[How do you construct designs which offer freedom but don't let the player ruin the game with overpowered weapons? What's more important -- playability or internal consistency? These questions, among others, are pondered in this interview with Insomniac's Cameron Christian.]
The Resistance franchise has become a stalwart of the PlayStation 3 lineup. This year, the third game in the franchise will be released -- one which takes the darkest turn the series has seen yet, presenting a world in which the humans have been all but totally eradicated.
Of course, the gameplay designers are more concerned with tweaking the game's design to serve the player than the story. For Cameron Christian, developer Insomniac Games' senior designer for single player and lead designer for multiplayer, the challenges of refining the Resistance franchise are paramount.
How much power is too much for the player? How do you construct designs which offer freedom but don't let the player ruin the game with overpowered weapons? What's more important -- playability or internal consistency? These questions, among others, are pondered below.
You brought the weapon wheel back.
Cameron Christian: Definitely.
Some people like that. I don't.
CC: Aw, nice.
Because it gets you out of the gameplay. You've got to pause, you've got to select.
And then while people are shooting at me, then I lose orientation. I was talking to Tim Turi from Game Informer, he loves it. So, there are opposing opinions.
CC: I've heard that as well. I've heard your concern. I think the biggest thing is just the tradeoff. The tradeoff in being able to use what you've collected at all times. I think one of the things with Resistance 2 is that because you only had two weapons, designers had to put those weapons we wanted you to use for that setup around that area, so it became very lock-and-key.
I think having the new weapon wheel gives it a lot more choices, in that it's allowed us to evolve the environment to have to support those choices -- to support a sniper rifle, to have to support a shotgun -- and so it's allowed for a lot more open and diverse levels, I think.
Yeah, that does make level design a little more potentially complex. One thing that I noted in Resistance 2 is, once you get the weapon that can fire through walls, if you're a coward-style player like me, you never use another weapon ever again.
CC: True. I think one of the things that we have going on is our new AI changes. Like [lead designer] Drew [Murray] ...mentioned, we have a new kind of like AI role system, so we have aggressors, and defenders, and guys who flank, and they're all assigned roles, so if you're shooting at one of their team members and this other guy's an aggressor, he's going to come and find you and try to hunt you down.