Volition returns to the red planet with Red Faction: Guerilla

For it’s third Red Faction game, THQ and developer Volition have decided to bring the action to the surface and create a third-person perspective, sci-fi-driven action game. A playable demo of the game was on display at THQ’s recent Editor’s Day even and Volition’s Ishmael Vicens, associate producer of Red Faction: Guerilla, was on hand to talk about the new PlayStation 3 game, which is currently slated to ship in the very wide window of Fiscal Year 2009.

PSU: How is this game connected to the original Mars first-person shooter?

Ishmael Vicens: We’ve returned to Mars 50 years after the events of the first game. The Earth Defense Force, which swooped in and saved the miners in the original game, never left Mars. They’ve privatized the planet and the miners have once again lost their freedom. Upset and frustrated, they call up the Red Faction name to rise up once again and fight for their independence. There are a lot of thematic callbacks to the original game in this story.

PSU: Why did you abandon the first-person shooter perspective for this third game?

Vicens: The game is now a third-person perspective open world game set above ground. We’ve focused on physics-based and stress-based destruction. Everything in the game can be destroyed. And the way in which buildings crumble is based on the materials with which they were built. This adds a strategy element to destroying structures, since you can target a particular floor of a building and take that out. It’s all based on where the impact originates and how that structure was erected.

PSU: So these aren’t scripted events but dynamic happenings in the game world?

Vicens: Yes. This part of the gameplay is completely unique. If you have the tools (weapons) to do it, you can go wherever you want. No wall or structure will stand in your way. You simply go through it. You can knock out an entire floor with guys above you in the middle of a battle and then pulverize them. There’s no scripting. They’ll literally fall as the floor crumbles.

PSU: Can you talk about the setting of this desert town demo you’re showing?

Vicens: This is the town of Dust and the demo takes place during an early part of the game. Dust is a corporate mining town on the frontier. It’s essentially a patchwork of buildings. We’ve built in random unscripted events that will occur on their own that can impact the game. A convoy will occasionally drive through town. A raid might happen while you’re there and it’s your choice whether to take part in it or just move on.

PSU: How big is this new Red Faction?

Vicens: The game world is huge. There are dozens of zones to explore. We’re only showing part of one zone in the demo. All of the action takes place on the terraformed surface in this game. We explored underground in the previous games and to really show off the destruction of this engine it was best to have all of the action on the surface.

PSU: What kind of vehicles are in the game?

Vicens: Some of the vehicles we’re showing are pick-up trucks, EDF scout vehicles, heavy APCs. Later in the game you’ll get to drive tanks. Although the enemy will have flying vehicles, the player will be limited to on-ground combat. The walkers are fun to play.

PSU: What weapons are you showing now?

Vicens: The mining charges are just brutal tools of war because you can use them to blow up anything. There are also rocket launchers, assault rifles, and the trusty axe that every miner has. You can take any weapon from dead EDF soldiers lying around the battlefield, so that opens up new, more advanced weapons.

PSU: What separates Red Faction: Guerilla from not only the first games, but from other titles out there?

Vicens: We’ve really pushed the envelope and created a new expectation with this gameplay. We’ve raised the bar for interactivity. This isn’t like other games where you might be able to break through a fence. If you see something in this game, you can go through it. We allow the player to carve out his own path in the game world. You’re literally changing the game world as you play. By the time you’ve finished the game, the entire world has changed physically. When you’ve blown up a building it remains shattered 20 hours later in the game when you come back to it.

PSU: What type of multiplayer will gamers get in Red Faction?

Vicens: There will be multiplayer. Some will be traditional gameplay and we’ll have specific multiplayer for the destructive capabilities of the engine. Gamers will no longer be able to hide behind a wall or memorize a map. The map will completely change over the course of a battle. If there’s a sniper spot in the game, you can collapse that entire building and take it away from the enemy.

PSU: What impact does the in-game destruction have on multiplayer?

Vicens: One map we have has two tiers, which normally would require going up stairs. But in our game, you can simply collapse a structure and go in and immediately attack the enemy. It’s all dynamic gameplay. We’re not forcing players to do anything. They can literally do whatever they want to the game world. You can play the same map 50 times and it will never be the same game. Not only will it look completely different half-way through, but the experience will be unique each time based on the destruction of both sides.

We’d like to thank Ishmael Vicens again for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay tuned to PSU.com for more information on Red Faction: Guerilla.