E3 2013: Mad Max Preview – Do We Need Another Hero?

Frankly, I am surprised it has taken this long for us to see an open world post-apocalyptic Mad Max game.  The idea of Mad Max roaming the sand filled wastelands in his beaten-down muscle car wearing his signature knee brace and doing whatever he can just to get some gas is the perfect formula for a video game.  Now if only a development team out there could just follow the movie’s storyline, we would have a fantastic game right?  Well it is this basic concept that sets the stage for Avalanche Studios’ (the fine folks responsible for the Just Cause franchise) Mad Max game slated to arrive on next gen consoles in 2014.  Mad Max arrived on the scene with a bang at E3 this year and a few of us COG staffers had a chance to check out a gamplay demo at the Warner Brothers booth.


During the 15-minute or so gameplay demo we had a chance to get a glimpse of the combat, driving mechanics and some of the things we can expect from Mad Max the game.  The demo was in pre-alpha stage so it was certainly a little rough around the edges.  Some of the visuals lacked detail and the enemy AI was not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed.  Additionally, I wasn’t exactly fond of the way the enemies lit up during the demo as well.  But hey these are little things and it is early.  So there is still plenty of time for the development team to carve out a brutal, gritty and unforgiving Wasteland.

As you would guess, Mad Max takes place in a brutal world and one where everyone is desperate including the Road Warrior himself.   The initial focus during the demo was on vehicle combat; however, the developers did note that scavenging and melee hand to hand combat can also be expected in the game.  You can also expect a great deal of weapon combat as well.

The first few minutes of the demo saw Mad Max in his muscle beast car called the V8 Inceptor quickly engaging in one of those classic Road Warrior vehicle chase action sequences.  Much like the movie, a nasty looking human enemy is seen jumping on his vehicle at high speeds attempting to jab a spear-like object at Mad Max.  As the vehicles screech down the desert lands, Max Mad is ramming vehicles essentially aligning himself to take them down and get their valuable gasoline.  Mad Max is then seen blasting at the enemies with his trusty sawed off shotgun where he would shoot at red highlighted gasoline tanks.  It is at this point the game would then slow-down into those Matrix-like slow motion sequences.  The effect was pretty slick.

On the back of Mad Max’s car, his trusty mutated or in-bread looking sidekick “Chumbucket” hangs onto the car rails for dear life.  He is a peculiar looking fella who is apparently Max’s mechanic as well.  The extent of his role in the game is unknown but during a melee combat sequence, Chumbucket was kicking ass and taking names.  The hand-to-hand combat really did look great and had an Amazing Spider-Man and Batman Arkham Asylum style of combat.

As the demo progressed along we got a chance to see to Mad Max’ uber sniper rifle in action.  It was a big sucker and managed to absolutely decimate the enemy.  The rifle packed a punch and the resulting kill cam was pleasurable to watch.  Sure it was nothing we haven’t seen before but it is Mad Max!  We also had a chance to see the many ways which you can ‘pimp your ride’.  The core body of the car remains intact but you can add ramming gear, slick tail pipes, oversized off road tires and a menacing looking engine.  It is clear the team wants you to be able to customize the car to suit your needs and it will also be essential in order to get past through certain areas.  I suspect looting and scavenging will be part of the games currency system and this currency will get you some bad ass accessories for your truck.  It was not clear while watching the demo but just my speculation at this point.

Warner Bros. certainly have a potential hit on their hands with Mad Max and if the first game succeeds perhaps we will see the beginning of a brand new franchise.  The open world concept seems like the perfect fit for the character and the modernized approach should keep things interesting and relevant.  While the demo didn’t exactly have me jumping out of my seat running to get the game pre-ordered, I see a lot of potential and only hope the development team take their time and deliver the epic Mad Max game we have all been waiting for.