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First look at Sega’s Binary Domain

Amidst all the bling and pomp of the biggest titles at this year’s E3, one that flew under many a’ radar was Sega’s upcoming Binary Domain. Amongst all the other titles at E3, the game suffered from one series setback that potentially crippled it when it came to standing out on the show floor—it was not part of a franchise, nor was it a sequel. There was no number “3” on it, and there was nary a semicolon in the title. That in no way makes it a bad game, but unfortunately, it immediately limited the exposure that the game would receive while up against franchise titles.

Although it was displayed on the show floor, Sega also showed the game off in a quieter venue behind closed doors, where they could explain the game and discuss the title’s story and gameplay. Much of that story is retold in the trailer below.

Set in the year 2080, the world has grown fond of robotics. So much so that a new threat has emerged, that of robotic beings that can pass for humans. This goes against several laws of the future, and the prime suspect behind the creation is a company in Japan. In the future, Japan has turned inwards and isolated themselves from the world. To enforce their privacy, Japan has also created an army of machines to defend and protect them. And when a group of soldiers sent in to investigate the claims is discovered, those robots are there to attack.

The story is science-fiction in the truest sense, as the morality of creating a mechanical being that can pass for human is tested. It also gives us the opportunity to wade through countless enemies with increasingly crazier and more satisfying guns.

The gameplay is reminiscent of another Sega game, last year’s Vanquish, and it utilizes a similar cover system. Binary Domain is primarily a tactical shooter, meaning that you will have two other AI-controlled teammates to boss around, and you can do this with voice recognized commands. You can tell them where to go and what to do—but they may not always obey. As you play through the game the decisions you make and the actions you choose will influence how the other teammates feel about you. If you went out of your way to heal one of them, they may be faster to return the favor. Alternatively, if you accidentally shot one in the back of the head a few times, they may hold a grudge. You will have several teammates to choose from, all with a different set of skills, and while maintaining relationships won’t make or break you, it will make your life easier to keep it in mind.

Binary Domain was created by Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of the Yakuza series that is insanely popular in Japan (and has a solid following in the States as well). It is due out for Xbox 360 and PS3 in February of 2012, but for now check out the trailer and expect to hear more on this game in the coming months.