GDC 11: Section 8: Prejudice Hands-on

There weren’t many unreleased games playable on the first day of GDC 2011, but I spotted one. Section 8: Prejudice is a downloadable shooter with a low price point and a high polish, and a representative from developer/publisher TimeGate studios was on hand just inside the South Hall to show it off to all and sundry. Though he was cagey about the release date, he promised that the game would be available “soon,” for only $14.99/1200 Microsoft Points.

Built on the Unreal Engine, Prejudice will draw inevitable comparisons to Halo, mostly due to its sci-fi aesthetic and high-octane combat. The overwhelming impression I got, however, was more nuanced — the game looked and played like a shooter fan’s shooter, culling the best and most-fun elements from previous popular titles, and combining them into one super-game. Like jetpacks? It’s got jetpacks. Like vehicle combat? It’s got that too. Like prowess-based advancement and customization? You see where I’m going with this.

After some time spent watching other people play the game, it was my turn on the sticks, and though my FPS skills are rustier than the wreck of the Titanic, I had a ball zipping around the sizable demo level, sniping bots. A few of the game’s classes came equipped with triggerable remote mines, a clever take on the grenade-spam so endemic in popular multiplayer shooters. When you die in Prejudice, you get the opportunity to change classes, and a good deal of discretion over your spawn point. Once both of these decisions are made, you’re whisked into an exciting skydiving sequence, which features the supersoldier you control plunging from the heavens toward your selected spawn point. If you decide at the last minute that you’ve chosen poorly, you can “brake,” gliding Just Cause-style toward a more advantageous position.

You can grab a video of my hands-on session right here.

As long as they’re not confusing people who feel unfairly passed over for government-subsidized housing, TimeGate is liable to impress with Prejudice, which certainly looked good enough to my eyes to justify a much higher price. Keep a weather eye out for news from the developer’s Sugar Land, Texas hometown, hopefully news that nails down a release date.

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