F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
|F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin|
John Zuur Platten
|Engine||Lithtech: Jupiter EX with a modified Havok engine|
|Release date(s)||NA February 10, 2009
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is a first-person shooter psychological horror video game, developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is the sequel to F.E.A.R. and is the second game in the F.E.A.R. series. It was released on February 10, 2009 and was made available on Steam two days later on February 12, 2009.
The F.E.A.R. 2 gameplay maintains the core elements from the original, including slo-mo combat, martial arts attacks, and enhanced A.I. The A.I. from the original F.E.A.R. was known for its exploitation of the environments, taking cover behind pillars and knocking down tables, and many of these behaviors have been retained for the sequel. New features in the game include iron sight aiming (most people refer as Aim Down Sights), creating cover by pushing objects, and the ability to use mechs during vehicle segments. The ability to lean and walk have been removed. Project Origin features a more diverse cast of enemies, as well as more encounters with supernatural enemies.
F.E.A.R. 2 does not allow the player to manually save and features a single save slot that relies on a checkpoint system. However, the game allows the player to replay any level from the main menu after first completing that level.
The sequel to F.E.A.R. continues the supernatural suspense story of the supernatural being, Alma, whose rage against those who wronged her causes an escalating paranormal crisis that threatens to devour and replace reality with her own. Instead of playing as the Point Man, the game's protagonist is Michael Becket, a Delta Force operator whose squad is sent in to take Genevieve Aristide into protective custody approximately thirty minutes before the ending of F.E.A.R.
The game opens with Becket experiencing a hallucination involving a ruined city, where he sees Alma walking along. As he recovers, Becket's squad arrives at the penthouse complex where Aristide lives, only to find it under assault by a team from ATC Security's black ops, dispatched by Armacham Technology Corporation's Board of Directors. After saving Aristide, Becket uncovers hints of a project known as "Harbinger", which involves himself and several of his teammates. Aristide claims that Becket and his team are the only way to stop Alma, but before she can elaborate, the F.E.A.R. Point Man detonates the Origin Facility's reactor. Becket is knocked unconscious in the explosion.
When he recovers, Becket finds himself and the rest of his squad in a hospital deep underground, being operated on by a team of doctors under the direction of Aristide. The hospital comes under attack by ATC clean-up crews led by Colonel Vanek, and Becket must fight his way out. While escaping, Becket receives communications over his radio from a man who calls himself "Snake Fist". After escaping the hospital and confronting the commander of the ATC forces, Becket fights his way to the surface, where he encounters the reactivated Replica troops. As he moves to the surface, Becket is repeatedly assaulted in hand-to-hand combat by Alma, who (according to Snake Fist) is trying to "absorb" Becket, drawn by the psychic signal he now emits after being psychically altered in an "attunement chamber" that Aristide tricked him into entering.
After reaching the surface, Becket regroups with what is left of his team, many of whom have been systematically killed by Alma. Now consisting only of Becket, his superior Lieutenant Stokes, Sergeant Morales, and Sergeant First Class Keegan, the squad moves to nearby Wade Elementary, a school now controlled by ATC Security, where Snake Fist and Aristide are hiding. Becket discovers that the basement of the school is another ATC research facility, for a project known as "Paragon." Here, Becket discovers that Project Harbinger was an attempt to create more psychic commanders similar to Paxton Fettel, a major antagonist from the original game, and that Michael and Keegan were the most promising subjects.
In the basement facility, Michael kills Colonel Vanek and finds Snake Fist. Snake Fist reveals himself as Terry Halford, a researcher for ATC, and explains that the only way to defeat Alma is to travel to an Armacham facility inside a nuclear reactor on nearby Still Island, which houses a device that can amplify psychic power. With this device, Becket can possibly defeat Alma with his own psychic abilities. As Becket and Halford prepare to head back to the surface, Halford is decapitated by a Replica assassin.
En route to Still Island, Michael's squad is ambushed by Replica troops, and Sergeant Keegan wanders off in a daze. Becket follows and tries to recover Keegan, but is instead delayed by Replica forces. After fighting off both the enemy soldiers and more of Alma's assaults, he eventually reunites with the remainder of the squad underneath Still Island and heads for the ATC facility. Becket enters the psychic amplifier, and as Stokes prepares to power up the machine, she is killed by Genevieve Aristide. Aristide explains that instead of destroying Alma, she plans to seal Becket and Alma inside the device together, so Aristide can use Alma as leverage against ATC.
Alma attacks again, and Aristide seals Becket and Alma together. Alma approaches Becket, and he is sent into another hallucination, where he fights off apparitions of a maddened Sergeant Keegan. While trying to reactivate the amplifier, Becket sees images of Alma, who appears to be sexually assaulting his body in the real world. Finally, after reactivating the last switch, Becket escapes the hallucination to find himself sealed inside the device. The device opens, and Becket sees Alma standing in the midst of a blasted landscape. Alma is now pregnant with Michael's child, and the game ends as she walks up to Michael and places his hand onto her stomach, and the voice of a child saying 'Mommy' can be distinctly heard.
The sequel remains in the original's existing universe, retaining the original storyline and characters, although it does not recognize Extraction Point or Perseus Mandate. Monolith Productions enlisted a new publisher for the game, since they were purchased by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment in 2004 while development of F.E.A.R. was under way, after which Vivendi Universal was dropped as publisher. F.E.A.R. 2 was released on February 10, 2009 in North America and Europe.
The game was shown for the first time at the 2007 E3 Expo with an Xbox 360 demo. The demo footage showcased the game's revamped engine, and reveals glimpses of the plot, starting with a cutscene of Michael undergoing surgery overseen by Genevieve, with unexplained complications, later revealed to be linked with Alma.
