Red Faction: Guerrilla

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition
Release Date: June 2, 2009 (US), June 5, 2009 (EU)

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'Red Faction Guerrilla' (ALL) Community Trip Developer Interview

by Rainier on May 14, 2009 @ 8:59 a.m. PDT

Volition, Inc.'s third-person shooter franchise will make its open-world, next-gen debut with Red Faction: Guerrilla. Set 50 years after the climactic events of the original Red Faction, this third-person open-world action-shooter will return to Mars and once again re-define the limits of destruction-based game-play.

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a 3rd-person, open-world action shooter set on Mars, 50 years after the events of the original Red Faction. Players will take the role of an insurgent fighter with the newly re-established Red Faction movement as they battle for liberation from the oppressive Earth Defense Force. Throughout their fight for freedom, players will carve their own path, wreaking havoc across the vast, open-world environment of Mars, from the desolate mining outpost of Parker to the gleaming EDF capital city of Eos. Utilizing improvised weapons, explosives and re-purposed mining equipment and vehicles, Red Faction: Guerrilla allows players to tear through fully destructible environments in an unforgiving Martian landscape swarming with EDF forces, Red Faction resistance fighters, and the downtrodden settlers caught in the cross-fire. Red Faction: Guerrilla will also feature a robust multiplayer component, including several modes focused on destruction-based gameplay.

All of the questions you see below came directly from Andy, Anthony and Ron. None were provided in advance, and none came from staff here at WorthPlaying. This is an interview by the fans, for the fans. It doesn't get any more direct than this.

WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank, and occupation!

Luke Schneider, and I'm the lead multiplayer designer for Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Anthony "D4RK_4NG3L" Smith: What's it like working on Red Faction? How many years have you dedicated to this, and how does it feel to see it come to fruition?

LS: I've worked on the game for over four years, so it's been a long time in coming. There was a long time in the project when we weren't sure if we had a game or just a tech demo. Even as late as last year, we had a good multiplayer game and an OK single-player game, and we just had to sort of look at it critically and find out where everything was and figure out what we needed to do to really take it to the next level. That's what the last four to five months of the project were really about. We could see the entire game and see where the holes were, and we just filled those in, and it all came together into something very awesome that I'm very proud of. I'm so happy to be working on the game that I don't want to stop anymore. The last four to five months of working on the game have been fantastic, and I want to keep working on the game and DLC and more updates and just see the game continue on for a long time.

Andy Ruyter: You kind of answered part of my question, but what kind of downloadable content do you guys have planned? New maps? More weapons? What kind of dedication are you guys going to put in toward the online multiplayer and the community with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in the future?

LS: We have playlist updating, so we'll continue to update the playlist as people play the game, send feedback, send in new playlist ideas, and continuously update those based on what people are playing and what people say and what they like. We'll continue to do that throughout the release of the game and for as long as we possibly can.

In addition to that, we're going to be updating the game with minor bug fixes or anything else that comes up based on the feedback that we've gotten already from the press based on the game. If people are requesting a few extra features based on what they've seen, we're considering those. We're also going to do some DLC. We're not talking specifics right now, but we are planning on supporting every aspect of the game, and that includes multiplayer, wrecking crew and single-player.

Ron Goff: I was curious about the amount of time that people will be able to put into the game. Are they going to hit a cap or a wall with XP? In some games, you hit the level cap pretty quick and then there isn't much more progression. Is that something that you plan on working on?

LS: Well, we have our XP system, which has 125 unlocks, and it'll take probably 1,000 games or so to hit the cap — that's my estimation, so it could take 800 or 600, depending on how good you are — it'll take a long time for people to play through the entire game and unlock everything. We have lots of Achievements that will take people a long time to get, especially in single-player. We have some that are very explorer style, so we have lots of long-term gameplay for the game. In terms of multiplayer, there are so many different ways to play the game, so many options that it's hard to predict how long people will continue to play it, but I think we'll have a very dedicated base, and they'll continue to play it just like they play Red Faction today on the PC. I think we'll see that for Red Faction: Guerrilla, that people will be very passionate about the game, and you just won't see any other game like this. If you want a Red Faction type of experience, you'll have to go to Red Faction. There won't be any other game like it.

RG: If I could just follow up on that, the multiplayer will have Trophies and Achievements that are separate and available for the game?

LS: Yes, for multiplayer, we have about 15 or so Achievements, including one that's actually tied to single-player, where you have to play with someone else who's finished the game and you've finished the game as well. That's sort of one of those viral Achievements where people are encouraged to play both aspects of the game.

