PSU Interview: Free Radical
Recently I had the chance to interview Free Radical's Rob Yescombe, screenwriter for next gen title HAZE for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. If you haven't heard of Free Radical Designs they are the studio behind awesome titles like Timesplitters and Second Sight.
So on with the interview:
About the Game
PSU: How does title "HAZE" play into the game?
Rob: Well, to be too specific would spoil a few things. But in broad strokes, a ‘haze’ implies something unclear – something obscured. In the heat of battle, it can be hard for a soldier to think clearly. Haze is also a military slang word, associated with initiation tests and ‘Code Reds’. That said, those definitions don’t necessarily imply the content of the game… We’re enjoying being very non-specific at the moment.
PSU: First person shooters are becoming more common on consoles, and are already in abundance on PC - what's different about Haze?
Rob: It’s early days, so in fact, at the moment we’re keen to show off all the FPS aspects that gamers are familiar with – and to show how we’ve improved them. Things like AI and level design are key to a top quality FPS, but so many games don’t give them the care and attention they need. Beyond that, you can look forward to all the physical and mental benefits that Nectar provides for Mantel’s private army... Vague enough for you?
PSU: What can you tell us about Jake Carpenter?
Rob: Jake is a young guy, a college graduate. He’s recent transfer from a conflict in Seoul, so he’s well versed in combat but he’s new to the South American war zone where this game is set. He’s pretty much the standard Mantel Trooper – a well-paid tough guy, obeying orders with a smile on his face.
PSU: Does Jake follow a fixed storyline, or is there scope to his mission?
Rob: The game is a visceral war story, told over a continuous three-day period. The plot is linear, but there will be some flexibility in how you tackle the objectives. It’s choc-a-block full of rich characters and some really dazzling set-pieces, but it’s not all explosions and gunfire – we think tat downtime is just as important in a dramatic experience. You’re definitely going to feel something for your comrades. Really, war isn’t horrifying because of the blood – it’s horrifying because of who’s bleeding. If you care about the people who die, your gaming experience will be richer. It will mean something.
PSU: The game takes place in South America I've read, what kinda terrain should we expect to see?
Rob: Well, rest assured, HAZE isn’t just a jungle shooter – you’ll be travelling from sea level through a huge range of environments up to the top of a mountain and beyond. I’m not allowed to tell you specifics yet, but you’ll know from TimeSplitters that we’re obsessed with providing plenty of variety in locations. You won’t be going to Egypt or a Space Port, but you sure as hell aren’t going to get bored.
PSU: Why is Jake fighting The Promise Hand, and who are they?
Rob: Well, The Promise Hand is a faction of guerrillas who have overthrown the government in the Boa region of South America. They’re lead by a vicious warlord and would-be dictator known as ‘Skin Coat’. Skin Coat earned his nickname by flaying the skins of POWs and fashioning the pieces into crude leather, from which he makes his clothes. He is an extremely dangerous man, and his soldiers are terrifyingly dedicated.
PSU: To what extent will destructible environments go in HAZE?
Rob: There will be many destructible elements throughout the game. Furthermore, we’re really focussing on a life-like appearance to the environment overall – the lighting, the textures, the sounds. When you step out of the Mantel dropship, it’s going to look like the real world.
PSU: What multiplayer modes should we expect to see in HAZE?
Rob: You’ll be able to play the main narrative campaign in four-player co-op, split-screen or online. And, what’s more, the multiplayer maps are going to blow everyone away – they’re objective based, missions that will support two full teams going head-to-head, ... (continued on next page)