In an interview with John Mulkey, lead designer for F.E.A.R. 2 at that point, he described the game as being "a more open environment" further noting that "a destroyed city opens up an incredible amount of opportunities." Also, Mulkey mentioned that the enemies will be much more varied than in the previous game.
Another notable event happened on December 22, 2008 when thirty five Project Origin screenshots were released. One of them featured a man wearing a "Shogo 2" t-shirt. This caused an uproar of fan and industry speculation about a potential sequel to the old Shogo game being in production (even though other Shogo Easter eggs had appeared in other games including the original F.E.A.R.).
Name Your Fear
Monolith Productions announced a contest called "Name Your Fear" on June 4, 2007, to find a new name for the sequel. Contestants had until June 22 to submit a name, after which three finalists would be chosen with fans being able to choose their favorite. The three finalists would have their likeness featured in the game. A special website was created for this contest.
On August 3, 2007, voting was opened to the public for the three naming finalists, which were Dead Echo, Project Origin and Dark Signal. Voting closed on August 10, 2007. On September 6, 2007, the winner was announced as Project Origin. On the games official website the reasons for Project Origin being chosen were explained:
Project Origin is a strong fan and developer favorite. We received over 400 submissions containing Origin in the name. The second submission of the contest was Project Origin, so we have had the name rattling around in our heads right from the beginning Project Origin is a natural fit for the title of the sequel because it is the Armacham program from which all of the trouble in the game world originates. The architect of Project Origin, Harlan Wade, used his daughter in a horrific experiment which turned her into the monster that we see in the first game. ..... In the sequel, the repercussions of Project Origin are only beginning to unravel.
Later announced on September 8, 2008, Monolith Productions and Warner Bros. Interactive revealed that they had purchased the F.E.A.R. name from Activision Blizzard. The moniker Project Origin remains, though used as a subtitle.
On October 31, 2008, Monolith and Warner Bros. released an exclusive digital comic on GameTrailers. The comic takes place after the helicopter crash at the ending of F.E.A.R. Jin is shown alive but Point-man and Holiday are absent, and some bloody footprints lead away from the crash. Jin sees that Bremmer is still alive only to watch his flesh melt off. Jin looks out the window to see the younger form of Alma smiling and her eyes glowing red.
On January 22, 2009, a playable demo was released to the public for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Like the original F.E.A.R. demo, this one was made using segments merged from several different levels.
The limited edition version of F.E.A.R. 2 also included the original F.E.A.R., exclusive artwork and downloadable skins, all encased in a tin retail box. The game was also available by Steam. People who pre-ordered the game at Gamestop were able to receive an exclusive book which detailed the entire history of the F.E.A.R. storyline.
A DLC expansion to F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin was announced by Monolith on July 29, 2009. The story involves four new levels and follows a Replica by the name of Foxtrot 813 to find Paxton Fettel and free his spirit from the psychic amplifier.
It was released on September 3, 2009, on all three systems (Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3), and is available for purchase in their respective marketplaces (Xbox Live Marketplace, Steam, and PlayStation Network Store).
In it, the player assumes the role of a Replica soldier who is guided by Paxton Fettel, the antagonist of the first game, to turn on his fellow Replica and try to reach the epicentre of the nuclear blast triggered by the Point Man's failed attempt to contain Alma. It is evident that Alma does not want the rogue Replica soldier to reach his and Paxton's goal, and she proceeds to try to defeat the player with Replica still under her control, and the strange ghost-like beings she has implemented in previous installments of the game.
When the player reaches the original blast site, and proceeds deep under the rubble, Paxton makes reference to other soldiers that will be his, and the player's army. They can be seen as ghosts, but unlike those used by Alma or encountered in any of the other F.E.A.R. games. If the player uses the slo-mo ability, they become visible as Replica soldiers not unlike the player's character. They are marching ceaselessly towards a large, red, beam that appears to be the player's destination. After fighting a few more of Alma's ghosts, the player opens a door to find Paxton Fettel, kneeling in the middle of the room. This is clearly a juxtaposition to the opening cinematic of F.E.A.R. where Alma enters Fettel's room through a similar door. Fettel welcomes the player as "brother" and reaches out in a similar fashion. As he touches the player, Fettel melts away. After he disappears completely, the Replica soldier removes his helmet to reveal Paxton Fettel's face, as Fettel's voice narrates that he has been reborn.
F.E.A.R. 2 received mostly positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 79.19% and 79/100, the PC version 77.86% and 79/100 and the Xbox 360 version 77.74% and 77/100. Eurogamer awarded the game 5/10. While agreeing that it was a rock solid shooter, it claimed the lasting impression is "one of a woeful lack of inspiration". Among its criticisms were poor story development, uninspired level design, and poor execution in the developers' attempt to vary gameplay with the addition of mech armour. GamePro magazine rated the game with a 4/5, praising the slo-mo effect and gameplay, but criticized the opponent A.I., level designs, and the game ending on a flat note. Resolution Magazine awarded the game a 76%. They praised the game's polish, and described it as enjoyable, despite its lack of creativity.
Rumors of the sequel to F.E.A.R. 2 were leaked via NeoGAF forums because of a "Next Issue" image of the March issue of Spanish video game magazine Marca Player. The image depicts Alma and her baby, along with two other characters. However, no confirmation was given by Warner Bros. at that time.
The story follows Alma and her baby's birth. The "Point Man" makes a return from the first game (this time without his balaclava as seen on the trailer), as well as Paxton Fettel. F.E.A.R. 3 features a script co-written by Steve Niles and in-game cinematics directed by filmmaker John Carpenter.
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