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Oct 28

Developer Diary #2: The Saboteur for PS3

Tom French's Avatar Posted by Tom French on Oct 28, 2009 // Lead Designer, The Saboteur

…Aaaaand back. Last we talked I told you about my buddy and our hero Sean Devlin, since then he and I have been quite busy. We’ve had some pretty cool press trips to the UK and even to the city where The Saboteur is set in—Paris. Felt a lot like a coming home.

Paris in many ways is like one of the characters in The Saboteur. Paris is The City of Lights and Love. It’s vibrant and colorful, rich and cultural. People are constantly out walking the streets and nearby markets are filled with browsing shoppers. If you’ve seen the movie Amélie and you’ll know what I mean. That’s the “fantasy” of Paris we strove to have in the game — and do. It’s a beautiful and bustling city filled with incredible buildings and architecture. Building Paris was an extremely tough challenge to tackle because the city is so well known.

First and foremost, we had to be very cautious about how to bring the in-game version of it to life. We started out by thinking about how to create “the fantasy” of Paris. From a physical world perspective we’d have to make sure that we had all the major monuments in the game, and we do. The Louvre? Check. Notre Dame? Check. The Eiffel Tower? Too big to fit in the game, cut… OK I lied… absolutely! Check! They’re all there and built to their grand real world scale – waiting to be climbed and explored. All monuments have been placed where they belong in a scaled down map of Paris and filled in the twisting streets and buildings in between. It’s not a real map of Paris but it captures the spirit of what the city feels like. For example, from the storefronts you’ll be able to see the street level all the way to the amazing rooftop that inspired parkour. Parkour, for those who don’t know, is the gymnastic free-running you’ve seen in movies like Casino Royale or in games like Mirror’s Edge.

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But the problem with trying to re-create a city like Paris is that, no matter how many Nazi soldiers you place in the world, it could never feel occupied.

To solve this, we had to do something drastic. The idea was to take this city and wrap it in chains, crushing the hope of the people. To represent this mood we literally suck the life out of it by removing the color from sections of the world. This is what we call the Will to Fight. These low Will to Fight areas have the harsh black-and-white, Sin City-style look you may have seen in a lot of our screenshots. In these areas Nazis patrol the world and people in the streets are harassed and even executed. These are grim times, but not for long…

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As Sean fights back in missions against the occupation alongside the Resistance, successful grand acts of defiance against the Nazis will literally bleed color back into the world, inspiring the people inside of it.

While this could have just been an interesting visual gimmick in The Saboteur, this inspiration is where the gameplay of the Will to Fight comes into play. It’s not liberation; the Nazis are still in control of the country and exist in these areas. It’s that the hope and spirit has been restored to them. In these high Will to Fight areas it’s safer for Sean to exist. People will cheer him on when as he fistfights in the streets, even help fighting alongside you by providing black-marketweapon dealers that will give Sean access to all sorts of better equipment and gear for the resistance.

How does Sean accomplish these “grand acts of defiance” in the missions? What types of things will you be doing in these missions? Stick around for the next blog and I’ll answer these questions and more…

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//Add Your Own

27 Comments   47 Replies

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+ Gunwing on October 28th, 2009 at 2:16 pm said:

Sounds sweet even if it’s not a PS3 exclusive it’s good to read about more and more titles taking advantage of the PS3s power finally!

I hear that both the PS3 version of Star Ocean, and Crysis are both not only going to run smoother, but have extra features on the PS3 they can’t do on the the other platforms do to size, and time.

There is also a wealth of titles now that run better on PS3:

Tekken 6
Soul Calibur 4
Resident Evil 5
Dead Space
Red Faction: Guerrila
Mirrors Edge
Tales of Vaspria

This is all great news to see that even if a game get delayed it’s often now for more content, and better performance/Enhanced graphics on the PS3 over the other platforms. IE Star Ocean is going to have film grain, AA, and boast better FPS, and more options for the player.


