We’re really becoming quite fond of Brink. A near-future ecological catastrophe fuelled factional survival story, developer Splash Damage have created a spectacular and equally dangerous sea-faring city; a place we’re eager to journey to and play around in. Delving into the back-story of the game’s premise and its signature haven for Earth’s refugees, Ark, Senior Game Designer Ed Stern has explained over on the latest Brink Developer Diary how the location itself has its own story to tell; a place teeming with character and nuance that can instil a sense of history in its visitors just by experiencing it.
Ed describes a concept of I/DC or Instant/Deep Context; the idea that by showing players something rather than boring them with endless exposition, the player will get a better understanding of Ark’s complex and compelling origins.
He also touches upon how the ecologically influenced tale stems from simply taking what is accepted as happening in our world today, and extrapolating it to further extremes. It’s post 2020, and after the seas have risen, humanity is now struggling to survive on a planet that no longer can be classified as habitable. Ark, a secret utopian R&D centre for the rich and powerful depicted by Ed as “a zero-carbon, fossil fuel-free blueprint for future cities,” quickly becomes a fabled sanctuary for the world’s drowning to seek out and, hopefully, locate. What they’re looking for is something described by the game’s designer as “somewhere players hadn’t been before […] something they hadn’t already seen.” He continues to list such influences as “the sci-fi towers of the Burj Al Arab hotel, the Masdar Initiative, the buildings of Santiago Calatrava, Paolo Soleri’s visionary (and unfinished) Arcosanti, Patrick Salsbury’s Oceana and the Shimizu Pyramid.”
Ultimately, some 40,000 desperate souls did indeed find this floating nirvana, quickly becoming the isolated city’s “Guests” and soon to be found living in squalor while the Founders continued their lives in relative luxury.
It’s this tension that breeds the game’s factious conflict. As Ed so poignantly states:
“We decided to make the game world as various as the real world and let our factions be right (at least in their own opinion) and let the player decide what side they take.
Increasingly the Guests are coming to doubt the Founders’ claims that all contact with the outside world has been lost, and are agitating to use the Ark’s remaining resources to find help. Some of them organize into the armed Resistance. At the other extreme, the original corporate police force has had to expand to become Security, the ones who maintain order and manage the Ark’s resources so that all can survive. Security fight to save the Ark. The Resistance fight to escape it. ”
Brink is scheduled for a release on the PS3 and 360 in Q4 2010.