Putting The “Daaaayyaamn” In Damnation

It always makes me shudder slightly when a game is announced as “a new franchise”. First of all, look at you, Mr Big Head. We’ll just see if it’s a franchise after you’ve made the first one, shall we? And secondly, God, have some passion… Oh, it appears that’s exactly what Codemasters had planned for the rest of the announcement for their new game, Damnation.

(Click on the pics for full size impressiveness. They really do look rather spectacular.)

The oddly peach looking game promises to be the evolution of the shooter, the next generation of gaming, and the future of the planet’s hopes for freedom and peace. Some of these statements are lies I’ve made up. But see below for quite how excited Codies are about this.

As the press release explains,

“Evolving the shooter genre with its unique and exhilarating combination of fluid action and combat, Damnation will feature huge, open environments, frenetic combat, daredevil acrobatics and high-octane vehicle-based stunts. Presenting players with an intense test of reflexes, quick thinking and rapid-fire conflict, Damnation will feature vast, breathtaking landscapes, each covering miles of distance and thousands of vertical feet.”

I really hope this is a great game. There’s no reason to think otherwise at this point. But you can’t write, “Evolving the shooter genre with…” and then just describe what all shooters already do. Right now I’m evolving the tuna sandwich, with a unique combination of tuna and the latest in mayonnaise, held together with two completely independent slices of bread, both buttered with high-resolution margarine. It will be served on a plate, and digested like never before in the human tummy. Also, you can eat it high up. Form an orderly queue.

Fortunately they remember the new thing next, but the melodrama doesn’t fade.

Billed as a ‘shooter gone vertical’ and visually inspired by iconic elements of American history, these massive streaming landscapes will form the battlegrounds for a post-industrial conflict between humanity and an unstoppable arms dealer hell-bent on total world domination. Players will be able to choose their own paths and navigate the world by performing daredevil feats on the edge of human ability. However players aren’t the only ones with mind-blowing acrobatic skills; intelligent enemies will give chase and engage players in frantic gun fights and attacks that can come from any direction – in Damnation’s world there’s no safe place to hide.

So what this all is trying to say is that it’s a world that will go up and down, as well as along, and that’s a pretty decent feature. So few games are thinking this way, and it would be fascinating to play in a crafted world with some heights to explore. Especially if they can pull off the Prince of Persia athletics the screenshots imply. But flipping crikey, reading this must be what it’s like to be inside Michael Bay’s head. “And then the walls explode and they punch in mid-air and then the girl kisses the guy before they both catch on fire and there’s a giant robot!”

“With up to three hours of actual gameplay stretching out in front of them per level, players will need more than just muscle power to get across each level safely. Damnation will offer players a selection of awe-inspiring vehicles, from motorbikes capable of launching across seemingly infinite chasms, to huge, armour-piercing marvels that will induce mayhem with every huge shell.”

Breathe! For goodness sakes Mr Press Release Author, breathe! (Note, not just three hours of gameplay, but “actual” gameplay. None of your fake stuff.) See, I feel mean, because this does sound great. Bloody huge levels that take three hours to cross, and go up and down thousands of feet? Yes please! But for crying out loud, calm down. Someone was carrying the Big Box of Superlatives across the room when they tripped up, and spilled the lot. Spilled them, that is, like no mortal human has ever spilled before in the history of the universe, cascading the words in a planet-sized waterfall of cataclysmic terror and destruction, falling a near-infinite distance before shattering the very fabric of space and time on the desk below.

You want more? I know you do.

“The high action will be supported with an epic and in-depth story which, while focusing on the exploits of the hero character Rourke, is truly an ensemble piece. Players will meet and become involved in intricate story plots that reveal much more than the obvious.”

Fuck me, this is going to be THE BEST THING EVER! OMG TO THE ULTRO-MAX!

Help! It’s working! The enthusiasm… can’t… prevent… it… taking… over!

(It’s being developed by Blue Omega, who make films normally, I think, and published by cuddly Codies, currently slated for Winter 08. And admittedly, it looks a bit good.)


  1. Simon Westlake says:

    Who doesn’t like guys in cowboy hats?

