So the coolest thing LucasArts has up their sleeve is the brand new Indiana Jones game, coming out some time next summer on the PS3 and the Xbox 360.The game takes place shortly after The Last Crusade in San Francisco's Chinatown circa 1939. While the last iteration of Indy goodness, Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, was developed by The Collective, this go round the game is being developed internally at LucasArts. What's the big difference, you might ask? Well, for starters, now that all of Lucas' holdings are housed in the Letterman Digital Arts Center at the Presidio rather than being spread around in different locations, LucasArts has access to the amazing talent at Industrial Light and Magic, for one. Expect to see Hollywood-quality special effects become a regular in LucasArts' games.
In other big news, LucasArts has recently hooked up with a company called Natural Motion and have near-exclusive use of a new technology called Euphoria. What Euphoria does is essentially gives characters a central nervous system so that they respond naturally in-game. Basically, if an A.I. enemy is fighting Indy atop an out-of-control cable car and slips, falling off the car, he will innately grab an edge to save his own life. The A.I. will do whatever is possible to preserve himself or herself and do so in a natural fashion using behavioral A.I. We saw a tech demo where Indy Jones was positioned on a rope bridge and the game developer doing the demo was controlling not Indy, but the bridge. As the bridge twisted and turned like something in an old Kenwood Car Audio commericial, Indy grasped the edges and held on in a variety of ways, responding to each bounce in a completely realistic way. What this gives to the game experience is true realism. Not some A.I. doing the same animation every time he falls from a building. Its never the same thing twice, just as it would be in reality. Physics nerds rejoice!
The other ace LucasArts is holding is a little trick called Digital Molecular Matter or DMM. Now, DMM is set to revolutionize game worlds the way Euphoria will change A.I. because it assigns true physical properties to environmental objects. If you break a piece of wood, it will splinter just as actual wood should behave. Bend metal and it will react accordingly. Again, seriously upping the realism factor.
Although little more is known about the game, we can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 varied levels across several "worlds". So lots of Indy goodness is in store for fans. The downside is the long wait. The upside is all the cool stuff they can throw in there over the next year.