+ Blkant on October 28th, 2009 at 2:18 pm said:

So Im seeing in most of the photos its night time, and occasionally rainy etc.. So how exactly does this work? Do these things change by time lapse, sun rises/sets and storms occasionally come. Or does a mission trigger a rain effect suddenly for drama and it quits when you quit/finish the mission?

Also someone mentioned earlier that this is a muilti-platform game, given that was any quality spared on the PS3 version as some games have during the port transition? Or is this like other EA games where its being ported from the PS3 to other systems resulting in no lose in quality for us?

Does driving work into the game naturally or is it mission based for races, while Id like to drive freely, given the setting it makes sense that free driving would not be possible given nazis monitored the traffic heavily.

Lastly, will there be a demo?

Thank you if my questions are answered.

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm said:

    Alright let me tackle your list:

    In most of the photos what you see looking like night is probably more the \”low will to fight\” areas that are black and white. Those areas have a consistent feel to them as if it was always a permanent evening in those areas. In the \”high will to fight\” color areas you will see a noticeable day night cycle. As for rain, you will see it just happening in the game. There are points in the mission were we script the rain/lightning to trigger at certain spots to create mood.

    PS3 Version:
    There was a point a good while back where the game was just basically being ported but that wasn\’t working to get the quality we wanted so we merged all the code bases into one code base so things so we could test builds faster and make sure the game ran great on both. Basically, we want both versions to run equally as well.

    I\’d say the answer to your question is both. There are points where you will be driving/racing in the missions for objectives but at the same time the game is very much a sandbox game so you can get cars and drive around the city as freely as you want.

    We haven\’t made any announcements for any plans for a demo.

    I think I got them all there. :)


+ Enigma777 on October 28th, 2009 at 2:19 pm said:

This game looks great! I think I’ll be skipping on AC2 so I can get this instead!


+ SPARDA on October 28th, 2009 at 2:20 pm said:

Is the PS3 version going to have any added features (like Batman:AA)?

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:07 pm said:

    Our goal was to make all the versions run equally as well and didn\’t want to \”gimp\” any version.


+ maxyboy13 on October 28th, 2009 at 2:21 pm said:

Hey, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to the fans.

Anyway, are you allowed to say how large the world is when compared to other games such as GTA IV?

The game looks good. Keep up the good work.

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:11 pm said:

    Our total sandbox world is about 5.5 X 5.5 km. This doesn\’t include the interior spaces for the HQs or some of the set pieces that take you into interiors. The map goes from Paris up to the coast to La Havre and then all the way over to a section of Germany as well. In between is a countryside filled with little villages and Nazi occupied chateaus. So a pretty sizable chunk of space to explore and there\’s stuff to pretty much do everywhere in it (I\’ll talk more about that in future blogs).

    And thanks!


+ Gunwing on October 28th, 2009 at 2:23 pm said:

Yeah the extra stuff the PS3 got for Batman: AA was sweet as all hell. Made the game more worth it because you had 2 SP stories to play with instead of just one.


+ twooh on October 28th, 2009 at 2:25 pm said:


I don’t buy EA games anymore due to what was stated in your post. I haven’t bought a EA game in years and don’t plan too anytime soon.

I even pass on the $5 budget EA games.


+ Doctor_Spike on October 28th, 2009 at 2:31 pm said:

Game looks great, I’ve ordered my copy ^_^
You’ve got some great fantasy there.

Q. Will there be much in the way of interiors (e.g. shop interiors).

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:15 pm said:

    As I kinda alluded to above there are definitely interiors.

    Our HQs are all interiors where you go to get missions, story, and there\’s always a black market shopkeeper in these areas to buy gear from.

    Additionally for a few of the missions we have set piece interiors so we could deliver a more focuses moment to moment experience as you played through them.


+ maxyboy13 on October 28th, 2009 at 2:31 pm said:


So you missed Mirror’s Edge, Rock Band, Dead Space and The Orange Box.

That’s too bad for you.


