Upcoming British publisher Digital Jesters had both a large and loud stand within GameStars Live, and also a more relaxed meeting room offering one-to-one demonstrations of their forthcoming titles, as part of the European Games Network tradeshow.


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Bet on Soldier looks as though it'll be one of the biggest titles from Digital Jesters when it's released next May, and Yann Tambellini of development company Kylotonn revealed how the game requires you to place monetary wagers on the various soldiers in an effort to make a profit from their successful kills, which in turn gives you funds to buy better weapons and armour before each mission starts.

Fourteen missions are planned for single player mode, each with a different objective, and although they'll feature a storyline they won't be linear - even two different endings are planned based on earlier outcomes. Online play will allow up to 32 players, with the "BoS mode" seeing gamers split in to two teams and using Bet Tickets to bet on the outcomes of each match.


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Impressively each and every piece of bodyarmour is destructable so you can shoot away at arm and leg protectors, or even blow off the helmet, leaving the opposition highly vulnerable to your gunfire. If you can make enough money from successful bets then an engineer can be bought, who will follow you around and fix your armour, giving you more chance to survive the firefights, and it's only armour which can protect your health - there's no magic power-ups or health restoration available.

Work still to be done on the title during the remaining eight months of development include more guns, of which there's expected to be 15 weapons at the start, and upgradeable in some 25 different ways. A hugely powerful gun is also planned for gamers who manage to win all of their bets and bank a huge amount of money, and will see them coming up against strong Mech Warriors which will be both big and powerful, and much harder to defeat.


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The follow-up to TrackMania was also being demonstrated and looks to have built on a lot of the criticisms raised from the original, whilst still keeping the "fun" aspect at the core of the gameplay. Florent Castelnerac of developer Nadeo explained how the aim behind Track Mania Sunrise is to make the game much more immersive, and the main way of doing this will be by offering a number of hugely improved track designs, and also the ability to include objects such as personalised advert signs right inside the game.

Improvements to the built-in track editor were also demonstrated, and full control of the editor using the mouse instead of relying on just the keyboard is hoped to be fully implemented before the Spring 2005 release, along with a number of improvements to the network side of the game.


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It's hoped that the community will be involved to an even greater degree than Trackmania currently allows, and that Sunrise will make it possible for every game online to potentially be different due to changes in the tracks and particular settings which can be tweaked such as making the cars handle more like they would in a game like Gran Turismo if the track designer wanted them to feel that way.

Details of Freedom Force vs the Third Reich were also available, although as yet there's no build to be seen as it's in such an early stage of development having only been signed by Digital Jesters in the past few weeks.


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Freedom Force already has quite a large fan community built up around it since the original title published by EA a couple of years ago, and seems likely to appeal to fans of both tactical RPG's and comic books, of which the game relies heavily on it's 1960's style cheesy storyline.

Related articles:
London 2004: First impressions from day 1
GamesPaper Direct - photos from the show floor
London 2004: Full coverage of ECTS, EGN and GameStars Live
London 2004: ECTS, EGN and GameStars Live show previews