  2. Steve says:

    This game is either going to have to get given (real, genuine) 9’s by everyone who reviews it (ever, for always) or it has to give the women better clothes before I’m even slightly interested. Seriously I’m getting tired of women wearing silly clothes in games. I don’t mind revealing clothes if it’s appropriate or tasteful (Lara’s turn in the black dress in Legend) but wearing a top into combat that doesn’t even cover your tits? Are they saying women are stupid?
    I’d like games to at least try not to make me feel like a perv when someone walks in.

  3. RichPowers says:

    With a title like that, I thought the game would be about frustrated gold prospectors or something. (Does any other group regularly use “damnation”?)

  4. Citizen Parker says:

    Right now I’m evolving the tuna sandwich, with a unique combination of tuna and the latest in mayonnaise, held together with two completely independent slices of bread, both buttered with high-resolution margarine

    So far, perhaps my favorite sentence of 2008.

    Thank you for loving us, RPS.

  5. Ging says:

    it looks pretty, but I’m gonna put it in the same box as Borderlands for now. Lots of promises, but I’ll believe them when I see them.

  6. Will Tomas says:

    Ditto what Steve and Citizen Parker said.

  7. Veloxi says:

    Day one purchase for me.

  8. Tikey says:

    Thank you John. The Michael Bay part made my day. I’m still laughing.

    And this is why I love this site.

  9. Pace says:

    Agreed, fabulous article Mr. Walker, as always! (though “The Witcher – Irony Edition” still ranks as the title of the week for me..)

    (and those are without a doubt the 2 tackiest looking main characters in the history of videogaming, and that’s saying something.)

  10. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    That poor lady needs to reconsider how she sizes up clothes for purchase.

  11. Scandalon says:

    Steve, it’s actually a tactical choice, because everyone know that even in a life-or-death gunfight, male baddies will always get distracted by cleavage. (But never the guy on your team who will be closest to it, during the not-dodging-bullets-time…)

    P.S. Where’s my gravatar?

  12. wiper says:

    Re: everyone who noted the clothing issues.

    Yes indeed. The sad thing is, following the opening screenshot, and despite everything else written and shown above, the only lasting impression I got of the game was “breasts!”. Which, while not a part of the human anatomy I’m particularly displeased at thinking about, doesn’t really sell the game to me.

  13. John Walker says:

    I’m ashamed that in preparing the screens, I didn’t even notice the costume she was wearing, and how ludicrous it is. It’s so numbingly commonplace.

    (My gravatar’s been MIA for a couple of weeks now, too. I shall look into it).

  14. PleasingFungus says:

    I’m pretty much neutral on this right now. My thoughts:

    1) Hadn’t spotted the woman’s costume at first, but when I did… I mean, sheesh. Seems a bit more than the usual fare, to me, anyway.

    2) The enemies look ridiculous. Not bad ridiculous, necessarily…

  15. Tak says:

    Everything benefits from boobs. I think it’s one of those unwritten laws. Except maybe tuna sandwiches.

    That said, eh…PleasingFungus (wow, what a name) summed up my thoughts pretty well.

  16. Kevlmess says:

    To quote Mr. Walker himself, they really do look rather spectacular.

  17. James T says:

    I like how he uses ‘huge’ twice in a row regarding the ‘armour-piercing marvels’ and the shells they fire. Such are the perils of superlative exhaustion!

    I’m glad the action will be high, though. I’m sick of regular action.

  18. Phil H says:

    Fast combat? Vertical combat?! 4-wheeled motorbikes on walls?! Count me in. And don’t screw it up!

    As to the costumes, man do the protagonists look plain compared to those goddamn awesome enemy designs!

  19. Satsuz says:

    I’ll be feeling pretty “meh” about this until I see gameplay footage. I must always approach such optimism with suspicion and caution, lest my heart be broken again.

    Side-notes regarding tuna:

    Mr. Walker: You put margerine in your tuna sandwiches? “Blech” and “eww”, in that order.

    Tak: It depends on the relationship between the tuna sandwiches and the breasts. If the meal is being presented or made for you by someone with nice breasts, that’s a grand ole’ time. Now, if the food itself has the breasts… ugh… *shudder*.

  20. Aragul says:

    “Evolving the shooter genre [with totally amazing stuff!]

    Ok, but will my character be able to have a dog and get pregnant?

