Haze is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Free Radical Design and published by Ubisoft exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It has a serious tone, incorporating themes such as oppression and drug abuse. This is unlike Free Radical's TimeSplitters series which provided a more comical and laid-back gaming experience. Haze was one of the most highly anticipated and hyped Playstation 3 games of the first half of 2008. It was released worldwide in May 2008. A demo for Haze was released on the PlayStation Network on May 6, 2008.
The game revolves around Mantel Global Industries, a multinational corporation with bio-medical expertise. This has led to the development of Nova-Keto-Thyrazine - also called Nectar, a "nutritional supplement" that enables soldiers to fight harder and smarter, but also induces a hallucinogenic effect, where soldiers are no longer cognizant of the real battlefield around them, instead viewing an idyllic, painless environment.
The game takes place over a three day period as Mantel battles a group of rebels known as "The Promise Hand" which is led by Gabriel "Skin Coat" Merino, with the player assuming the role of Shane Carpenter, a 25 year old Mantel soldier. After Carpenter witnesses the effect Nectar is having on his fellow soldiers, and after a twist in the storyline Shane then turns rogue and teams up with The Promise Hand to take on Mantel.
In the game, soldiers make use of Nectar, a performance-enhancing pharmaceutical drug that grants the user enhanced speed, accuracy and strength. Mantel uses this drug to control the minds of its soldiers. When administered, Nectar can control--among other things-- what a soldier sees, similar to the effects of a hallucinogenic drug. It makes enemies stand out as bright orange silhouettes against the darker grey background. Nectar also drowns out the surrounding images of death and destruction (for instance, bodies will vanish ). Nectar also reduces recoil, and allows the player to zoom in further while scoped. An overdose of Nectar is dangerous, with loss of mental control and death being possible side-effects. A Mantel Soldier experiencing an overdose is shown by a change in their armor, changing in color from yellow to red.
As revealed in an E³ 2007 trailer, Rebel soldiers may go in to a "Play Dead" state just before they are killed, allowing them to regenerate health and disappear from the Mantel soldiers' sight, since they can't see dead people while on Nectar. In addition, they have been given the capability to exploit Mantel's dependence on Nectar by attacking the Nectar injector, extracting Nectar to use on throwing knives from dead Mantel troopers and using the injector to create Nectar grenades. These Nectar-enhanced weapons will cause a Mantel trooper to overdose on Nectar, as will attacking the Nectar injector. Later in the game players also encounter special forces and overdosed soldiers that can not be affected by Nectar-based weaponry. They can also steal a Mantel trooper's gun, dodge, and bury grenades in the ground as mines.