You Say Du-Bye And I Say Hell-O: Spec Ops

Orange is the new brown.

We sent Craig into what I can only assume was the heart of a diabolical sandstorm to take a look at Spec Ops: The Line. Despite misgivings, he admired the impressive spectacle, most of which seems to be due to the game’s setting in a decaying and sand-suffocated Dubai. A new trailer, which shows a fair bit of gameplay, does manage to impress with its sense of scale. There are towering, shattered buildings and a beach’s worth of sand being dumped onto unsuspecting enemies. That goes along with some cover-based shooting and some excessive violence, including a foot stomp that Isaac Clarke would be proud of. Put on your shades, then take a look.

I’m still not sure if it’s just over the top grimness or if there’s an actual supernatural horror element. I’m not sure about anything today. I do suspect that the bad guy is Ra’s al Ghul but nobody has confirmed that for me yet.

On a different note, I just spotted that if you go and watch at Youtube itself, there’s a little snowflake button that has a predictable effect on the video you’re watching. It works incredibly well with this.


  1. CMaster says:

    Looks uninspiring but probably a good ride if you like third person cover shooters?

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    Console controller footage. Ugh. It sickens me to see straight vertical and horizontal motions, it doesn’t look or feels real.

  3. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m still not sure if it’s just over the top grimness or if there’s an actual supernatural horror element”

    The bits about a “Hellstorm” do seem to imply that. Maybe they’re doing the thing where you build up tension by not giving too many details about the monster(s) away, as opposed to 99% of all the other first person games not called Amnesia that destroy any sense of tension by having their monsters running around in the trailers so the players know all about them going into the game. Let’s hope that someone in Marketing doesn’t miss a memo and decide to ruin it for everyone…

    • CMaster says:

      I’d say it was going for a more Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now vibe. So it feels a but like there’s something supernatural going on, but it’s really just about how evil humanity and it’s supposed morals are. Especially with the US special forces guy going in to face and obviously charismatic other American giving him lectures.

      Hellstorms I’d say are just epic sandstorms, probably handwavingly explained as a result of climate change.

      As as aside, Heart of Evil is an excellent and underplayed HL1 mod. Apparently there’s a remake floating around too.

      Edit: according to that old article on the game, it is indeed very HoD

    • DrGonzo says:

      If you played Colonel O’Neil I would be all over this though.

  4. dangermouse76 says:

    Shootered out I am afraid. I need some better AI to remain interested in FPS’s now and more physics destruction. I think thats why all the FPSing I do now is multiplayer . I have lost interest in the story most FPS’s peddle.

    The only problem is I am shit at Battlefield 3 …… ah well up and atem eh !!!

  5. Navagon says:

    It doesn’t look bad. But we won’t know for sure until someone’s playtested it on PC. Even then the full thing could be four hours long.

  6. MistyMike says:

    American guy bludgeoning turban-wearing guys to death with the butt of his gun? My kind of game.

    • maninahat says:

      Yes, I squirmed when I saw that too. Is it too much to ask to play a game in which you aren’t an American soldier, curb stomping every other race or culture? If it is set in Dubai, why not just let us play as UAE soldiers?

  7. sinister agent says:

    Looks like quite the departure from the Spec-Ops game I played back in the dawn of time. That would be a surprise, but not a big deal, however I’m not convinced the world needs another all-action FPS about shooting guys in headwraps while helicopters perform stunts overhead.

  8. Kadayi says:

    The stuff with the sand looks impressive, as does the setting. But yeah, hoping it’s not a four hour game.

  9. DocSeuss says:

    If the gameplay is solid (what we’re seeing so far looks at least a little inventive, but will the AI and gunplay be as good?) and the story’s as good as they seem to think, it could be an utterly fantastic game.

    At the same time, when it comes to games with production values that seem highish… but have a fairly low level of buzz… I can’t shake the feeling that this will be another Homefront or Legendary.

  10. skyturnedred says:

    Every snowflake is unique – myth busted!

  11. Craig Pearson says:

    Just OTT grimness. No element of the supernatural when I slogged through it.

  12. Tams80 says:

    What’s this? There’s a sandstorm AND it’s snowing?! ;-)

  13. BathroomCitizen says:

    Well, looking at the bright side, orange is definitely better than brown.

  14. Shooop says:

    It’s not a bad setting, desert warfare that actually has sand of all things instead of brown rocks with a half-arsed texture would be nice change of scenery.

    But is there anyone who really thinks another Gears of War but with middle-eastern men instead of aliens is just what we needed?

  15. Synesthesia says:

    Hey, i was about to make the snowflake comment!
    I kinda wanted to play this game when it was starting to get rumored around, and hoped they could use the sand as a nice narrative device. Climate and ambient is great for this stuff, and pacing a good fps.

    Kinda looks like it wont happen, though. Sad.