  21. Seth Tipps says:

    Mr. Walker, you have outdone yourself. I had a wiseguy comment about how the landscape wasn’t the only thing they got from American history (and I was planning on a quick photoshop job with a few 19th cent first ladies and maybe Eleanor Roosevelt with midsection’s swapped with the sidekick’s) but you have some words in this one that make anything else reduntantly superlative. <=== even that one totally fell flat.

  22. Seth Tipps says:

    Almost forgot:


  23. Dinger says:

    Rich: gold proospectors use the euphemism tarnation, and no doubt, they’re holding the monniker in reserve for next installment of the franchise, featurinh mine-boggling claim-jumping action.

    Even in the UK one encounters damnation, esp. in “this damn nation.” Will the next line be “frustration”?

    The combat boobies help make the female an endearing NPC sidekick. All that flesh makes her a bullet magnet, allowing the dude to swing around unnoticed. Plus, in the cutscenes, the two can bicker like an old married couple:

    Rourke: wow, not since Tippecanoe have we senselessly laid waste to such hordes. Did you see that one I blasted right off the trapeze and into the Teapot Dome? Intelligent Enemies? Sure, just drunker than Ulysses S. Grant at a signing ceremony.

    Skaine (not paying attention, adjusting top): damn thing keeps riding up on me!

    Rourke: You’re the little Mary Todd who insisted on that ridiculous get up. I told you to cover up with a nice SecTec Level 3 Tactical vest, but nooo, “it’s too encumbering,” you said. “I’ll never be able to ride my bike off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with that,” you said.

    Skaine: Well you keep that ridiculous hat! Remember when we finally got to the top of the Chrysler Building, but little Lord Fauntleroy here dropped his wittle hat at the entrance. We wasted three hours right there!

    Rourke: Great Bucky Balls!

    (a burst of machine gun fire and the scene ends)

  24. Wroth says:

    Assassin’s Creed with guns.

  25. sigma83 says:

    Ah, breasts.


    …I have nothing else to add.

  26. martin says:

    we should all write an email to the devs and ask them if the female character is a hooker because she dresses like one (no disrespect to hookers) and suggest that an action heroin should wear combat armor or at least cover her belly and boobs.

    but maybe it is the devs intention to make the heroin an eyecatcher for the enemies so that they look at her boobs and shoot her in her belly instead of watching the guy. but i guess the target audience (13-18) demands boobs.

  27. Champagne O'Leary says:

    I suppose the TF2 scout only wears a t-shirt…

  28. Crispy says:

    Anyone else think those pics look a bit… photoshopped? I know they’re promos, so we really shouldn’t care, and previews are about as trustworthy as the words that come out of Red Ken’s blabberous chops, but in a lot of the pics the characters seem unbelievably clean against the background (popping out almost) and those soldiers in the first shot just don’t look right. Maybe it’s the shaders they’re using on the characters that make them gleam a bit too much against the far less gleamy backgrounds, but there seems to be confliction between the two.

    (“Red” Ken Livingstone is the current Mayor of London, a somewhat topical figure right now for all the wrong reasons. My other simile was “You can place about as much stake in previews as you would in a Vegan’s sandwich” – but that suffers from a deliberate-yet-clumsy typo! :P)

  29. Larington says:

    Press releases do not make me excited no matter how many clever phrases are thrown in. Show me a gameplay vid, and then I’ll decide if its worth getting excited about.

    IE – Show, don’t tell.

    Oh yes, and someone PLEASE find a woman modeller to create less revealing outfits for the lady and just leave that existing one as, I dunno, an unlockable feature or something. Pretty please?

  30. dartt says:


    I just came here to say that.

  31. Okami says:

    Mr. Walker. thanks for just having made my day :)

  32. Sucram says:

    The reason developers adorn female characters with such little attire has a lot to do with their hopes of fan cosplay.


  33. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Dear Sucram: One would hope not. The world has seen enough of Man Faye to sear a billion retinae.

  34. Windlab says:

    So what this all is trying to say is that it’s a world that will go up and down, as well as along, and that’s a pretty decent feature.

    So you mean it’s in Three glorious Dimensions instead of the usual Two!?

