Terminator Salvation Interview: You are John Connor
GamePro pries laser-detailed information about new Terminator models, plasma weaponry, and plot points from Terminator Salvation development VP Cos Lazouras.
Terminator Salvation Previews Table of Contents
GamePro: Hey Cos, what can you tell us about Terminator Salvation: The Video Game's plot and setup? Where is John Connor, and what's the current situation for humanity?
Cos Lazouras: The game opens on a gigantic battle between hundreds of resistance soldiers attacking a Skynet facility. Although the enemy is of much fewer numbers, the Resistance is decimated in this battle and a retreat is called by Resistance Central Command. We pick up with Connor, a soldier in the Resistance, who along with a small squad fight their way to an evac location. Connor is an extremely complex character at this stage, he's a guy that knew the future, but finds himself in a reality that is very different from everything his mother told him. The heavy losses suffered in this opening battle are becoming more and more commonplace for the Resistance and his faith in the success of the Resistance is floundering. An event occurs at the evac point that sets Connor, and a number of other key characters along the way, on the core journey of the game.
Okay, so when does the game take place in the Terminator universe's timeline? It sounds as though the game is a prequel to the upcoming Terminator Salvation movie?
The game is set in the year 2016, which is two years before the events of the movie. Various relationships, set-ups and events seen in the movie are more fully elaborated on and explained in the game, so someone that sees the movie and plays the game will have a broader understanding of the overall story. Both the game and the film take place several years after the events of Terminator 3.
What about "time travel," or has that technology not yet been devised by Skynet? What is the current "technology level" of the year 2016, two years before the movie?
In the timeline of the game's narrative, time-travel technology is not available to the Resistance, so does not feature in the game. Skynet, however, has been busy developing the early stages of time-travel tech, weaponry, and enemies that are iconic to the brand. For example, Plasma weaponry has been developed by Skynet, but at the game's stage it is not yet miniaturized to hand-held guns. Instead, Plasma weaponry is seen as cannons mounted on Hunter Killers, Tanks, perimeter turrets, and a big badass boss.
What's the current situation with Skynet? How technologically developed is the A.I., and what seems to be its current goal?
I don't want to spoil the experience of either the movie or the game's stories, so I won't go into too much depth about this area, but one of its main goals throughout the game is to terminate all human threats. It is dogmatically taking control of areas on a regional basis, and to achieve this has re-purposed existing facilities, manufacturing plants, etc., and is using them to achieve this.
Back to John Connor, does the Resistance leader have cooperative squad mates in the game? Do they play a role in the story?
Throughout the game, Connor will be part of or leading a squad. This squad will expand and contract in size dependent on the scenario and can range from ten or more to just one in various instances. The player will build relationships with various characters and to emphasize the importance of every life being sacred, some of these characters can be killed because of the player's actions.
There are several key characters that become part of Connor's group in the game and they are pivotal to the story. Two main characters from the movie, Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) and Barnes (Common) are central characters in the game and feature both the voice and likeness of the actors, which brought a fantastic layer of authenticity to the game. It was also a great opportunity to provide insight and backgrounds to these characters as well as explore their relationships with Connor and how this then plays out in the movie. In addition another character that really becomes a key player in the story, but does not appear in the movie is Angie Salter, an ex-high school teacher (voiced by the bloody fantastic Rose McGowan). Angie is on the verge of completely giving up any hope for humanity's survival and is gratingly cynical throughout the game. Her character arc has a profound effect on Connor.
Gamers are obviously very familiar with the T-800 and T-1000 robot models from the films. But Terminator Salvation is set in an earlier time period, with earlier models. In a nutshell, what makes these earlier Terminators different?
There is a wide variety of enemies and Terminator models in both the game and film. Although the game will feature practically every enemy seen in the film, we have also designed enemies that are specific to the game and in some instances are essentially predecessor models. The T-600 is an early endoskeleton that is almost a Frankenstein's Monster version of the familiar T-800. The T-600 is a hulking, seven-and-a-half foot, death-dealing terror, armed with a mini gun. Its job is to pursue and kill and will be one of the more challenging enemies in the game. Taking a T-600 down will require the player to utilize their entire squad, constantly moving around cover in a full 360-degree battle plan, and always remember to pack seriously big firepower. One of the enemies unique to the game is the T7-T (Terminator Seven-Tetrapod). A four 'legged' enemy armed with two mounted, high velocity guns, the T7-T patrols and attacks in groups. However, it does have a vulnerability that can be exploited via flanking maneuvers, but is often supported by flying Aerostat enemies that rain firepower from above. Although the Aerostats in the game are contextually easier to destroy, they make up for their weak armor by attacking in mass volume.
What about Skynet vehicle units, such as the Moto Terminator, Hunter Killer, and some of the other robotic adversaries that can be seen in the movie trailers? Can you name them and describe how they work in the game from a gameplay and plot perspective?
The game will have both aerial and ground-based Hunter Killers, often supported by swarms of armed Aerostat scouts. Any HK encounter is a terrifying experience and will be played out in several ways, including boss fights to draw out vehicular combat sequences. One of the most daunting enemies the player will face throughout the game is the 60-foot Harvester. To battle something as powerful as this enemy the player will have to access something far greater than ballistic weapons.
"Infiltrators" are mentioned by Kyle Reese in the first film, rubber-skinned models that were "easy to spot." Will these models, or something similar, be featured in the game? And what about the dogs, which were crucial to sniffing out imposters according to the first film?
Well, we don't want to spoil any surprises.