Jordan Black Releases Condemned 2: Developer Documentary Retrospective
Just Add Monsters yesterday released an extensive video on the 2007 horror game Condemned 2: Bloodshot. The documentary, created by indie creator Jordan Black, is a deep dive into all aspects of the game, both the development process and public reception. The methods employed by Monolith Studios in Condemned 2’s development not only made the game such a fantastic horror experience, but also can be seen in influencing the processes of other horror game developers.
For those unfamiliar with the Condemned series, the game is a first person survival horror from the ~7th gen era. It follows the story of Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent investigating serial killers, and mysterious and notorious “Serial Killer X,” who is a serial killer who serial kills other serial killers. Ethan is upset that his job is being disrupted, and so the first game is about him pursuing X during an outbreak of mass violence. Condemned 2: Bloodshot takes place almost a year after the first, where the strange violence continues, both in the population of the city and for Ethan himself.
The documentary, of course, largely focuses on the production of the sequel. While the original was generally critically acclaimed, Condemned 2: Bloodshot received a much more bipolar reception. Significant gameplay changes had occurred, which the documentary explores in depth. These subtle differences in mechanics made the sequel surprisingly different in feeling and execution. Changes of the first person and third person melee combat, new animation styles as well as the addition of gunfights, all are discussed in detail by the developers.
The mechanical differences developments are fascinating, but what was most compelling about Condemned 2: Bloodshot was the continuation of the story. The sequel had a much darker and grittier tone than the first. The developers discuss the changes made in style, as well as a ton of content that did not end up in the final game. Grotesque enemies cut, story arcs left untold, all kinds of interesting looks into the creative process of development.
And of course, some of the best parts are not of the Condemned game itself, but the people who created it. Monolith Games, according to the devs, “was one of the best studios to be a part of.” Discussing the massive difference made from a lack of crunch time is extremely insightful into the psychological effect game development can have on a person depending on the amount of pressure and work hours given. The documentary also has a handful of stories and anecdotes that illuminate the humanity of the creative process.
You can watch the Condemned 2 documentary above, or on Youtube by clicking here. And be sure to follow Jordan Black on Twitter by clicking here (they’ve also been featured on an Indie Spotlight for their amazing game, which you can read about here).