Painkiller Hell & Damnation Interview - Behind Insanity

PlayStation Universe talks with Nordic Games and Farm 51 about its upcoming first-person shooter, Painkiller Hell & Damnation. 

Thanks for taking the time to talk with PSU. Could you first introduce yourself to our readers…

Wojciech: Hi! My name is Wojciech Pazdur, and I am the Project Lead at The Farm 51, the development studio of PKHD.

Reinhard: My name is Reinhard Pollice and I am the Producer at Nordic Games the publisher of Painkiller.

‘Pain,’ ‘Killer,’Hell,’ and ‘Damnation,’ that’s four very strong words in the game’s title that immediately evoke a feeling of fear. Is Painkiller: Hell & Damnation as scary as it sounds?

Wojciech: Not at all. Painkiller is a fantasy horror, packed with gore and killing, but everything here has a slightly twisted sense of humour, over the top weaponry and is all cobbled together in a truly far out setting.

The Painkiller franchise has been running since 2004 with numerous games and expansions. Does this latest iteration follow on from the storylines of any of its predecessor or is this a brand new narrative?

Wojciech: We've written a completely new story for Hell & Damnation, but this is a tale directly connected to certain events from the original game. Daniel is trapped somewhere between Hell and Purgatory and is being punished for his sins by having to encounter the same bad things over and over again. It gives us the opportunity to tell the story showing the same heroes and events in a reimagined way.

           

Gameplay looks very much like fast-paced, twitch-based, first-person shooters in the same mould as Quake and Unreal Tournament. Is that a fair judgement?

Wojciech: Fair and square. Thank you for this comparison. These titles, especially Quake, were the source of inspiration for the entire Painkiller universe.

The graphics on the PC version were praised by critics. Can you tell us a little about the artwork and the type of environments that we’ll be fighting across?

Wojciech: Back in 2004, Painkiller raised the bar with respect to the creation of environment graphics, by showing the incredibly detailed levels, each with completely unique textures, architecture, style, and mood. We got the best of these sceneries and thanks to modern technology, covered it with even greater details and effects. However the key to this great look lies in the general level of “licenced” insanity (By this I mean, the fact that you spend your time in Purgatory opens up a huge window of creativity so basically nothing is too insane), the character design and the variety of enemies and maps. You visit a ruined cemetery, then you move to an abandoned cathedral and suddenly you're pushed to a deserted opera house or a Victorian train station – and it all makes some twisted sense, as in Purgatory anything is possible

Some of the gameplay we’ve seen shows fast and frenetic shoot-outs with lots of monsters attacking you from multiple angles. Is it simply a case of blasting away, or do weapons and monsters have different strengths and weaknesses?

Wojciech: A bit of both; enemy types as well as Daniel’s (read: the player’s) arsenal become more powerful from map to map, and also the player’s skills are being upgraded with the Tarot card system, so you can (and sometimes you have to) play each level very differently. Every weapon has two shooting modes (one of them is always a bit over the top, like freezing bolts or flying saw blades) and there is also a special combo attack for each gun (like throwing a grenade in the air and shooting it with a wooden stake to make it fly further). When combining this with lightning fast movement (that’s right, I am looking at you, bunny-hopping) , there are multiple tactics to beat each map and you can also try out new approaches when replaying levels to receive special rewards.

We love a challenging big boss battle. Can you give you us a sneak peak at what we can expect from the tougher enemies in Painkiller?

Wojciech: First of all, even if you're fast and skilled and you know how to kill legions of demons, you should still be prepared for the big guys - and we are really talking about big here. Every boss has different weak points and fighting him will provide a huge challenge.. We wanted the boss ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again.
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