponents from the air. Naturally these are going to need to be balanced, and Eat Sleep Play insist that the helicopters will be attackable by ground vehicles with various weapons and power-ups.
- Power-ups. Twisted Metal promises plenty of new power-ups. These span a relatively simple first-person helicopter gatling gun to the complete mental. The ambulance, for example, has suicide patients rigged to the brim with explosives stored in its back. These "human bombs" can be dropped from the rear of the vehicle, causing destruction when contact is made with an enemy vehicle. Yup, Twisted Metal's trademark humour is here fully in-tact.
- Single-player. While Eat Sleep Play are being quiet about Twisted Metal's single-player, they are confirming that there'll be a full campaign available when the game launches next year. Going by the messed up ambulance power-up, it'll be both demented and comical, which is what you want out of a Twisted Metal game, right?
- Destruction. One of Twisted Metal's banner selling points is the fact that you can quickly and easily reduce an entire map to rubble thanks to the game's destruction engine. This will not only change the way maps feel and play, but will also mean players will need to take an adaptive approach to their strategy.
Twisted Metal will release next year exclusively on PlayStation 3.