Chair Entertainment was in town today to show off "Shadow Complex," the non-linear, "Metroid"-styled action adventure game based on the "Empire" series of books by Orson Scott Card. Phew, that's a lot to pack into one sentence!
While I spent about an hour delving into the massive game world, Donald Mustard (co-founder of Chair) finished by revealing some "Master Challenges" that the game has for the hardest of the hardcore. One of them was titled "Jason Bailey," an obvious reference to the "Justin Bailey" code from "Metroid" (which allowed you to play as Samus in a bathing suit). In "Shadow Complex," the "Jason Bailey" challenge is achieved by finishing the game in under 2 hours.
2 hours? But they said that the game takes 10-15 hours to finish! Ah, but you elite hackers out there know better, don't you? Every open-ended "Metroid"-style adventure has ways to "sequence-break" the game. For example, using a tricky wall-jump to access a room which unlocks an item you normally would get much later in the game. Mustard mentioned that there are ways to get the foam gun within 15 minutes of the beginning (whereas it would normally take several hours).
Instead of ignoring the potential for sequence-breaks, Chair has factored it into their development. Speed runs are a big way games like "Super Metroid" have remained in the public eye, and "Shadow Complex" is hoping to do the same thing, encouraging gamers to find the fastest way through the adventure...even if it's a route never intended by the developers! Sneaky!