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Developer Diary #3: The Saboteur for PS3

Tom French's Avatar + Posted by Tom French on Nov 13, 2009 // Lead Designer, The Saboteur

Hey guys, I just got back from my little world tour (San Francisco, London, Moscow, whew!) showing off The Saboteur‘s open-world/sandbox gameplay and perks system, so I figured this might make a good topic to add to my developer diary series on The Saboteur for PS3.

The Saboteur for PS3

One of the reasons we built a scaled down version of Paris was to make sure we could create a world filled with stuff to do. Every block of Paris has content in it; in fact, it’s not just Paris but our entire world is filled with plenty of stuff. So what is all this our world is filled with? The Nazi occupation, which includes things like sniper towers, AA guns, Nazi tanks, SS generals, propaganda speakers, search lights, radar dishes, and more. These occupation targets are like a collections mechanic, but instead of passively finding these things in the world and walking over them, you’re blowing them up.

There are roughly about 1300 of these spread throughout our entire game, so you see I wasn’t kidding when I said every block has content in it. You also earn contraband for destroying these Nazi objects, which is our currency in the game because money was worthless during the war. Their destruction is persistent so taking these out in advance might actually help you with a mission in that area later on because you’re not getting attacked by a sniper anymore, for example. There’s a great risk/reward for destroying this stuff, though. If the Nazis see you, you’ll raise suspicion and someone will blow a whistle, setting off the alarms and bringing in Nazi reinforcements. So you should always make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when deciding to destroy them, because you might get a bunch of Nazis onto your heels. You’ll then have to either escape the alarm area or cool down the alarms by using one of the game’s hiding spots like the rooftop shacks or public “pissoirs.” This is actually a good time to work on your perks.

The Saboteur for PS3

Perks are a way for the player to improve Sean’s skills. You see, Sean’s a racecar driver by trade, not a soldier, and he gets better by doing things. Blow up enough Nazi installations and Sean will plant explosives faster. Kill enough guys with a machine gun and Sean will better understand how to hold the gun, reducing the recoil when firing. Shoot five guys with a scoped rifle and the drift will be reduced, making it easier to aim with a scope. Each perk has three tiers to it. The first tier is pretty easy, but tier two and three require the player to set more micro-objectives. Take sniping for example; tier two requires fifteen head shots with a scoped rifle. But the rewards get better the higher tier the perk. Perks sometimes improve skills, unlock all new mechanics (e.g. the ability to plant explosives in a car while driving, then bail out creating a car bomb), or unlock weapons in the black market shops.

The Saboteur for PS3

The black market is the place where Sean can stock up with all kinds of gear by trading in the contraband he has earned. There’s all kinds of weapons: machine guns, rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, explosives, etc — but it’s not just weapons. There are different upgrades to be found as well! For example, you can increase the different amounts of ammo Sean can carry or you can choose to equip the Resistance with better weapons. This is obviously useful because, like I mentioned in the previous post, the Resistance shows up in the High Will to Fight areas in the streets or at the fight-back zones. So helping them out with better equipment will actually help you in return. The black market shops also offer area maps, which will mark the locations of the occupation I mentioned above. As I mentioned earlier, there are about 1300 of these in the game, and having a map that shows you where to look will definitely help you destroy them all. These maps also mark locations of things like resistance supply crates (filled with contraband and sometimes bonus weapons), “sweet jumps”, monument postcards, and scenic spots. They’re quite helpful for those looking to earn some contraband or for those completionist types like me.

And you can do this stuff whenever you want, in or out of missions. It’s really up to you when you deal with it, but you might want to think about taking it out sooner rather than later; because it’s always there… watching and waiting.

The Saboteur for PS3

//Add Your Own

7 Comments   52 Replies

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51

+ afdgsfdgnb on November 15th, 2009 at 8:13 am said:

Looks very promising – has my interest.

As long as there it’s a good single player game without any DLC, I’ll pick it up.


    Tom French's Avatar

     

    + Tom French on November 24th, 2009 at 11:20 am said:

    We\’re very proud of our single player game. It\’s big and epic and a great story and a ton of stuff to. I\’d love to have done a multi-player component to Sab but our goal was to focus on not watering down the single-player aspects of the game. Maybe someday it will happen.


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+ CartBlanche on November 16th, 2009 at 10:36 am said:

Hi Tom, thanks for taking the time to answer to answer everyone’s questions. Everyone really appreciates it. The technology behind your game looks very impressive and is reminiscent of games like the inFamous and of course Assassin’s Creed franchises. I like everything about the game except the setting. Why choose WWII when so many other games have already trampled that period, nearly to death?
Surely there are tonnes of other historical periods where real life heroes could be used. Why didn’t you choose something more interesting. How about something controversial like setting it in Afghanistan, Iraq or even Palestine. I bet there are tonnes of other real world examples of so called “saboteurs”, aka terrorists ( depending on your perspective ), fighting occupying forces, through out history that you can make a game about. Surely there can’t be a shortage of war scenarios that fit the bill.

Having to split my post into 2 as there is a 1200 limit…


53

+ CartBlanche on November 16th, 2009 at 10:37 am said:

There are tonnes of other significant historical moments that occurred outside WWI and WWII. There is no doubt these were important periods, but they are not the only defining moments of history.
How about something based on the Isandwana and Rorke’s Drift in the war between the British and the Zulu nations. Or when the the British fought the Maori’s or the Persian wars or how about the 100 year war. Ok I’m focusing mainly on British battles here, but there are loads of other countries with rich and interesting scenarios, and I think history is littered with scenarios that could be used that fall outside the WWI and WWII space.

