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Pandemic's Derek Proud on Destroy All Humans 2

CNET.com.au sister site GameSpot AU talks to Pandemic's Derek Proud to check out exactly how everyone's favourite anal-probing alien -- Crypto 137 -- plans to take on the Russkies in Destroy All Humans 2.

Crypto is back in Destroy All Humans 2.
Destroy All Humans was an unexpected hit last year thanks to its off-beat humour and earnest B-movie style. The game -- developed in Pandemic's Brisbane, Australia, studios -- hit the top of the charts in both the US and Europe, which meant that a sequel was practically a given. Pandemic's Production Coordinator Derek Proud says fans of the original should expect more of the same humour in Destroy All Humans 2: Make Love Not War. In fact, Proud says gamers should generally expect more of everything.

"After the first Destroy All Humans, everybody said that they wanted a longer game (for the sequel)," Proud says. "This game -- depending on how you play it -- is anywhere between one and a half to two times the size of the first. We were really conscious to make the game not only longer and have more missions, but to have a lot more side missions and make them really interesting."

Destroy All Humans 2 is set in the swinging '60s, and at the start sees Crypto 137 living it up as President of the United States. His sweet new life soon takes a tumble, however, after the Russians attack the Furon mothership and attempt to assassinate Crypto himself. Crypto then sets off on a global jaunt to try and find out who his attackers were -- and will wreak havoc in fictionalised locales based on real-world places like San Francisco (Bay City in the game), London (Albion), Tokyo (Takashima) and Russia. Crypto will also get to go to a secret fifth location, which Pandemic is keeping secret until the game's launch.

Proud said that while Destroy All Humans derived much of its tongue-in-cheek references from 1950s sci-fi movies, the sequel will take plenty of jabs at hippie culture and the Cold War. "It's all about peace and love, and also the Cold War, with Russia now the enemy," Proud said. "There's a lot more stuff that we can draw upon humour-wise. The movies that were prevalent in the 1950s that we drew a lot from for the first Destroy All Humans were the sci-fi films. In the '60s we've kinda moved a little bit to the spy movie, and drawn a lot of our inspiration from there."

The 80-20 split between ground and saucer flying levels found in the first game is roughly the same for the sequel, Proud says, although fans of Crypto's UFO will be happy to hear that some new functionality has been added, including one new weapon and the ability to cloak. On the ground, Crypto will now get eight weapons to choose from (up from four in the first game), including the gravity bending Dislocator, the monster-summoning Burrow Beast and the aptly named Meteor Strike.

Side missions will also play a bigger part in Destroy All Humans 2. Proud said the team at Pandemic has littered Crypto's new adventures with plenty of diversions aside from the main storyline, including "Ruin A Life" missions where Crypto has to deliberately destroy some poor human's idyllic lifestyle, and "UFO Cult" missions where Crypto has to plant the seeds for a human cult based on a Furon god.

"For example, in one side mission, Pox wants to create an antenna to call the home world to send another mothership," Proud said. "You need to go to various locales in Bay City to collect all the ingredients for a UFO transmitter. Once you have all the ingredients assembled, you then need to take the antenna using the UFO up to the top of the highest point of the invasion site. Then while Pox calls home, there's a great conversation that happens between him and the bureaucrats -- all that time you have to defend the tower while in the saucer from attacks by the military. And that's just a side mission -- that's not even one of our main missions."

Humour will once again play a large part in Crypto's adventures. More than 140,000 lines of dialogue were recorded for the Destroy All Humans 2, and while Proud is happy with the balance between laughs and gameplay, it's a mix he admits is difficult to get right.

"It's something that you can never get right because everyone wants something different," he said. "In our play testing sessions, there were people who just skipped through all the conversation mini-games because it wasn't what they wanted to do. It was really important for us to give a way to skip those things in case people have no interest in the humour or storyline and just wanted to blow stuff up. It's a delicate balance, and it's not one that I'm certain we've got right or anyone will ever get right."