Generation Zero's robots are not too mechanical, not too animalistic

by: Randy -
More On: Generation Zero

Cyberpunk 2077 might've nudged Generation Zero out of my top five list of games I'm looking forward to in 2019, but it was a gentle nudge. Generation Zero still has my attention. The Swedish countryside. The construction-zone robots. The painterly Simon Stalenhag visuals—though a little less disturbing and a little more militant than Stalenhag's genius body of work. This video is called "In-Depth with the Enemy," though it's more of a broad overview than an in-depth analysis. Some of this stuff is overly obvious, but it's indicative of a team that's taking everything—from behavior to movement to sound—and pouring all of its resources into these robotic beasts in order to craft memorable encounters. While still possessing an (intentional and excellent) understated look and feel, there's an attention to detail here that proves the small Generation Zero dev team operates with an admirable attention to detail.

The dev team, in this video, talks about how an enemy's size and shape informs its moves and behaviors. Also, how observant players can set up environmental booby traps, even when bullets, bullets, bullets is the obvious but not-always-the-most-effective answer. I especially like the direction taken by the lead animator, and how she's aiming for an intimidating enemy that's neither too mechanical nor too animalistic. It's a subtle line to draw that I think Generation Zero is absolutely nailing in execution. I'm glad the QA engineer affirms that running is a perfectly valid option. I did more than my fair share of running.

Generation Zero gave me a few enjoyable hours during the closed beta back in October. I remember the panic I felt as robo dogs patrolled the streets, or hunted me down in the woods, or swarmed around synthwave music booming from a ghetto blaster I'd throw out the door of a church while I picked off explosive canisters on their backs, or when I'd grit my teeth from the jarring metallic crunch when I'd place a head shot right through their beaming red eye. The game shows a restraint that is entirely uncommon in the first-person shooter genre as a whole, and I'm totally down for that.

Cyberpunk 2077 probably isn't even coming out this year (and I'm fine with that), so Generation Zero's 2019 launch window on PC is likely more realistic.