Interviews// Haze's Screen Writer, Rob Yescombe

Posted 23 Apr 2008 09:26 by
Games: Haze
SPOnG: Erm... was he always Derek 'Sizzlewood'? Because I'm sure I remember him being Derek 'Sizzlin'' Littlewood at one point...

Rob Yescombe: I change it. He doesn't like any of those names. I was pleased to hear the other day that his Mother rang him up and said, ?Hello, Sizzlewood?.

SPOnG: A lot of the time with FPSes it feels like you've got a multiplayer game with a single player campaign tacked on or vice versa. Do you feel that one or the other is the core experience of Haze?

Rob Yescombe: You know, recently we were looking back through the old notes ? hundreds and hundreds of pages of design documents that we've written and refined over the three years of development. The very first sheet from the very first meeting, the things we had on it were; four-player co-op; asymmetric combat, streaming ? no loading screens and just the word, 'story'. Which, you know, I had to expand on... (laughs). There are things that we've had to drop, things we've added on, things we've improved, but the thing that we wanted right at the beginning was that co-op experience and that multi-player experience.

We're not stupid. We know that our lifeblood is replayability ? making sure that there's a community of people online that enjoy playing together. The communal aspect of games is, most of the time, the most fun part. That's why the co-op isn't some short mission thing. It's the entire single-player campaign, no loading screens, you can sit down with your buddies through the whole thing without having to miss out anything ? as if you were playing by yourself.

SPOnG: So... replayability brings us to downloadable content...

Rob Yescombe: There will be some.

SPOnG: What form will it take?

Rob Yescombe: I don't know if we can talk about it yet... Some cool stuff... I guess it's fairly obvious that we can say there will be maps downloadable and, playing some of those the other day for the first time ? because the multi-player aspect - as the writer I'm not really involved with it past a certain point ? the downloadable maps are fucking cool.

The maps that come with the game are great but, of course, you're learning all the time while you're still playing and finishing those. By the time we've got those set and ready we can start work on the downloadable stuff and know exactly what's going to be amazing ? so all the best things are distilled into that.

SPOnG: In regular deathmatch, if one player makes another overdose and the player overdosing accidentally kills someone, who gets credited with the kill?

Rob Yescombe: When someone is overdosing in deathmatch their kills are credited to them, not the person that overdosed them.

SPOnG: And if you play as a Mantel Trooper in regular deathmatch, do other Mantel Troopers become highlighted by Nectar?

Rob Yescombe: Other Mantel troopers are highlighted if you're using Nectar in deathmatch (essentially the glow appears over any character that's a threat, so even in team games, other troopers who are currently overdosing will be highlighted, because they constitute a threat to you). Fact-o-rama!

SPOnG: How long do you expect the single-player campaign to take?

Rob Yescombe: If you were running as fast as you possibly could, about 10 hours. If you were slow, probably about 12, I would think.

SPOnG: I just dodged a really bad Tiffany reference... Anyway, the delay. If you look back at the original press release for Haze, it was slated for a Spring 2007 release. Why has it taken so long?

Rob Yescombe: I'll be honest. We lost the keys to the office, and we got locked out from Novemeber. And then, luckily, we knew a guy, who knew a guy who could jimmy the lock. We got in, and then we were like, 'shit, we'd better release this bad boy'.

(Pregnant pause).

Also... I mean, it's all typical stuff - we wanted to make sure the frame rate was rock solid and just to try and improve the experience. I mean, the fact of the matter is, Ubi could very easily have said to us, 'no, let's hit the Christmas market', and it would have been fine. But we have a reputation to protect, Ubi has a reputation to protect, and rather than putting out a good game, it's better to put out a great game, because that replayability, building that community, is what is going to energise the success of that game.

You can get a little splurge spend at Christmas, or you can build a brand and life long appreciation of this thing.
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Games: Haze

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