Interview with Anoop Shekar - Console Domain

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NOTE: This interview was originally posted on or about 20 Feb, 2001 by Jayne Bowen on Console Domain, which is no longer available.

Console Domain was lucky enough to meet up with THQ and some of Volition's developers to have a look at Red Faction; the company's upcoming First Person Shoot 'em up for the PlayStation2. While there we got to play an exclusive demo of the game and spoke in person to Volition's Anoop Shekar about the title's Geo Mod technology (designed to allow players the freedom to destroy their surroundings at will) and the developer's inspiration for the game.

CD: Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the plot of Red Faction?

AS: The general concept of having an oppressive regime and the rebellion that follows -that's the very basic idea. Also the art in the game is great, which is on the walls as you play through the levels. We used that communist propaganda art style, mainly because we like it and the twist on the normal use of propaganda art.

CD: What's going to set Red Faction apart from other FPSs on consoles?

AS: The Geo Mod technology is probably the biggest thing other than that there's a real strong story based plot. The AI is going to be very intelligent and behave in ways that you don't generally see in most FPSs. The physics are very well modelled, very realistic and there's some great level design.

CD: What initially inspired you to create the Geo Mod technology?

AS: It's been every gamers dream, since games have begun, to destroy the environment they're in at will and so when we came to ideas for part of our next game, the same thing kept coming up - 'What about destroyable environments?' So we decided to do it and started working on the technology.

CD: Will the Geo Mod technology be an integral part of game play? For example, will you be able to blow through the walls to uncover Secret areas?

AS: Most certainly. There'll be clues where you can use the Geo Mod technology and find areas that you wouldn't normally be able to find. Like you wouldn't be able to open them up without being able to blow a hole in the floor for example.

CD: What problems did you come up against when creating the game?

AS: Being able to destroy anything and everything made it very difficult. So we had to make decisions about certain objects that couldn't be destroyed. Anything in the game that is metal is indestructible; concrete and rock you can actually destroy. That put down some limitations that helped us design the levels and from there we were able to move forward. So that kind of challenge is definitely one of the big things. One of the other things was to make gameplay that wasn't repetitive, so a lot of the game is broken up with sections where you have to go undercover and actually sneak around and not kill everything as soon as you see it.

CD: Why do you think the FPS is making more of an impact on consoles at the moment?

AS: People were wary of making and playing them, mainly because of the interface of the console. I think as long as you design your game to take advantage of the interface that you have with the controller then you can make the game really fun, especially if you make it so that it's not constantly killing action, but to be strategic about it. I think Goldeneye was probably the first game to really take advantage of that and we've definitely incorporated a lot of ideas from Goldeneye and other console FPSs. In the same way, people will hopefully take cues from us and continue to make other console FPSs.

CD: Will we be seeing more of Red Faction in the future?

AS: If Red Faction does well, which we're hoping it will, then we'll definitely see sequels or add-ons of some kind.