Difference between revisions of "Interview With James Tsai - Daily Radar"

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A: Red Faction is the next logical step forward in FPS games. With its story, destructible environments, vehicular action, and everything else it has to offer we hope it will find its place next to other great titles in every gamer's collection.
A: Red Faction is the next logical step forward in FPS games. With its story, destructible environments, vehicular action, and everything else it has to offer we hope it will find its place next to other great titles in every gamer's collection.
[[Category:Archived RF1 Content]]

Latest revision as of 05:09, 1 July 2020

NOTE: This interview, entitled "Red Faction Developers Speak", was originally posted in 2001 on Daily Radar, which is no longer available.

Red Faction, due to debut simultaneously on PC and PS2 in 2001, will be the first FPS that allows you to detsroy not just chosen walls and objects, but anything that offends or, more likey, obstructs your progress. We talk to Assistant Producer James Tsai about the wonders of such 'Geo-Mod' technology, and much much more. We've also nabbed some exclusive PC shots - scroll down for the gallery.

Q: Firstly, could you please tell us about the plot and background to Red Faction? How heavily plot-based is the game?

A: Red Faction's plot is a compelling story about a young miner named Parker, whom the player assumes the role of throughout the game. Frustrated by the wretched living conditions he and his fellow workers must endure on their Mars colony and by the mysterious affliction decimating their ranks, he spearheads a revolution against his employers, the Ultor Corporation. This tale of rebellion will put Parker in a number of exciting and action-packed battles all over Mars and beyond. Players who enjoy a good story will not be disappointed by Red Faction, as it features very strong character development and several plot twists that will keep them intent upon every aspect of the game, not just the fighting.

Q: Red Faction started life as Descent 4. Why did you decide to drop this project and create an entirely new game after several months of work?

A: From the beginning, the team has had a vision of what kind of gameplay experience it wanted to deliver. We wanted a game that incorporated a number of different vehicles as well as ground-based fighting, real-time destructible geometry, a great story, and a wide variety of enemies. The game has not strayed from this vision, and everything we've done with Red Faction has moved the title in this direction.

Q: What can you tell us about Red Faction's game engine? What are its major features?

A: One of Red Faction's more innovative game engine features is the inclusion of real-time arbitrary destructible geometry. This means that our engine is capable of changing the structure of the level on the fly to react to weapons fire, explosions, and other sources of havoc and carnage. You don't have to hit a wall in a certain scripted spot with a rocket to blast a hole in it — nick the corner, and you'll blow it off. Hit the center, and you'll have a hole you can climb through. It's one way we're making the in-game world more realistic.

Something else FPS fans can look forward to is the inclusion of a variety of vehicles. Instead of just blasting bad guys on foot, players will explore underwater bases in submarines, carve out giant stone chunks with a mobile driller, pelt a sniper tower with chain-gun rounds from a fighter, and much more. These vehicles are all available on the same levels you will traverse on foot — you can either walk or drive through the tunnel and climbing in and out of vehicles is immediate, no level loads or special one-of-a-kind stages. Instead, gameplay sequences will be developed with vehicles in mind to make for smooth transitions between conventional and vehicular action.

Q: Where did the original ideas for Red Faction come from? What games were the development team inspired by and what games did you 'borrow' ideas from?

A: Many of the original concepts and ideas for Red Faction were laid out in the initial design phases. Later in development, a full time writer was added to the team to smooth out the story and to plan out how it would be told in the game. Each level has a lot of planning that goes into it, not just to make the geometry and design interesting but to also help it further to story as a whole.

While many of us are fans of other FPS games on the market, it is the ambition and vision of the team that is driving Red Faction. We don't want to copy the concepts or features of another game just because that title was successful — instead, you'll see a well-executed blend of innovation and fun that will make this game a blast.

Q: What sort of graphical prowess and intricate detail can we expect from Red Faction? Will both the console and PC versions of the game look the same or will allowances have to be made for one or the other?

A: Red Faction is being simultaneously developed for both PC and PS2 — it is definitely not going to be ported from one platform to another. There are independent control schemes for both console and PC which will both be fully customizable so players can be truly comfortable interacting with the world. Each version will be set up to maximize the experience for the gamer on each platform; PC players will be able to take advantage of high-resolutions on their video cards, for instance.

Q: Several developers have complained that they have found development for the PlayStation 2 very hard, with Hideo Kojima even criticising the console publicly. How difficult have you found it to code for PS2? Do you think Kojima was right with his statement?

A: As with any new platform, I think all developers are going to encounter some degree of difficulty as they ride the initial learning curve but become more familiar with the potential of the system as they continue to work with it. Volition is committed to delivering quality titles for the PlayStation 2, and with the benefit our collective experience from Summoner and our earlier PC development the team will continue to strive to do just that.

Q: What differences can we expect to see from the two different versions of the game? Are you planning to include online play in the PlayStation 2 version for when Sony finally get a network up and running?

