Phil Harrison made a WarHawk-related announcement at GDC which was something of a bombshell: WarHawk, one of the first games to make sensible use of the six-axis controller’s motion-sensing capabilities will be available only as a download over the PlayStation Network – it won’t appear on Blu-ray Disk – with a multiplayer-only focus.
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t have to wait too long for it after launch – Sony says it will arrive this autumn, and it could come as early as July, according to developer Incognito. Pricing hasn’t yet been set, but it’s likely that it won’t cost as much as a full-priced, boxed game.
So it should represent pretty good value, as it’s a pretty well specified effort although, as it stands, it doesn’t really have that jaw-droppingly crisp graphical quality that the PS3 can bring – although it is possible that could be applied in the polishing stage. Which, presumably, is under way, as the version of the game shown at GDC looked pretty solid and bug-free.
Up to 30 people can participate in a single game, and gameplay modes will include team Deathmatch, Territory Mode and Capture The Flag. There are two races in WarHawk, called Eucadian and Chernovan, and the battles are certainly epic, played across vast maps.
What really marks WarHawk out from its peers is the variety of ways in which you can play it. Battles take place in the air and on the ground – you can specialise in manning a flying battleship or hovership, or elect to stay on the ground, playing as if it was a third-person shoot-em-up. And you can jump into vehicles, such as tanks or jeeps (naturally, one person can be a designated driver while another mans a machine-gun in the back), and you can even jump into anti-aircraft guns.
The WarHawk itself – a flying battleship – is clearly seen by Incognito as the game’s top item of military hardware; there’s also a hover-ship that would-be pilots can take control of. Both planes make extensive use of the six-axis controller, along with several buttons. We couldn’t quite master the controls in the limited amount of time available for hands-on at GDC – clearly, they will require some sort of a learning period – but the aspects governed by the six-axis seemed responsive without being twitchy. On the ground, everything was utterly intuitive, however.
WarHawk’s ability to generate huge, epic online battles should make it a firm PlayStation Network favourite, and we’ll keep you updated with any news about when it will be released and how much it will cost, as soon as we know ourselves.
By Steve Boxer
In the meantime, here’s some footage for you to take a look at: