After getting turned around in the rain on the way to check out Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell’s first XBLA game, Hybrid, I wandered into the initial presentation a few minutes late. And so, I missed creative director Jeremiah Slackza explain what sets Hybrid apart from other third-person shooters — which is nearly everything.
Ten minutes later I had my hands on an Xbox 360 controller and understood why Slackza looked at me like my head was on backwards when I asked what makes the game different from other XBLA shooters. For starters, player movement is mapped to buttons — a crucial aspect of Hybrid’s bizarre, yet shockingly accessible controls — leaving the right analog stick free to adjust the camera.
Slackza and his team at 5th Cell mitigated the “circle-strafing with shotguns” play-style of most online shooters by making movement more deliberate. The result is a game that plays like real-time, sped up, 3-on-3 Valkyria Chronicles. Which, to be clear, means it’s a lot of fun.
Gallery: Hybrid (GDC 2011)