We also have some other long-term incentives for the multiplayer, which are sort of these hidden challenges. You can see them on the screens now, but we're not really telling people what they are because we want to keep them hidden. You'll sort of see them revealed as you get closer to the mark that you need to do to get those challenges. We do have other ways of extending the life of the game and giving the player extra goals, but we have Achievements, we have these hidden challenges, and we have XP events that unlock. There is lots of incentive to keep playing the game, and we have so much depth with the included game, and we'll be supporting the game with additional updates. I hope that people continue playing the game for years and years to come.

AS: I have one question to ask about Achievements [on the PC], and then I have my next question. Are those Achievements just going to be in-game, or are any of them going to tie into Steam?

LS: As far as the PC Achievements go, I don't really know, to be honest. Obviously for the Xbox 360 and PS3, we have Achievements and Trophies, but I don't really know if we're doing anything like that for the PC. Sorry I can't answer in more detail.

AR: What has Volition done or have planned for competitive gameplay — i.e., gamebattles.com. Have you guys contacted them at all, or have you been in contact? At this point, do you guys have any tournaments or any online competitive play planned?

LS: I know there are some things in the works, but I don't know if they've been announced yet, so I'm not supposed to say. I know that we have been talking to competitive game people, and they want to do something with RF:G, but I'm not sure if it's been announced yet so I can't say any more details right now. We definitely want to support the competitive game aspect, and we have ways of doing that through our Options. We can add playlists for that sort of thing, so we want to support that long-term.

RG: That brings me to clan support. Is the game going to be able to team up with friends or clanmates to do clan matches or things like that?

LS: We don't have direct clan support, unfortunately, but we do have ways you can sort of distinguish your badge with colors and icons, so you can sort of say this is going to be our clan or our way of showing which clan we're associated with, but we don't have letters or anything that we can add to the start. We don't have tags.

You can join your friends. You can either join their game or get invited. We keep your parties throughout matchmaking, so you can either join your friends or you can actually join people who are just in the game. You can "party up" with people. That's the way we support playing with friends and keeping the community gaming aspect going.

AS: What was the biggest challenge that you encountered during the development process? What was the most fun challenge that you guys overcame as a team?

LS: The biggest challenge was really looking at the single-player game and trying to figure out where we need to improve it and taking it from something that was pretty good to something that's great. I think we did that just by evaluating everything we've done and just seeing everything we have in the game and figuring out the most efficient way and the best things about the game and just pushing those to the next level. I think that was the biggest challenge for the team — taking the single-player and making it up to the standard of a AAA game and making it the best it could possibly be. I think we succeeded way beyond what we expected to in that respect.

Post-production itself was an amazing experience. It was so much fun actually working on the game that I'd forgotten about 2008 and how much toil we had to go through. That was definitely the toughest part of the game for us, just taking it from something that wasn't really a game — it was just a tech demo — and making it a full game. For me personally, working on the beta was very tiring, and it was a trying experience for everyone on multiplayer. I mean, D.J., our multiplayer programmer here, he could probably tell you more about that, but just getting that beta to the level that it needed to be so much ahead of time of the full game was done was quite a challenge, I think.

AR: Was there ever a point when you thought that you'd never finish the game and it would just become a scrapped project at Volition? Did it feel like it was just too big and wasn't going to get done? Do you think there will be opportunities in the future to work with Xbox Live to have some "game with the developers" sessions?

LS: I'll answer your last question first. I've heard from some people that J Goldberg, our community manager, is already trying to organize that sort of "game with the developers" session. He's trying to set that stuff up through Microsoft. I know he's made the discussion, and I don't know if everything is going to completely go through, but I know that has been discussed at Volition.

In terms of the project and if we ever thought we weren't going to make it, there was a long time where there was just so much technology to build that it wasn't really a game, it was a tech demo. We had some solid shooting gameplay there, but after working on the game for about two years, there wasn't a whole lot to show. I'd say sometime in 2006, we were working on it a long time, and it wasn't even close to being a game. We expected it to finish at all times, so it was just a matter of whether we could pull it together to be the game that it turned out to be. There was some doubt of that even last year, but I think it worked out so great that it's beyond what our expectations were.

RG: Do you have any details of what will actually be going into the multiplayer demo?

