I imagine in a game like this, there are inevitably going to be a few things that get through that are going to wind up on YouTube and you're going to be like, "Well, it's really hard to do, so…"
CG: Absolutely. In fact, a little known fact is that the Red Faction: Guerilla sledgehammer came about to stop crashes from happening because people were getting stuck in areas that they had no way of getting out of. If you ran out of ammo, you always had the sledgehammer, and that allowed you to not get stuck in places, so that solved some crashes.
So, you're underground. It seems like, realistically, if you're destroying everything there would be a lot of mine cave-ins and stuff. Is that something that you deal with, or not?
CG: Well, we have destroyable organic rock formations, with a sort of shimmer to the rock… The player is going to learn early on that there are basically crystals and other things that can be destroyed in terms of the terrain.
We don't have geo-modding where you are carving your way through, but we have destructible organic elements, and a lot of these will tie into landslides, and uncovering secrets, and things that will play into the dynamic world as well.
It's almost easier to feel like you have more destruction when you're in this open plane and you can only level buildings. When you are inside and there's suddenly something that you can't destroy, it suddenly brings it back to being a game again -- you know what I mean?
CG: Yeah, absolutely. These are a lot of the things we had to think about. "How do we train the player? What's acceptable or not? What feels like a good payoff versus something that feels like cheating in the experience?" We have to think a lot about that and how we lay out levels.
Do you do decal damage on indestructible cave walls and things like that? What do you do there?
CG: Yeah, we have decal damage, exactly. Little scorch marks and things like that, and dust debris that comes flying off of it.
The ability to create stuff in the game makes the universe feel a bit more fantastical than before. That obviously changes the game tonally and in terms of gameplay. Can you just go through the thought process on that?
CG: Yeah, so the Nano Forge actually had repair functionality in Red Faction: Guerilla. It was only in the multiplayer. What we said is, "That was a lot of fun." We got a lot of feedback from people saying repair is fun, people want to do that, how do we bring that into the single player experience?
It is part of the history of the game and the lineage... If you follow the story of the games, it was a highly sought-after technology from Red Faction: Guerilla. The EDF wanted it, the Marauders wanted it, and they were coming after the main character to try to take it. Through generation by generation, this has stuck with the Masons, and this was handed down to the current character, Darius.
Darius has his dad's genes, he's kind of the MacGyver sort of fellow, he's smart, he's fast, he's athletic. He, by trade, is a miner as well, and an ex-member of the Red Faction army, and what he has done for his own trade is he has unlocked more functionality of the Nano Forge.
What we are showing today is the repair functionality. What it does is it repairs anything man-made that can be destroyed. You can use this from anything from fixing a bridge that got blown up to repairing a building so you can use it as magnet gun ammo. It is using the nanite technology that existed and we are expanding upon it.
Lately there was an image that someone stitched together of a lot of recent main characters in video games, I don't know if you saw that.
CG: I did see that.
What do you think of the bald, scruffy space marine phenomenon?
CG: (laughs) It is what it is. If you look at him from the neck down, there are clear differences on our character to that one. In fact, one of the things that was concerning early on was our very first stills had a guy in a tank top and a bald head, you can imagine the stereotypes and analogies drawn to that, and we were looking at that as kind of funny because we have four outfit changes throughout the game.
In fact, our player goes under distress, you'll notice decals on his face from damage, and he'll slowly wear out. He starts out in a military outfit, he then progresses through the surface outfit that's in the mission now, and then he's only in the tank top version at the end of the game when he's in the hot areas of lava. When you see it as a full progression, you realize it's logical, but when you see the image of the bald guy in the tank top you can't help but compare it to other stuff.
Right now, if your engine has trouble with alpha, or hair, or something like that, you'd rather not do it at all than to do it and call out attention. I'm not saying -- we can do alpha, and everything -- but I wasn't comfortable with the look we were going to have in there, so I'd rather not have it at all, and play into other things.
I'm surprised. I always considered it a choice rather than a constraint.
CG: I'll be honest with you, if I had a way to get good looking hair that sorted properly and didn't alias, and could dynamically move around as the player turned his head, so it wouldn't look like a helmet of hair, I'm all for it. But I'm not prepared to design something that's going to look bad.