A: One of the more apparent differences will be the multiplayer modes available for Red Faction. The split-screen PS2 version will feature some new Geo-Mod specific modes in addition to the standard deathmatch. The PC version will allow players to get on-line and duke it out with several players at once and will also offer the new gameplay that PS2 owners get. There are presently no plans for on-line PS2 network play in Red Faction.

Q: Half-Life was a revelation in first-person shooters because it not only had a superb multiplayer mode but an action-packed and gripping one-player option. What can we expect from the single-player mode in Red Faction?

A: The emphasis in Red Faction is on its single-player adventure. Players can expect to interact with NPCs from both sides of the rebellion as the plot unfolds before them. Parker will see an assortment of battlegrounds and foes as he fights alongside his fellow miners.

Q: Following on from the last question, what multiplayer modes can we expect from Red Faction? Will the usual assortment of capture the flag and tag options be included and are there are any new ideas included?

A: Depending on the platform, players will see different multiplayer modes. As previously discussed, both versions will feature Geo-Mod specific multiplayer action, such as races or survival modes that involve changing the geometry of the level. There will also be typical frag-fest modes that will help satisfy the need for more traditional multiplayer action.

Q: From Cerebral Bore to DY357-LX, weaponry will always be a big part of the first-person shooter. What are your plans for the various weapons of destruction that our hero will be wielding in Red Faction?

A: The arsenal in Red Faction demonstrates a good deal of imagination and foresight, but players familiar with conventional weapons will feel right at home. Advanced handguns, assault rifles, sub-machineguns, and heavy weaponry will all show considerable advancement over their modern day counterparts but are also as slick and easy to use as their predecessors. Players will also get their hands on other equipment, such as a riot prod and remote detonating charges, that they can use to help them dispatch the forces of Ultor.

Q: After the gore-filled action of Soldier Of Fortune, will we be seeing shattered torsos, severed limbs and bloody corpses around the levels of Red Faction?

A: Though Red Faction features some degree of graphic violence, players will not be blowing heads or limbs clean off their adversaries or stepping over grotesquely mutilated corpses. The fighting in Red Faction is dramatic and serves to convey the gravity of the story; we wanted to avoid the over-the-top visual distractions that would be harmful to the player's immersion in the game.

Q: Speaking of levels, Red Faction is set on Mars, what sort of intergalatic stages will we be seeing? Do any stand out in particular and how big are they?

A: Every level in Red Faction has a distinct feel that makes it unique but also works within the context of the story and game as a whole. They vary quite a bit in both size and overall feel, but players will always have a sense of direction and purpose within them. Parker will be fighting in Ultor's labs, medical areas, miner barracks, and offices as well as the landscape of Mars, to name a few locations.

Q: Daikatana recently showed that inadequate AI will ruin a good game. How many different characters will be in the world of Red Faction and what kinds of beings are they? What will the enemy AI be like?

A: Parker will encounter a variety of enemies during his struggles in the story. Ultor has several classifications of guards trained for different situations in addition to the wide range of support personnel and scientists they employ. If things get too troublesome for the big corporation, you may see them hire some outside help to try and take care of the rebellious miners as well. Mars might also have a surprise or two in store for the unwitting player.

Each of these many enemies will react to the player in logical, realistic manners as well. The secretary behind the desk may cower or run from your pistol, but don't expect the armored commander with the assault rifle to think of it as anything more than a peashooter. Players dependent on cover to get them through heated firefights may suddenly find themselves trapped in a crossfire between guards positioning themselves on his flank, or someone with explosives may choose to just blow the cover away altogether. A great AI system is something we hope will really contribute to the player's experience in Red Faction.

Q: In another leap away from first-person orthoxody, vehicles are available in Red Faction. What sort of vehicles are included? Will they be integral to the gameplay?

A: Vehicle use is one of the big features offered by Red Faction that I discussed before, and we're really excited about it. Players will be fighting in different environments, many of which will be best suited for certain vehicles, such as the submarine. Players will fly, drive, ride, and dive in several different craft and will enjoy the gameplay specifically designed for these vehicles.

Q: How complex is the computer AI in the game - will it encourage the use of tactics and puzzle solving, or will the game be a pure and simple shooter?

A: As mentioned earlier, the enemy AI in Red Faction will be quite extensive. Players will see their adversaries taking advantage of the game engine's features as much as they do. Parker can try to mow down his opponents, blow holes in walls and go around them, or lure them out and isolate them for easy kills - the enemies will react appropriately.

Q: Finally, with quality titles such as Half-Life, Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena already on the market, and new first-person shooters being released every day, what features will make Red Faction stand out from the crowd?

A: Red Faction is the next logical step forward in FPS games. With its story, destructible environments, vehicular action, and everything else it has to offer we hope it will find its place next to other great titles in every gamer's collection.