If there is one first person shooter that PlayStation 3 gamers can look forward to this holiday season it's Haze, and what better way to get gamers excited than all new details and re-confirmation that PS3 users can now call Haze their own? Here is PSU's interview with Rob Yescombe, screenwriter and developer at Free Radical. Enjoy!
PSU: A lot of people, press included, have been labeling Haze as a possible Halo killer. What are thoughts on this comparison and for you, how does Haze have the upper hand?
Rob Yescombe: Well, since we’re a PS3 exclusive, we’re not really in direct competition anyway. The truth is that we’re big fans of Halo, and we’re under no illusions about the fact that Halo is a juggernaut that will roll over most things. Whilst Haze has things in common, we’re doing things differently: we’ve got our unique asymmetric combat system, with different weapons sets and skill sets for each faction, so you’ll be choosing either Mantel or The Promise Hand based on the way that you like to play First Person Shooters. What’s more, on the narrative side, Halo seems to be about saving a planet, whereas Haze is about saving the soul of one man. We’re trying to tell a very personal story.
PSU: About exploration; will players be rewarded for putting in the extra time to explore the game's environments? Are there any hidden areas, or are the levels mostly linear?
Rob: Haze is linear, but we’ve tucked a few secrets away in there. It’s up to you guys to find them.
PSU: To what extent are the environments destructible? Will we be able to tear down a forest or collapse small buildings?
Rob: Ha! No, there’s no deforestation in Haze. But yes, you will be able to have a very noticeable effect on the environments.
PSU: What is the confirmed number of players supported for online multiplayer? Will offline multiplayer support bots?
Rob: 24 players in multiplayer, and 4 players in co-op. And yes, by popular demand, we’re bringing back Bots.
PSU: We all have heard that Haze will be supporting 4 player co-op. Will this be done via online, LAN, or can you have 4 players playing split-screen on one machine?
Rob: It’s two players per screen, but you can play over a LAN and online too, in any combination up to four players in the main campaign mode.
PSU: Many of our readers want to know if vehicles will be supported in multiplayer. If so, what vehicles will be available to Rebels, and which ones to Mantel?
Rob: Yes, absolutely. There are vehicles designed for both Mantel and The Promise Hand. I can’t reveal them all yet, but there will be Jeeps, Quad Bikes, and 4x4s. You’ll also be able to man the guns in the Dropships and Helicopters. Plus, we’ve got one very special vehicle designed specifically for one of the multiplayer maps.
PSU: What multiplayer modes will be available online and will players be able to customize their soldier for online play?
Rob: You won’t be able to customize the soldiers, because we want the distinction between the two sides to be as clear as possible in multiplayer. Mode-wise, we’re still holding some of that back as a surprise, but you can certainly expect all the games you’re used to – like Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. But we’re planning much more than that - we’re also doing the famed story-based multiplayer maps, where the events happening in the maps are closely involved with the single player narrative.
PSU: Which team (Mantel or Promised Hand) and multiplayer mode does Free Radical favor playing during their lunch breaks?
Rob: It really is a 50/50 split. If I’m in the mood to run and gun, I choose Mantel. But if I’m feeling sneaky, I’ll go with The Promise Hand.
PSU: How far along is development on Timesplitters 4? Are you still in pre-production stages?
Rob: Yup. What we have is an absolutely enormous list of ideas that needs to be whittled down to a point where they could actually fit into one game. So right now, we’re whittling to the max.
PSU: When can we plan to hear first details on Timesplitters 4?
Rob: Soon enough, my good man. But we haven’t set a date.
PSU: What is the official release date for Haze?
Rob: Exclusive on PS3 in late November 2007.
We'd like to thank Rob for the interview. Look out for our review of Haze very soon.