Sega is going to sit on this game 'til it hatches. We've seen screen shots, we have videos; and if anyone can give me an accurate count of times "black and white and red all over" has been used to describe MadWorld, I'll send you a cookie.
But nobody besides PR reps is allowed to touch the freaking game. Lucky for me, I know one of these PR reps - Mabel Chung gave me my second job as a tester at Sega way back in the day. She might not cut me any breaks with the no-hands-on rule, but she will give me a reasonable explanation (which you have to click the jump to hear):
"They haven't really gotten the motion controls down yet," Mabel says. Sega doesn't want people to get attached before they finalise the controls; otherwise sassy journalists like me are liable to start kicking around worlds like "unintuitive" and "flailing."
It didn't look to me like Mabel was doing too much flailing as she took me on a guided tour of two different levels. The worst I saw was a part where she had to frantically drum with the Nunchuck and Wiimote to get in as many hits in as she could against one enemy for a point bonus. While doing that, she zipped through the whole spiel about the Death Watch plot and the logic behind killing people in as elaborate a way as you can to rack up points and progress to boss fights. "There's a story, too," she says. "But we don't want to give too much away."
Mabel's main concern is people are going to get bored of MadWorld before playing the game. Sure, it looks incredibly dynamic (not going to make a "black and white and red all over" joke, sorry); but with Sega sitting so firmly on all other relevant details (and on hands-on privileges), many potential fans are just going to write it off as a senseless violence fest.
And to some extent, that's the appeal. Mabel flung a guy into a cooling fan and then javelined somebody in the forehead with a sign post to trigger "Bloodbath" mode, which presented the Blood Press challenge. A giant spiked panel lowered from the ceiling and Mabel had only so many seconds to get as many people beneath it as she could before the panel smashed down, skewering all beneath in a wash of scarlet (Blood Press, get it?).
The point of all this, she tells me, is to rack up points so you can get through levels more quickly and see more of the world. There are five cities in the game and each city is made up of several areas (each one being its own level). The action-y ones are where you want to do the most exploring, so you can find all the neat ways to kill people (instead of boring ol' beat downs); and that second level she got around to showing me was a racing challenge.
At least, I think it was supposed to be racing. Our character was tearing down a highway on a boss-looking motorcycle, dodging barrels and debris that seemed to come from nowhere.
"[This level]isn't finished, yet. There'll be enemies here that you also have to kill... but it's different, because you have to run them over." Mabel came to the end of the level where a tornado-making boss sprung a couple of cyclones at her and I had to step aside to let some other journo get a turn.
Mable waved goodbye with the Wiimote and I noticed her character seemed to spontaneously punch the nearest enemy.
Hm. Maybe there's hope for those motion controls, yet. And maybe, just maybe, the guys at TGS will get their hands on this game...