  35. Stick says:

    I’ve had some (minor) experience with writing press releases and, well, sometimes cranking the Michael Bay to ELEVEN is the only way to remain sane. (“Over the top” is easier than “appealingly presented non-lies”.)

    Also, tuna sandwich imagery made my day.

  36. akbar says:

    You guys have banged on about it already, but can I add, re: the boobs – that’s not even regular cleavage, that’s *upward* cleavage. For god’s sake! Get with the physics!

  37. essell says:

    I think this looks generic, dumb and dull, to be honest.

  38. Rev. S Campbell says:

    Now, if the food itself has the breasts… ugh… *shudder*.

    What if it’s a chicken sandwich?

  39. mb says:

    Excitable Mr. Press Release didn’t mention that this started life as 2nd place winner in Epic’s Unreal contest several years back (losing out to Red Orchestra). Was called Damnation: Hell Breaks Loose if anyone wants to try the UT2004 mod.

    >I think this looks generic, dumb and dull, to be honest

    -I saw some of the outsourced character art last year & it seemed a lot less generic than those screens suggest, with things like native americans in chains & lots of goggles. It was billed as a ‘steampunk western’ back then, strange the release never described it as such.

  40. Radiant says:

    Guys it’s a post-apocalyptic world it’s not like she can just go to Marks and Sparks.

    Oh hold on it’s not a post-apocalyptic world its a post-industrial world.
    Well that’s ok th…wait what?

  41. Andrew Farrell says:

    post-industrial world = this is what cubicle jockeys get up to on their weekends.

  42. iamseb says:

    My first reaction on seeing the top screenie was “her breasts are going to fall out of that top before she catches that ledge, distracting her and causing her to plummet to her death”. Then I saw the second screen and realised that it’s all okay, because gravity clearly doesn’t affect this woman.

    Seriously though, they must be fakes because in the fourth screenshot she has some serious scarring going on.

    Game? There’s a game here? Oh, right. Evolution of the shooter. *yawn*. Evolution of hyperbole, maybe, but quite frankly shooting up and down as well as left and right isn’t much of a new concept…

  43. Ghiest says:

    The UT engine has always been way overdressed … too much bloom and really to much I think. It’s why I love tf2/cod4 I suppose really, seems allot more crisp.

    I’ll hold judgment till I can play a demo.

  44. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Regardless of all else, I just love the bowler hat/iron face mask combo. In conclusion: All games need more hats (bowlers, trilbys and tophats a preference).

  45. Hieremias says:

    My wife just read an article for a psychology class about women in gaming, and the ridiculous proportions and clothing. The two main examples in the article were Dead or Alive and Tomb Raider.

    She knows very little about games, only what she sees me playing. Yesterday we had a good long discussion where my main point was that this phenomenon was fading, becoming more an object of ridicule than the norm. I looked up the list of top 10 games of last year and NONE of them had ridiculous female body types or clothing. I showed her Alyx in Half-Life and the female characters in Oblivion as examples of where games are going now–more realistic, more believable character models. The medium is still very young but it’s maturing faster than any other, and as gamers get older the Dead or Alive type stuff gets more and more campy and is basically mocked.

    Please don’t show her these screenshots. My carefully constructed argument would fall apart.

  46. Cian says:

    Co-op in the Unreal engine? Yes please.
    But whoever came up with the player character designs needs to have a good hard think about what they’ve done.

  47. Muzman says:

    NB Game designers: wardrobe choices for females in combat have really gone too far when they are thought stupidly revealing by gamers, people not known for their love of restraint when it comes to comic book proportioned chicks, by and large.
    See also Unreal 2

  48. elias says:

    I agree with iamseb. The pics make me think about how a top like that would just let them slip out in the real world, especially if she were doing the acrobatics it’s describing.

    My second thought on seeing the first screen was that her pose looks like she’s past the height of her jump and is just going to plummet between the buildings…

    Anyway, meh so far. The annoyingly ridiculous hyperbole actually makes me less interested.

  49. Andrew Farrell says:

    Nonsense, any player of Tomb Raider Legend/Anniversary will tell you that’s a special aerodynamic pose designed to get a good three feet further jump.

  50. Schadenfreude says:

    Rourke appears to have a face I’d like to punch.