Hard Reset: Focused on Singleplayer, Suitably Old School (INTERVIEW)
PC gamers everywhere are keeping an eye on Hard Reset, the new shooter from developer Flying Wild Hog. Like everyone else, we wanted to find out as much as we could about the game, especially since it’s going to release next month, after just being announced recently.
To that end, we recently seized on a chance to chat with the CEO of Flying Wild Hog, Michal Szustak. We talked about the game, the story, mod tools, release date and a lot more. Here’s the interview we mentioned last week in its entirety.
GameFront: One of the first things that really jumps out at you about Hard Reset is the futuristic setting, and the ruin around you. How did you decide on that setting, and what sort of other media inspired you in the creation of it?
Michal Szustak: I think cyberpunk is one of the least explored themes in computer games and movies. I don’t know why, especially now, when you can hear so many complaints about greedy corporations putting our world into serious troubles. It’s always nice to build something around such a ‘disfavoured’ theme, because you don’t have to follow the current trends. So creating a cyberpunk world gives you a lot of freedom. Yes, there’s Deus Ex, but what else? All those modern shooters are about terrorists – after playing all those Call Of Duty games, I sometimes feel like I will open my fridge and a terrorist will pop-out to shoot me. Boring!
GF: In today’s gaming world, nearly every shooter has some sort of multiplayer option, whether it’s integral or just stapled on. Hard Reset doesn’t offer any multiplayer at all. What made you decide on a single player focus?
MS: Our entire team worked for two years to prepare the best possible single player experience. We could split our team and we could try adding multiplayer, but that would certainly affect the quality of our single player. Also, it’s rather unlikely that we would create a multiplayer mode that could successfully compete with games focused on multiplayer only. So what’s the point? We believe that by concentrating on a single goal – an old-school single-player experience we are sure we can deliver for the gamers’ satisfaction – is more important.
GF: Playing Hard Reset reminds me of shooters from a decade or so ago, when games like Doom and Quake dropped you into hordes of enemies and tasked you with gunning them all down. It also includes things like secrets behind destructible walls, no reloads, and other things that you don’t see much anymore. How did you make the decision to go in that direction and away from the nearly ‘on-rails’ style that most modern shooters seem to follow?
MS: I believe many players around world miss those old days and old games. Players are growing up, so there’s a big potential market in all those older gamers (and I’m one of those too). On the other hand all the younger players don’t know those classic games and Hard Reset gives them the opportunity to experience the old-school kind of games. I truly believe they will enjoy it! I also think there is too much of these ‘on-rails’ shooters on the market, so sooner or later players will grow tired and will crave something different.
GF: One interesting design decision you made was to only include the two weapons in the game, and to give both to the player from the start. The upgrade system allows them to transform those weapons into anything they want as they progress. It’s an elegant way to address the issue, and allowed you to make some cool weapon animations as the guns transform to fit the upgrades. How did that idea come about?
MS: It came from our artists. Most of the ideas behind Hard Reset came from our team members. Hard Reset wasn’t created in the typical, boring way, where you first create design documents – thousands of pages of useless files and then implement it almost literally under supervision of all-mighty producers. I believe that’s highly ineffective. We would rather experiment with many ideas coming from many people and then choose the option that gives us the most fun – just like in evolution. Same story with the guns. Some of our artists wanted to make this morphing gun to save time, but ironically this proved to be the harder way to do it! Seriously, to create all those animations and all the hidden parts – it was a challenge, but our team loves challenges. And then it just happened – we got two morphing guns and now it’s very comfortable to change weapons with only two keys and to select a firing mode with just 5 and not 10 keys. It also has this cyberpunk feeling!
GF: While we’re discussing weapons, another way Hard Reset differs from modern shooters is that it doesn’t require the player to reload. Just as in games like Unreal Tournament and Quake, you simply run over the ammo and it’s added to your total. There are no clips, just a pool of ammunition. Did you decide to go that route to fit with the setting, the classic feel of the game, or both?
MS: It’s hard to say, whether this ‘pool of ammunition’ is a part of our cyberpunk setting Classic shooters have a different pace than COD/MW-like games, where you have to take cover and shoot enemies form behind obstacles. In Doom or Painkiller you just run, strafe and jump like crazy to stay alive long enough to kill all those demon bastards, and you have to think – about your weapon choice, about your tactics – nowadays you just duck, hide or run away… Same story with health packs – I really don’t like auto regenerating health, it takes away the fun and makes the games dull so very often.