Heretic 2 Interview

Recently one of our writers, Jason Hsu, had the pleasure of engaging in an interview with three members of Raven Software regarding their upcoming title, Heretic 2. The interview was conducted with Jon Zuk (Lead Designer on Heretic), Jeremy Statz (Random Design Person), and Jake (Asistant Programming Lead).


1.  How much of the code from the Quake 2 engine is edited to fit Heretic 2?

[Jake] I don't think there's any part of it that we haven't touched.

What changes were made to the engine in terms of graphics?

[Jake] Well we added support for fog, added alpha, we added skeleton support, and lots of other goodies like that. Oh, and a sprite based particle system. We also moved all the effects to a special client effects dll, so the server wouldn't have to do it all, individual machines do it themselves now. This frees up the main server to do other stuff.

So what made you crazy guys at Raven go back to the Heretic name instead of just naming it Hexen 3?

[Jake] Because the serpent riders story is played out now. All three of them are defeated. We decided to go back to the hero of Heretic and see what he's been doing.

Is this based after the Hexen series or before?

[Jake] After..

So Corvus has to be around 300 or so... sheesh elves, go figure

[Jake] Actually that's a good question. I guess he is at that ! His mother must be pretty pissed he didn't make it home for dinner then eh ?

Probably... mine would if I went out and got banished from earth.. anyway back to the game. What kind of weapon/spells are we going to see in Heretic 2?

[Jake] There are 9 offensive spells, 5 defensive spells, and all of the offensive weapons can be powered up. The staff actually has 3 levels of powerup. There is armor to be had, and some cool shrine powerups.. like weapon pick ups but for a limited time. Extended lungs, spell of reflection, that sort of thing.

How about our wonderful Hellstaff? Will we be seeing all the wonderful Heretic weapons?

[Jake] Most of them yes. The hellstaff returns (wait till you see it powered up) - and the red rain looks incredible. The Morph Ovum also makes a triumphant return.

[Jeremy] Most of them got removed or redesigned. The Phoenix rod returns as the Phoenix bow, and the hellstaff is back unchanged. Red Rain is there, too, and the badass giant mace balls are back. Oh yeah and so is the ripper.

So what got taken out?

[Jeremy] Pretty much everything else. Removed was the elven wand, crossbow, dragon claw, mace staff, and a few others.

Crossbow? I loved the crossbow!!!!

[Jeremy] The crossbow rocked yeah. The fourth weapon is kind of similar in effect to it.

About what percentage will we be seeing outdoor levels to indoor?

[Jeremy] Two levels are entirely outdoor...some are a combo, maybe 7 or 8 the rest are indoor

Who is going to be the main baddy this time?

[Jon] Can't say yet, keepin' secrets is the name of the game.

[Jeremy] That's a secret. Nobody's seen much of the second half of the game, and I like it that way

How long has Heretic 2 been in development?

[Jeremy] About 11 months now.

[Jon] Yeah, what he said. We actually didn't come on the project till March, as we were finishing the Mission Pack.

Could you guys give us a rough estimate on how much of the game is finished?

[Jeremy] 90%

So when will we be seeing Heretic 2 go gold?

[Jeremy] Week or two. Should be on shelves mid November or so.

How's the sound coming along for Heretic 2? Any re-mixes of the old midi from Heretic?

[Jon] Sound is almost done, and it rocks (Kevin's awesome). I think he might have taken bits from the old Heretic music but not a whole thing.

[Jeremy] Not sure. The original game had some awesome music, though. E2M1 was great.

I know that this question has been beaten to death, but... Why 3rd player? Why take the risk to lose some FPS players?

[Jon] Dare to be different.... We want to stand out in a crowded market. And it's really cool.

Compare Tomb Raider to Heretic 2 in control wise (ex: speed in control, moves, etc.)

[Jon] Our control is silky smooth compared to TR. Speed is much better, about the same # of moves as in Tombraider.

[Jeremy] No comparison. H2 is responsive as any FPS is.

Rolls and all?

[Jeremy] Yep.

Ok... how is the gameplay made up? (ex: storyline, and Hexen like puzzles)

[Jon] The story was written first, Then the puzzles were created.. ... and dumped, We streamlined the puzzles about three times. It's not nearly as tough as Hexen 2 puzzle wise. We want this game to be super action, so while there are puzzles, they won't break your brain.

[Jeremy] Very straightforward. This is an action game through and through.

Does the storyline unfold like a book? Orr is it just given to you in your intro and that's the end of it?

[Jeremy] It's revealed through in-game cutscenes as you play.

[Jon] The story unfolds throughout, The in-game stuff was made by the designers via Rick's scripting language.

Does Heretic 2 contain body point damage?

[Jon] Not really, but it can sense areas for cutting off limbs.

Can you cut off a person's leg and have them hop around bleeding?

[Jeremy] Kind of. There's a deathmatch mode that allows players limbs to be hacked off, and they have to find a health shrine to get 'em back.

[Jon] I haven't seen anyone run after a leg is removed :)

[Jeremy] Well, losing legs is more a death-only decorative thing.

[Jon] But, Jeremy and I don't lose them as much as some players here.

How is the mutliplayer compared to Quake 2?

[Jon] The speed is phenomenal, I didn't expect it to be what it is, but it rocks. 3rd person becomes natural really quick in DM.

[Jeremy] Speed is similar, except with less wimpy weapons.

Is the going to be co-op?

[Jeremy] Coop is in and no problem.

How many modes of Deathmatch are there? (ex: CPTF)

[Jeremy] No teamplay modes at the moment... no time. There'll likely be some added in a later patch if we've got time for it, but on the CD will mostly just be straight DM, with some different modes. There'll be an editor and source, and model/texture utils on the CD, though, so somebody can add it if they so choose.

[Jon] Maybe someone will mod it... with our supplied editor and code!

Any closing words?

[Jon] I hope everyone likes the demo.

[Jeremy] This game rules. Hope those who DL the demo feel the same way. Heh.

[Jon] I hope everyone likes the demo. And, if you're one of those people moaning about 3rd person, at least try the demo. We'll prove it's cool.

Jason Hsu
Game Over Online Magazine

On behalf of myself and Game Over Online Magazine, we'd just like to thank Jon Zuk, Jeremy Statz, Jake and Raven Software for taking the time to answer our questions, and we wish them the best of luck with Heretic 2! A reminder that you can download the playable demo of Heretic 2 here.

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