Last Friday I got the chance to go to Disney’s TRON: Evolution day, a press event showing the new game and bits of the Legacy movie.
There was first a short presentation explaining what TRON was about and showing who the different characters and actors were (just in case you had never heard of TRON before). We then were told to put on the 3D glasses to see 8 minutes of TRON: Legacy. From what I understood these were the same scenes that they showed at ComicCon this summer.
The clip started with Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) being captured by a huge Recognizer; he doesn’t have an Identity Disk, so he’s mistaken for a stray Program and is locked up together with a bunch of others. One Program is clearly crazy, murmuring the same thing over and over to himself, while another has lost half his face.
The Recognizer flies them through the TRON landscape to eventually deliver them to a special building. An orange Program comes out of the building and filters the faulty Programs. While most of them are classified with “Rectify”, Sam is put into “Games”. He’s taken onto a platform and is bought several levels lower into a large round room.
4 female Programs dressed completely in white (who we later found out are called Sirens) emerge eerily out of the walls to stand around Sam. With laser fingers (it looks cooler than it sounds) they undress him, redress him in black armour and give him an Identity Disk. When he asks what he’s supposed to do, one of the Sirens simply answers “Survive”. Sam is led out to what looks like a stadium with him and other contestants floating within round twirling disks in the middle. Finally the clip ends with a series of short glimpses to battle scenes, light cycle races and more slick looking visuals.
Next, Darren Hedges came on stage to tell us more about the video game, TRON: Evolution. It’s a prequel to the second movie, set in 1989-90 and will explain the disappearance of Kevin Flynn. The storyline will revolve around the emergence of ISOs and the birth of a massive virus named Abraxus. The player will take on the role of Anon, a new System Monitor program created by Kevin Flynn to combat the threat of the virus.
The in-game fighting style is based on Capoeira, chosen because game designers thought he flow and choreography suited the TRON world. I wonder if the action scenes in the movie are also based on it or not?
The game has both single player and multiplayer modes. Hedges explained, though, that they wanted persistent character progression in the even the multiplayer game. What they’ve done in TRON: Evolution is that they’ve set up one avatar for both single and multi player; whatever upgrades and levels you achieve in one mode counts for the other.
We then got a chance to play the game. There were 10 screens set up to try out the multiplayer and 1 to try out the single player storytelling mode.
In multiplayer there are various ways you can setup the game. First you have two different types of gameplay depending on what type of map you choose. The first is just hand-to-hand combat, using your light disk to damage people. The second also adds Light Cycles, and the maps are much larger and more explorable. In this second variant you can also Derezz (kill) other players with your Light Cycle line, like in the original movie. Unless they’re on the same team as you, other players can’t intersect your Light Cycle path without dying.
Next to that you have different types of game modes, most similar to the standard multiplayer games; you’ve got Deathmatch, Capture the Bit (like Capture the Flag, but whoever has claims the Bit loses health over time), Powermonger (your team has to claim all Energy nodes) and more to come in the future.
Unlike some games where they try to train you all of the controls at once, TRON: Evolution builds up your options gradually. You start off with some simple jumping, eventually progressing to wall jumping, vault jumping, and fighting. The game has a similar vibe as Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge with a lot of free jumping and running around.
I got to play a couple of levels where, as Anon, I had to follow Quorra to find Kevin Flynn at a ‘press’ conference. In a cutscene he announces an alliance with the ISOs, even though one of the leaders of the ISOs has recently been assassinated by the virus Abraxus. During the conference, Abraxus attacks and I as Anon had to protect Flynn and the ISOs.
I love the look of the in-game visuals; the TRON world is beautifully recreated. For me the cutscenes though weren’t that impressive, probably because I know the actors that some of them are based on (Kevin Flynn, Bit, etc). The new characters look great in those scenes, but the more recognisable faces are more obviously computer generated.
Interestingly enough at a certain moment I was told I couldn’t play further because I was about to uncover some spoilers for the movie. I’m assuming that it’s something to do with Flynn’s disappearance, but this seemed to happen quite early in the game. I like that there’s been quite a lot of crossover between the movie and the game, and it’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to playing this game in earnest. But doesn’t it seem a bit silly to protect against this spoiler? Especially when the game comes out 10 days earlier than the movie? I am, however, now very curious to see whatever was in that scene.
Movie tie-in games always seem like an afterthought, but with TRON: Evolution you can see the amount of work put into it. The game creators have worked closely together with the movie makers to create a game that fully complements the movie. Both the single player and multiplayer modes seem well designed and I can easily see myself wasting many an afternoon getting stuck into either.
Thanks Melinda. I’m now hugely curious about this spoiler too…