GameOver Interview - Red Faction (c) THQ / Volition

GameOver Interview - Red Faction (c) THQ / Volition

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GO: What kind of hardware will it take to run Red Faction smoothly? What resolutions are supported?

JT: We?re targeting a PII 400 with 64 megs of RAM and a Voodoo2 class video card as the minimum system requirements to run Red Faction. We?ll support several video resolutions on the PC: 640x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, and 1280 x 1024.

GO: High powered game engines are a hot commodity these days. Engines like Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, and Lithtech are popping up everywhere. Will we be seeing Geo-Mod powered games in the future? Some people have even speculated that Red Faction is little more than a showcase to sell engine licenses. How do you respond to something like that?

JT: The development team is focused entirely on making Red Faction the best gaming experience it can be right now. Future titles may indeed incorporate Geo-Mod technology, but at this time Volition is making sure this current effort is an exemplary one.

Though I haven?t heard much about the speculation that Red Faction is only a beefed up technology demo, it?s important to remember that we designed the engine for the game rather than design the game for the engine. We envisioned everything we wanted this title to feature and set about making it happen by developing this new engine, as opposed to coming up with the technology first and pasting together a lackluster adventure after we knew what constraints we had to work under. Everything you see in Red Faction is a product of ambition, not compromise.

GO: What kind of opposition can we expect to face in Red Faction? How much work has gone into making the enemies? Will there be location specific damage, like headshots, or multiple death animations? How about the AI? What kind of awareness do enemies have? Will stealth be a factor?

JT: The player will encounter a wide assortment of enemies in Red Faction. The Ultor Corporation has several classifications of guards in their employ, each equipped and trained in their various specialization. The mercenary army that is brought in to assist with stopping the rebellion offers quite a few different characters as well. There?s also a good deal of non-human opposition as well, such as robots or alien life, to make life difficult for gamers.

The AI in Red Faction is designed to maximize the action and keep the player immersed in the story. You can expect to see enemies using Geo-Mods of their own to try and take Parker out, as well as utilize cover and different weapons in the appropriate situation. For instance, the wall that players hide behind might get blasted to pieces by the turret a few yards away, or the groups of guards may wind up outflanking Parker if he advances too quickly. Enemies will also react realistically depending on how and where they are shot. Those hit in the legs, arm, head, or torso will flinch and spin accordingly, falling in a manner consistent with the impact power of the weapon.

GO: The debate about violence in computer games rages on and on, and first-person shooters always seem to attract the most attention. What do you think about the whole issue of violence and censorship? How realistic will the violence in Red Faction be? Will there be a lot of blood and gore? What rating will it have? Will there be any content control options?

JT: I think video games are going to face scrutiny for violent content for quite some time. Like any other aspect of the entertainment industry, there is a very wide and diverse audience that makes up the consumer population we are trying to reach. What may be appropriate content for some gamers certainly may not be appropriate for others, and exercising discretion in what titles you choose to buy is still the best measure for preventing unwanted exposure to violent content.

Red Faction will have a gore-toggle option for players and parents who would rather not deal with the blood in the game. The violence in Red Faction won?t be gratuitous - you won?t see characters clutching spilled intestines or jumping around in misery with bleeding stumps where their limbs used to be. Rather than go with an unrealistic or over-the-top presentation style that would detract from the game, we chose to make the action in Red Faction dramatic and reflective of the gravity and depth of the story. We are expecting to receive a ?Mature? rating from the ESRB.

GO: It wouldn?t be much of a shooter without things to shoot with. What implements of destruction are you putting in the hands of the player? Silenced weapons? Explosives? Will there be a limit to the number of weapons that can be carried? How did you decide on which weapons to include? Were there any weapons you really liked that didn?t make the cut?

JT: A lot of the weapons in Red Faction have their roots in conventional firearms, but there are several imaginative changes we?ve made that should delight the player; each weapon has both a standard firing mode and an additional alternate firing mode. Silenced weapons, high-powered assault rifles, and remote explosives are all included, as well as some nasty rocket based weapons that will really help the player clean house. We will limit ammunition storage but will allow players to carry as many weapons as they can pick up so the action stays brisk and balanced.

The weapons included in the game are the results of research and collaboration - when deciding what we would include in the arsenal we wrote up several ideas and everyone on the team got the opportunity to comment and provide feedback. From there, we decided on the best ways to implement these weapons and their functionality.

GO: We?ve heard a lot about the vehicles. How many vehicles are there in Red Faction? Are they all drivable? Will the vehicles have individual parts that can be damaged? Will they too be subject to warping and deformation? What kind of weapons will these vehicles be armed with? How complex will the control schemes be?

JT: There are numerous vehicles in Red Faction, all of which the player can take control of at will. For combat, players will see a submersible, fighter, APC, heavy driller, and jeep which all have their own set of armaments. The fighter, for example, has a forward mounted chain-gun and rockets while the submarine has torpedoes. Though the vehicles can be destroyed, we opted not to include damage effects on them (so you can fight with 100% combat effectiveness in the vehicle right up until the moment it?s destroyed). The control schemes should be intuitive and simple to use for anyone familiar with a FPS game, though each will have its own style of handling that will take some adjustment to get used to.

GO: What kinds of multiplayer modes will there be? Was multiplayer included in the original idea, or was this something that was added later? What options will there be for hosting games? How do terrain deformations effect multiplayer games?

JT: There will be specific multiplayer modes for each platform. PS2 owners will get split-screen action, where they can play in a typical deathmatch or Geo-Mod based scenarios where the object is to obstruct or halt the progress of your opponents rather than blast them. PC players will see on-line games with more players and will see popular modes like Capture the Flag available. Since Geo-Mods are likely to be heavily used in multiplayer games, the host will be able to set any number of game options, such as number of Geo-Mods, to best keep control of the action.

GO: Mods have become a big part of the Internet gaming community. Are you planning to release any editors or software development kits for Red Faction?

JT: All of us on the team recognize that mods can be a very fun and important part of a game?s success, and therefore Red Faction has been designed to be extremely mod-friendly. Ambitious players will really get a chance to flex their creative muscle and generate what I?m sure will be unique and exciting games with the technology. We?ll also be releasing our level editor so players will have access to some of the same development tools that we used.

GO: Finally, the question everyone really wants answered: when are we going to get our hands on this thing? Are you doing a demo? What final release date are you shooting for at this point?

JT: Players can expect to get their hands on Red Faction later this spring. The PS2 version of the game will come out first, and the extra month or so of PC development will be spent polishing up the on-line multiplayer features and optimizing gameplay for the different platform. Without committing to any firm date, I can say that eager FPS fans will probably see a playable demo around the beginning of April.

GO: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, James. Good luck finishing Red Faction, we can?t wait to see it in action. Care to leave us with any parting remarks?

JT: You?re very welcome. Go Red Sox!

(For more info on Red Faction check out the official web site at

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