E3 2008: Codemasters

Although we didn't have a meeting scheduled with Codemasters (somehow this year's schedule filled up pretty fast and most of it at the last minute), we were fortunate enough on the last day to find lead writer Rico Sablan, who took the time to show us around Rise of the Argonauts during our unscheduled stop at the booth.

Rise of the Argonauts (PS3, X360, PC)

The story of the game is basically a re-telling of Jason and the Argonauts, a fantasy story based on Greek mythology. Jason's wife is murdered on their wedding day, so he sets out to retrieve the only thing that is capable of bringing her back: the golden fleece.

The levels in the game are represented by different islands, and you can travel back and forth between them, by picking which Argonauts you want to take with you. You can also play as other Argonauts.

The dialog options are aligned with the different patron gods, so depending on your choices, you will gain favor with some of the gods. And favor is a good thing, since it lets you access new powers.

Jason always carries around his "arsenal" of weapons: a mace, a spear, and the typical gladiator sword and shield combination. None of the weapons are stats-based, but artisans will craf them specifically for Jason. There is no HUD anywhere on the screen, so damage during combat is always done visually. You can tell a character is hurt by the way they look, move and the animations they do. If an enemy has an injured arm, he will press it up against his chest.

Depending on your choices throughout the game, you will find ally characters, but not all will be prone to fighting, so it will be up to you to decide how they should behave. We observed as Jason told a merchant to basically stay out of the way and let him deal with the bad guys, but during the fight, they would still be trying to get to the poor man. So you will have to pay attention to enemies and allies, because even if you have told them not to fight, that still makes them targets. Characters who live will become helpful later one. Those who die will have certain consequences, for example, you will encounter someone's widow somewhere along the way.

There are plenty of plot twists along the way, and different paths to chose, all leading up to four variations of the same ending. The single-player story should take around 10 to 12 hours to complete, and there are still discussions about inclusion of multiplayer in a possible expansion.

Rise of the Argonauts is expected this Fall, for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.