I’m honestly not trying to troll, just trying to understand why WWII again, as it seems so overdone? Was it a financial decision in the end so as not to alienate some gamers?

Also have you guys spoken to developers like Naughty Dog or even Criterion Games, so that you get the best out of the PS3 for this multi-platform game?

Thanks in advance.


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    + Tom French on November 24th, 2009 at 11:38 am said:

    Don\’t worry, you have a valid question and I don\’t see it as trolling.

    The Saboteur was really inspired by a real person (see The Saboteur Blog #1) and the setting kinda came along with it. The idea of a race-car driver-turn-saboteur really only kinda works in the WWII setting where there is a kinda pulp spirit to the world and you have these grim/evil bad guys. There is also a kind of \”global\” scale to things that people can relate to which gives Sean\’s actions a weight in something much much bigger than just what he\’s doing. It also gives Sean (who is essentially acting as a terrorist) the chance to still be a good guy in the world. I\’d love Sean\’s adventures to eventually continue on beyond WWII and if he gets the chance, hopefully they will. :)

    In a way I think the debate of WWII as a setting has gotten a bad wrap. I\’ll admit I\’ve even given it a slap or two in the face before but really, it\’s probably not as used as some settings. Space/sci-fi? There are easily more sci-fi games every year than WWII. Fantasy? That\’s an area that\’s been completely overrun and I think there are very few companies that could really make something amazing in there. Post-apocalypse? I love post-apocalyptic because I was a huge nerd for the old Mad Max movies and worked on a couple games in that world, but the seriously is it\’s becoming the new WWII. While I\’m throwing this out there, I still kinda agree with you. :)

    That\’s why in most ways, and I\’ll try not sounding like a broken record saying this, The Saboteur is not your typical WWII game. It feels very different in tone and gameplay than what you\’ve played before; you just have Nazis as bad guys. My favorite thing to compare it to is Indiana Jones. They had Nazis yet weren\’t a WWII movie. Same idea; high spirited adventure.

    As for your PS3 question; somewhat. Inside EA we had the chance to talk to other devs inside of EA. Our idea was to mainly want to focus on the content and not the technicalities of the platforms so we felt it was best to partner with someone that was already good at it. Like using Havok in your engine rather than try to create your own physics engine from scratch. I think it was a success and like I mentioned before it runs as good as the other versions and aside from having a different controller in my hand it was hard to tell the difference in most ways.


54

+ CartBlanche on November 16th, 2009 at 10:40 am said:

There are tonnes of other significant historical moments that occurred outside WWI and WWII. There is no doubt these were important periods, but they are not the only defining moments of history.
How about something based on the Isandwana and Rorke’s Drift in the war between the British and the Zulu nations. Or when the the British fought the Maori’s or the Persian wars or how about the 100 year war. Ok I’m focusing mainly on British battles here, but there are loads of other countries with rich and interesting scenarios, and I think history is littered with scenarios that could be used that fall outside the WWI and WWII space.

I’m honestly not trying to troll, just trying to understand why WWII again, as it seems so overdone? Was it a financial decision in the end so as not to alienate some gamers?

Also have you guys spoken to developers like Naughty Dog or even Criterion Games, so that you get the best out of the PS3 for this multi-platform game?


Tom French's Avatar

55

+ Tom French on November 24th, 2009 at 11:43 am said:

Thanks everyone for taking time to post your questions. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on some of them, but last week was a crazy week for Pandemic (I’ll let you search the internet). I really wanted to get back up here and answer your questions because in all honesty, myself and the team really care about this game and believe in it a ton and want you all to be interested in it so you will (fingers crossed) play it in December when it comes out. Anyhow, enough of that, keep your questions coming, I’ll answer away!


56

+ MatthewSFC on November 24th, 2009 at 1:45 pm said:

When I first saw anything about this game all I thought was “Meh”
But after seeing more and more videos and screens, I’m stoked. Had it on pre order for almost a month, actually. I’ve enjoyed previous Pandemic games and I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one. It looks like it blends a few of my favourite games, into one, which in my book, is a win.


    Tom French's Avatar

     

    + Tom French on November 24th, 2009 at 2:32 pm said:

    Well it was a win in our opinion. Hope it wins for you! Thanks!


57

+ Flyin_Piggy on December 1st, 2009 at 12:12 am said:

I was wondering if there’s any noticeable difference between the graphics on PS3 or Xbox 360.

Also if there is any considerable benefits of purchasing the game on either system.

I own both systems, but I am caught in a inconceivable trap on which system to purchase this amazing game for.

Anything you could shed some light on would be wonderful!

Personal opinion is appreciated greatly as well.

Thanks!
-Flyin Piggy


58

+ I_P1NKY_I on December 6th, 2009 at 2:01 pm said:

Im in two minds about this game. I would try and get it for christmas but the Black and White thing kinda puts me off. Dont know why, I just prefer colour.

The colour screenshot you have at the top of this post, in my opinion, looks better than the black and white ones.

Is there an option to change the colour as some screenshots are colour and some aren’t?

Apart from that, it does look like a great game.

- Thanks for spending the little extra time making the PS3 version run the same as the other platforms. =)


59

+ I_P1NKY_I on December 6th, 2009 at 2:12 pm said:

I just watched a video and now i know how the colour thing works. Its Black and White when overun by Nazis but colour when you free that area of Nazis.

Might look at getting this.


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