+ Doctor_Spike on October 28th, 2009 at 2:37 pm said:

You’ve really got some brilliant vehicles that I’m excited about
Q. Will we see Sean sailing or flying anything

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:17 pm said:

    There are boats in the world but they\’re more for dressing. There are Zeppelins in the world that you don\’t really fly around but there are moments where you will be on them while they\’re moving. We really focused more on the driving in the game making that a fun experience as it fits with Sean being a race car driver.


+ twooh on October 28th, 2009 at 2:45 pm said:

@25 – Mirrors edge sucked, orange box is buggy as hell, rock band is over played and dead space is a 2k game bought by EA and logo’d by them. Look at the hidded 2K logo on some of the discs. Ever wonder why it seems like a 3rd person Bioshock? That’s the reason.


+ Caffo86 on October 28th, 2009 at 1:11 pm said:



+ Chihuahua1 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:22 pm said:

Don’t even care for this game. Seeing as how your other game (Mercs 2) was glitchy as were the trophies and the other game (Lord of the Rings) was sub-par I will not be wasting my money. Have a great day!!


+ Fishface45 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:27 pm said:

I have high hopes for this game. Please don’t let me down.

    Tom French's Avatar


    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:18 pm said:

    We\’ve put a lot of blood and love into this game and the team is very proud of it so I\’m hoping we don\’t let you down.


+ NEJI64 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:32 pm said:

tru this game come out this year. i get to kill some racist Nazis soon.

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:19 pm said:

    Yep, shoot Nazis in the face in December!


+ blindrocket on October 28th, 2009 at 3:38 pm said:

I’m looking forward to this, but only if it has the same performance and resolution as the 360 version.

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:20 pm said:

    As I mentioned above, that was our goal is to make both versions run the same.


+ AlphaTribe2007 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:38 pm said:

I wonder if the PS3 was the lead console for this project??

One could only hope….

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:21 pm said:

    I think I commented on a similar question in the previous blog. When we started working on the game it was impossible to get PS3s so we started on the Xbox but eventually when we could get more PS-triples we merged code bases to get them running together.


+ AlphaTribe2007 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:42 pm said:

Will there be any game play vids posted on the PSN?

What about a demo before the release date?

    Tom French's Avatar


    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:23 pm said:

    Oh, demo – See 19

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:22 pm said:

    I\’m not sure how that works, that generally more in the marketing realm, I just work on the development. There should be something coming soon to the PSN network though that I can\’t necessarily talk about at this second. I know our E3 trailer is up there, but yeah a cinematic trailer and not gameplay.


+ usalborg on October 28th, 2009 at 3:43 pm said:

We needed a good game in the December calendar :) looking forward!!! wonder if there will be a demo coming soon?


+ ye11owpharmacy on October 28th, 2009 at 3:43 pm said:

I will restore color to all of Paris, mark my words.

Oh, and Tom French has a dope Leonidas beard.

    Tom French's Avatar


    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:23 pm said:

    Hahaha, thanks.


+ Jasko45 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:54 pm said:

PS3 version is going to be better no doubt.


+ Kchow23 on October 28th, 2009 at 3:58 pm said:

Is it a bad word to say Xbox 360 here?

    Tom French's Avatar


    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:24 pm said:

    I\’ve been corrected that it\’s not. I was just being sensitive. ;)


+ Kchow23 on October 28th, 2009 at 4:00 pm said:

Where did the inspiration come for the beard? it is AWESOME

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    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:26 pm said:

    I\’ve just always kinda had this ability to grow facial hair and a lot of it. I\’d say it\’s more me being a metal head and wanting a full beard. Maybe a little Leonidas influence as well.


+ tojeka on October 28th, 2009 at 4:01 pm said:

How about a game where i can play as a german… Im sick us always being the bad guys ;)

    Tom French's Avatar


    + Tom French on October 28th, 2009 at 4:27 pm said:

    Well, you can\’t play as a Nazi but you can steal their uniforms. There also a resistance member in the game that\’s German who\’s a good guy. We also have a German scientist who\’s defecting and we like him too.

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