MARK-ing New Territory - Part One -

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MARK-ing New Territory - Part One

Sony's THE MARK OF KRI explores new ground with its innovative fighting system

By James Stevenson     July 11, 2002

© 2002 Sony

Sony's newest PlayStation 2 title THE MARK OF KRI will be on store shelves July 30th. With its innovative combat system, the game has already gained a reputation as one of the hottest new action titles on the market. KRI revolves around the discovery of a spell that has been hidden for many years.

"You are basically following the main character of the game, called Rau. As he starts discovering elements about his world and the mythology. The whole thing kind of works that he is discovering what is going on around him and the player is discovering what is going on around him. Initially, there are a few missions that he goes on that have no relevance towards the storyline. But then the whole thing begins to unfold and you find out that there was an ancient spell that was broken up into six parts," says Jay Beard, executive producer. "The spell was so powerful that it couldn't be destroyed, so what they did instead was hid it in the form of the curse so that someone would be born with a tattoo or a birthmark on their back. These families were dispersed around the world and protected but over time these protectors have disappeared and these families don't know what this birthmark is. So the antagonist in the story is trying to find all of the birthmarks to put them together to form this spell to do something really evil."

As Rau clashes with his enemies, gamers will quickly discover the new fighting system that has been implemented.

"Originally when we first started we were kind of frustrated with the way combat systems have been in the past where you basically are fighting whatever is in front of you, and if you want to fight whatever is to the side of you or behind you, you have to manually turn your character around in order to attack him," explains Tim Neveu, producer. "So we kind of rethought our system and that's where the lock-beam came about. You lock onto a guy in any direction and you just hit the button that corresponds to him and you'll hit him."


Making the game seem more fluid and play out more like a martial arts movie was a major goal. To achieve it, the new combat system was a necessity.

"We were just really frustrated that all of the games that were trying to emulate combat, in group combat more specifically, were falling short because it felt like you were having to reverse a bus instead of turn a dexterous warrior around," adds Beard. "It's like you had to reverse him and turn him to face the guy to attack him and we watched all these Hong Kong movies and we wanted to do something that really resembled a modern martial arts movie where you hit the guy in front of you, then behind you, then to the side of you, without ever turning around. So we spent a little bit of time playing with different systems just using cubes initially and then advanced onto using the character and slowly built the system up. Through focus testing it and getting people at the test department involved, we slowly created this system."

That system drives THE MARK OF KRI. According to Beard it is what helps the game stand out.

"I think that the game in a lot of ways is built around the system. There's a lot of elements in the game that stand on their own, and I think that the system definitely stands on its own," says Beard. "I think that the genre of 'a big guy with a sword', there are a lot of games like that, I think there are a lot of things in our game that set us aside and I think the combat system the biggest factor in that. I think that there's been games out there before where you can fight multiple opponents, but I don't think you felt like you were ever fighting a group of guys."


The adrenaline rush of seeing Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker taking down a room full of opponents is something that is rarely experienced in a game. THE MARK OF KRI changes that.

"I don't think you ever got the energy, more specifically, there were a lot of guys around you and you were fighting, but you never got that energy, you never got that cinematic experience that you get in our game," says Beard. "The combat system not only allows you to attack guys without having to orient yourself but it also allows us to put the camera wherever we want so we do a lot of cinematic stuff with the camera that we're pretty excited about and that sets us aside from a lot of the genre."

"My favorite part [of the game] is just the fluidity of the combat in general," adds Neveu. "I think we did what we set out to do and that was to make something that was going to be a very fast fighting game and I especially love the idea that you can hit guys behind you without turning around, you're blocking things from all different directions. Just the feeling of it is very satisfying."

Check back next Thursday for Part 2 of CINESCAPE's profile of THE MARK OF KRI team.

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