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'Payload' (N-Gage) Developer Q&A

by Paul Reith on June 7, 2005 @ 2:31 a.m. PDT

Set in the distant future, players are members of courier teams hired to transport the precious crystalline mineral fuel source. As the players make their way to their goal, they will encounter gangs of marauders, and rival teams, attempting to steal their payload. Only successful runs will earn the cash and kudos required to progress through to the more challenging levels. We had a chat with Tantalus Interactive's CEO Tom Crago, and Producer John Szoke.

How does Payload differentiate itself from other combative racers?

John: It is completely different to anything you have played on N-Gage. The game has massive 3D open-style, race-anywhere worlds and….believe it or not, a story complete with cut scenes, multiple paths and really engaging characters.

Will aiming the weapons be convenient, independent, and not interfere with driving the vehicle?

Tom: Weapons play a big part in this game, and they range from heavily offensive to defensive, and everything in between. And really, weapons are just as much a part of the game as driving the vehicles. For example, in order to win a race, you might need to shoot another player who has control of the cell… If you can’t successfully shoot that player down, you can’t win, no matter how good a racer you are. Weapons and shooting accuracy are just that important. We’ve tried to make Payload more than just a Racer.

With the “all or nothing” style of Payload, is it meant to force the player into an all-out racing style, or will the offensive capabilities of the vehicle allow tactics other than outrun?

John: The game design and mission structures allow for a host of racing styles. Think ‘race-anywhere’ style gameplay mixed with death-match. Players can chase, lead the pack, camp and lie in wait, follow the paths or go off road. It’s up to the player to work out their own racing style needed for the different race types in the game.

Payload uses hover vehicles called skims. Does this mean control of the vehicles will be soft to give that floaty feeling?

Tom: The vehicles in Payload are called Skims, and the player will be exposed t o a whole different array of these crafts as they move through the game. They are floaty for sure, but the accelerate incredibly fast, and have a small turning circle for easy maneuverability. Different Skims will handle differently, and the player will need to learn all their nuances.

How much ammunition will be available throughout the race? Will a player need to think strategically when using their weapons throughout the race, or is it a blaster with plenty of ammo pickups around?

Tom: This is a secret we’re not quire ready to give away… All I’ll say is that players will need to be smart and strategic to a point, but at the end of the day the ability to act rapidly and decisively will separate the quick from the dead in a game of Payload.

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