Painkiller Hell & Damnation Interview - Behind Insanity

(continued from previous page) ...wanted the boss fights to feel truly epic in Painkiller, and spiced them up with some puzzle elements. I personally love the design of bosses in Painkiller, they're probably the biggest, baddest mofos you’ve ever seen in first person shooters, and on top of that, who wouldn't like to kill the Grim Reaper himself?

             

Can we upgrade or power-up weapons?

Wojciech: Painkiller has a special power-up system based on Black Tarot cards, which can be obtained by completing different challenges throughout the game. They upgrade the player and also the weapons in different ways, like increasing your firepower or reloading time. They also give you special movement abilities, enabling bullet-time or turning into a demon. Before each level you can configure a custom set of cards to give you permanent boosts of skills and also triggerable power-ups.

We understand there’s a co-op mode. Can two players play through story mode? Also, are there any co-op modes outside of the main campaign?

Reinhard: Yes and Yes! First there is a story coop mode that can be played both online and on one console as split screen coop mode. We have created a co-op experience that is as fantastic as the single player mode even down to the point where all cut scenes are included in coop for both players to view . In the multiplayer mode we have a Survival mode that is for 4 players. Here you can fight hordes of enemies together.

What challenges have you faced bringing Painkiller: Hell & Damnation to console? Is this a straight port of the PC version which was out last year or have you made any changes for its console debut?

Wojciech: From a strictly technical point of view, as always we had to fight with memory limitations and some other performance capabilities. But fortunately we had great technology (Unreal Engine) that is capable of moving content from one platform to another without sacrificing quality. The greater and also more interesting challenge, was to tweak up controls and game pacing (including AI behaviours) to make it enjoyable on consoles. We were playing all prototypes on a gamepad from the very beginning of development to make sure that we were not disjoining the PC from the console experience and we know that even now many players are using a pad to play the PC version as they find it more comfortable.

Reinhard: It’s not a straight port. At the beginning of development it was clear we would also aim for consoles and therefore we organized content creation in a way that it also feels like a balanced experience on console. We paid respect to that in the field of controls, general gameplay, difficulty, enemy AI and game progression. In addition, we polished a lot of small details more toward consoles and even did some new and exclusive console unlockables. Furthermore, there is a unique map for every platform (i.e. we have one exclusive map for PS3, one for X360, and one for PC).

         

Following the much-publicised Connecticut school massacre and how some media channels have linked it to the fact that Adam Lanza liked to play Call Of Duty, where do you stand on the whole violence in videogame debate? Do you think that developers have a responsibility in society to tone down the violence in their videogames?

This is a very difficult question, and definitely one which could spark off a totally separate interview on this topic alone. The question raised very good internal discussions on both ends so we will provide you with a somewhat collective answer here:

In general, society has a big desire for explanations. The simpler these explanations are, the easier it is for people to use them to make political statementsand propaganda. In our opinion it is very dangerous to draw these kinds of “conclusions” (ie that every FPS-game/gamer is a potential killer) out of a gut-reaction and not based on empirical data and knowledge. We read hundreds of articles (by serious and well-respected media) and studies on this topic, and there is no statistically significant connection between these terrible acts of violence and gaming/gamers.

What’s your view about videogames becoming solely available via digital download in the future? Do you think the days of being able to down to your ... (continued on next page)

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