E3 09: First peek at The Saboteur

The Saboteur looks hot from what we’ve seen this afternoon. Pandemic’s Tom French took the stage today at Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater during EA’s press conference to show off their latest in a quick real-time demo for attendees.

The city setting, a stylized Nazi-occupied Paris, was mostly devoid of color, with red and yellow accents from things like signs and light sources. The 1940’s vibe didn’t necessarily come through in the visuals at first, but as hero Sean Devlin scales more some buildings and makes his way to a war ground, the style begins to shine through. We were told that this is part of the Will to Fight gameplay system, where Paris citizens’ will to fight back against oppression is reflected in the color of the city. When the citizens are inspired, black and white turns to color.

The Saboteur is an open-world game with a vertical focus. Players can climb anywhere in the city — even to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We saw Sean climb to the top of one building where he used a sniper rifle to fire on a Nazi jeep that had planted explosives tucked away behind one of the wheels. Naturally, he hits the jeep perfectly, causing it to explode, bringing attention to his position on top of a building overlooking a Nazi camp.


Sean turns around to see a Nazi soldier with a gun to the back of him. The solider is taken out by the butt of his sniper rifle, but more soldiers follow. Sean makes a break for it and heads to a Nazi installation where he sneaks in to plant charges for an even bigger explosion. Again, when the explosion happens, the action switches from stealth to more of a cover-taking action game. This follows the game’s pacing, which French calls Quiet In, Loud Out, meaning sneaking in, making a fuss, and running back out, guns a-blazing.

After escaping from another Nazi confrontation, we like how Sean manages to flee to one of his favorite hiding places, a brothel called SexSell, in the Red Light district. He ducks inside, and after time passes, he exits the building while zipping up his fly. 

The Saboteur’s story is still mostly under wraps, but we do know that Sean is a mechanic that is out for revenge, working to take down his enemies. He gets help from the French Resistance and the British intelligence, but also uses his smarts with weapons and explosives. He’s a bad ass that likes to blow things up.

We’re looking forward to seeing more of The Saboteur this week, giving us a better look at this Holiday 2009 release. For now, check out the screenshots below the jump, which actually feature a little bare-chest action.


Dale North