One of the bigger surprises this E3 was the reveal of Mad Max, a game by Avalanche Studios (the team that brought you Just Cause) inspired by the popular dystopian 1979 movie starring Mel Gibson. Avalanche showed a gameplay snippet of this post-apocalyptic open world game, and I got the chance to see a developer play some Mad Max.
Although you’re still playing as Max in the game, the story is a completely original one. And because this is a Mad Max game, there is heavy emphasis on car combat. As you’re driving in the barren, dusty environments, multiple enemy cars can show up at any time in the open world and try to take you out. The preview showed a couple of foes jumping on Max’s vehicle, and Max had to bust out his trusty shotgun and blow them off your windshield. Another particular effective way of eliminating other vehicles was to use a harpoon to latch onto their wheels and flip them over.
Max’s car, the Magnum Opus, can be heavily tweaked to your liking. Having maximum ramming power to totally annihilate other automobiles is possible, but you would be sacrificing speed for power. Max’s small, slightly disfigured companion Chumbucket (yes, that’s his name) is the mechanic for all things vehicle related, and will be responsible for car upgrades, as well as fixing the Magnum Opus in the open world as it goes through the wear and tear of the vast wasteland.
Some areas of the open world were also blocked off until the Magnum Opus has a specific upgrade. A huge metal wall was blocking the entrance to an enemy camp, and only when Chumbucket tinkered with the car to get a more powerful ram was he able to obliterate the blockade and continue.
There’s also some melee combat mixed in with some third person shooting. Max can pick up various weapons placed throughout the world and use it to his liking. The preview had Max finding and wielding a weapon called the thunder-stick, and once Max threw it at a foe, it stunned him for a few seconds until it exploded, turning him into a bloody mess. Gunplay is also involved, and the preview showed a brief sniper section where Max picked off scouts in watchtowers from afar.
Mad Max looks to have a lot of gameplay elements mixed in. There’s hand-to-hand combat, third person shooting, car combat, vehicle customization, and an open world housing all these crazy things you can do. How smoothly all of these aspects will coalesce into a fully functional game remains to be seen, but Avalanche Studios has a pretty good track record with insane open world games backing them up. Mad Max is coming sometime in 2014 for the PS3, PS4, 360, and Xbox One.