Dick Marcinko, or 'Demo Dick' to his friends, is regarded in some quarters as the closest thing America has to a real life Rambo. The former Navy SEAL is regarded as one of the most fearless combatants of the 1980s; a titan of the Cold War era. Little wonder, then, that Rebellion and Bethesda believe it is time to immortalise Dick in interactive form. The icing on the cake? Mickey Rourke himself will be voicing the video game version of the ex-soldier.
First spied more than three year's ago, the project was originally the work of another team, before Bethesda re-evaluated the project, and made crucial changes - making the title even more the embodiment of Marcinko himself. A veteran, who leads from the front, the game will see a younger Demo Dick thrust deep behind enemy lines in North Korea, and later Russia.
Played for the most from a first-person perspective, Rogue Warrior will also use a cover system as part of occasional third-person instances, with brutal kill moves provided by Marcinko himself. As we're taken around the game, Rebellion explain that they wanted to bring Dick's attitude and personality to life, so while stealth will play a part, when things cut loose (an alarm is triggered, prompting a frenzy of action) Dick will go in all guns blazing.
Senior producer Sean Griffiths is taking us around the game, and we're shown level four, a mission that finds Dick creeping around a secret facility and railroad bridge on the border of North Korea and Russia. Rourke swears bitterly as we make our way through the structure, taking out guards via a mix of quick shots and deadly kill moves. The SEALs are here in pursuit of some ballistic missiles (the game is set during the 80's "Star Wars" period), which Dick will eventually have to blow up in transit before they can be moved across the border.
The 80's theme is more than apparent in the geo-political premise, as it also is in certain aspects of the presentation. Dick, for example, sports a frankly insane pony tail, while the atmospheric music that reflects the pacing of the scene, the tension, wouldn't sound out of place in Commando. This is a no-nonsense, mature action game, and it certainly doesn't pull any punches - as demonstrated by Rourke's beyond-colourful language.
As well as impressive use of swearing, Marcinko's brutality is also brought to live through 25 highly creative kill moves, which can be triggered when a foe is caught unawares in close-quarters. These range from complex jujitsu-style throws and twists, to knifings, and disarmings. The player will also be able to use the environment to gain an upper hand, taking out lights to form a trap for naive guards just one example we were shown by Rebellion.
The plot will take us via North Korea and on into Russia, when Marcinko goes 'Rogue', taking matters into his own hands as the missile mystery hots up. Another level Giffiths describes to us sees our hero routing a missile base disguised as a palace.
The multiplayer modes also promise to be a cut above the usual, Rebellion placing considerable emphasis on this side of the game, offering up an initial six multiplayer maps for up to 16 players. The usual modes will be covered, we're assured, and yes - the kill moves will work in multiplayer as well.
Marcinko himself has apparently approved much of what is going into the game, advising on plot and tactics, which are in part inspired by the ex-SEAL's variety of Rogue Warrior books. Through the interactive medium (and a focus on 'knife play') Rebellion hope to deliver a real slice of Demo Dick's OTT, larger than life personality; the warrior having even aided on the script side of the game.
The in-game engine is of Rebellion's creation, although what we've seen so far looks attractive if not exceptional. Certainly the explosions are something of a treat, while the atmosphere is appropriately 'heavy'. No co-op mode will be offered, sadly, but given Bethesda's long-term approach to this military homage we're hopeful of good things to come.