LS: Sure. For the multiplayer demo (coming May 21st), we're going to be including two maps, which will be Warlords and Radial. Radial has been updated from the multiplayer beta, and Warlords is sort of a remake of a Red Faction 1 and Red Faction 2 level. We'll have one playlist, with just Damage Control. You'll be able to see the tutorial videos for the other modes, and you'll be able to learn a little about the game, see some of the stats. You'll have 15 unlocks that you can go through, which is sort of an accelerated unlock schedule. You'll see a bunch of the multiplayer, but you won't be able to play everything. We have nine weapons and five backpacks in the demo, so we're just giving players a taste of the game. It'll be live for two weeks, and then we'll shut it down when the full game comes out to sort of push people to go to the full experience, and I think people will want to go to the full experience at that point anyway.

AS: A lot of games have a limited number of maps, and I was wondering if you were going to open up any of the map editing to the enthusiast community or possibly is it going to be open for modding also? This is probably obviously only on the PC.

LS: For PC, I don't think there are any plans right now to release our editor. We just don't have anyone to turn it into a full, user-friendly project. We will be supporting the game with additional maps at some point, so we'll continue to add maps to the game, and hopefully that will fill the void and make sure that people have something to continue to play. It's not impossible that we'll release editing tools, but right now, I don't think that it's in the plans.

AS: There was a rumor or slated idea of having a collector's edition early on. The community has kind of been told that this has been scrapped. Is it a total loss, or is there any sort of developer commentary that will be included on a DVD or something?

LS: We'll definitely be doing expanded insight into the game through our community side. J has been very big about interviewing people, and he wants to put as much content on the site as we possibly can. In terms of extra content, I think the community side is the best bet. We're as bummed as everyone else was about the scrapping of the collector's edition because we worked on the game, and we want to see it and we want to play it. We're as bummed as everyone else, but I think it's just more of an economic decision that sort of reflects how collector's editions have been doing in retail.

AS: Since you guys are developers, I'm sure you deal with some nice hardware. The thing that disappoints me sometimes is that the 64-bit support and high memory support, even if the game was made on that type of system, the actual game ultimately doesn't run very well. I've heard there already was a small bug that there is already a workaround for, but I was wondering if you guys were specifically looking at going more toward 64-bit multiprocessors and more memory. How are you guys working on trying to support that?

LS: The answer to that question is, "I don't know."

AS: Sorry, I'm a PC gamer! The next question is more about me being a newb. I enjoyed the original Red Faction, and I enjoyed Red Faction 2, but I don't know a whole lot about the story. I enjoyed playing it more than the whole theories behind it. I also own Saints Row 2, and I couldn't help but notice that Ultor makes an appearance in both of them! I was wondering if there was some kind of cool backstory to tie the games together or if it's just a cool, evil corporation that you decided to keep.

LS: Well, I think that Ultor in Saints Row 1 is sort of an homage to Red Faction, and as they were building Saints Row 2, they were like, "We need an evil corporation that will be driving the city into darkness." So I think they just took Ultor. We know Ultor is evil because it's Ultor. Whether or not it ties into Red Faction is sort of up to the player's imagination, but obviously, Saints Row 2 is a little bit more over-the-top and goes in a slightly different direction. We're obviously more serious, but it's part of the Volition universe, and the Volition universe in general is about fun and fun in open-world games. Both games really embody that, but in terms of other parts of the style, they're definitely separate, but Ultor is just the Volition evil corporation.

AS: Is there anything else that you'd like to tell gamers, or is there a specific aspect of the game that might get missed?

LS: Well, I worked on the cheats, and I actually think those are very fun to use. You get those by doing some of the Achievements and Trophies. They're not the ones that are impossible. You won't actually know until you've unlocked them, which ones they are, but there are 11 cheats in the game that you can use and turn on. Once you turn them on, you can't get any more Achievements or save, but they're incredibly fun to use, and it just provides a new way to play the game. You can go around blowing up stuff and sending cars into buildings and just doing all sorts of stuff. You turn into sort of a superhero, more or less. It turns the game into something very unique and fun to play, so make sure after you finish the game that you go through and try the cheats.

Speaking of finishing the game, after you finish the game, you can go back and play all the guerrilla actions in the game, which I think is very cool. You can just go back and try these things, which are now harder because the EDF has progressed. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense in terms of story, but it just provides so much gameplay and really fills the world with things to do, and I think it's very cool.

AS: You'd mentioned before about helping out your new friend, who may be starting the game. Once you finish the game and you've built up your character and have these cool unlocks, do you get to use those to help your friend, or do you have to start at the same level that he is at, in terms of unlocks and technology?

LS: When helping out a friend, we don't carry over the single-player unlocks because single-player and multiplayer are sort of tracked separately so the XP system and the upgrades that you get are totally separate.


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