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Clearing the Haze: Rob Yescombe On Writing For An FPS
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Clearing the Haze: Rob Yescombe On Writing For An FPS

October 22, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 5 Next

Have you diminished it, as a result?

RY: I can say that originally, some of the stuff in there was way too controversial to include and it had to be cut. I can't talk about what it was, but it was very overt and very direct, much moreso than any other games.

That's a shame, because actually with BlackSite, when I was talking to Harvey Smith, it's incredibly overt, insanely overt. The U.S. government is making soldiers turn into monsters, and they're not taking care of them, and now you have to go kill them. I think it's interesting that some of these things are happening right now, but it's also interesting that there's a backlash.

RY: Haze, more than that, is a commentary on games themselves. In a game, you obey your orders without exception. That's what you do. And as a soldier, you obey your orders. There's no exception, and that's what you do. There are definitely parallels that can be drawn.

But more than that, it's a commentary on violence in video games. As a Mantel guy, it makes sense that you play it like a game, because you're absolved from responsibility. It's weird that our entertainment is founded on shooting people in the face! The truth is that I enjoy it as much as anyone else, but I find myself weird for liking it so much. That's less than a big political statement; it's much more about, "What are we, as people who are entertained by this?"

Yeah. I think inherently in our culture -- especially in masculine culture -- we have the exaltation of the hero, and warrior myths and things like that have always been intriguing to us. It makes sense. It's very ingrained in our culture. But do you think that games are a way you can do that without actually having to go through with that?

RY: How do you mean?

I mean, a way to live out a power fantasy without actually...?

RY: Oh, absolutely. That's where the kick comes from. Look at pretty much any high-concept movie; it's basically "ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances." It's no different for this. It's being able to do the things that you would want to be able to do if there were no consequences.

What was the impetus for the writing of the script? What was the node of the idea?

RY: Right back at the very beginning, the template for it was Apocalypse Now, but in the end, we became too overt and just too controversial to approach the marketplace. It's a 20-odd million dollar production, and it's a very risky thing to try and push it down that avenue too far. That stuff is still in there for the people who want to find it, but at the same time, the most important thing about Haze -- and this is the most important thing about any game! -- it doesn't matter how interesting your political commentary or story is. If a game isn't fun to play, you've wasted your time.

Well, certainly I'd imagine that if a game is fun to play, it'd surpass any type of political expectations that people may have, because people will skip the cutscenes or whatever.

RY: And by the way, there are no cutscenes in Haze.

It's all in-game?

RY: It's all first-person perspective in-game and it's a single streaming experience. There are no levels, and once you load up the game, if you bought it on the day of purchase and loaded it up, you could play the entire single-player campaign ten to fifteen hours without ever seeing a loading screen.

But there's probably a heavy loading screen at the beginning if you're streaming off the hard drive, right?

RY: No. It's all done on a stream.


Article Start Previous Page 2 of 5 Next

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