Hawken: gioco indie con grafica spacca-mascella
Quando il trailer di Hawken ha cominciato a girare tutti sono rimasti a bocca aperta: la grafica e lo stile visivo di questo nuovo titolo basato sui mech sembravano prontissimi a competere con un bel po’ di produzioni ad alto budget di software house blasonate. Abbiamo contattato Christopher Lalli, uno dei fondatori di Adhesive Games.di Jonathan Russo pubblicato il 24 Marzo 2011 nel canale Videogames
Gamemag: Before talking about Hawken, I'd like to give you a chance to introduce yourself. May we have a brief introduction of who is Adhesive Games, how many people are part of it, where are you from (in the world) and where do you come from (professionally)?
Christopher Lalli: Adhesive Games is a small indie game company that had its beginnings in 2010 and "officially" formed at the start of this year. Hawken is the company's first project. Our core team is 6 members, 4 of which are founders of the company, but we've had several others working on and off as interns and freelance artists. You can visit our website http://www.adhesivegames.com/team.html for a breakdown of our team at the moment. Currently we have 9 people involved, including 3 talented interns, and for the time being we aren't seeking any additional help.
Most of us are from the U.S., mainly California or the east coast, but some of our members are originally from other countries such as Vietnam and Korea. Professionally, we are fairly new to the industry, but we have all worked on game projects for the last few years. Some of us were formerly part of Offset Software, which was responsible for a fantasy FPS project that was given the working title "Project Offset", but was unfortunately never released. Our art director, Khang Le, is a respected concept artist that has worked on many feature films and a few games.
Gamemag: How long have you been working on Hawken?
Christopher Lalli: It has been just about 9 months now, and we're very happy with the progress we've made. For the first few months there were only 5 of us working on the game, and we've picked up momentum with the addition of a few more artists now.
Gamemag: I think two things astonished the viewers of your trailer: the amazing graphics and the fact that Hawken is a game about mechs. You don't really get mechs quite often! So let's start with that: why mechs? : ) What kind of robot universe inspired you for Hawken, was it something like Mechwarrior/Robotech, japanese robots like Gundam or… ?
Christopher Lalli: The reason we chose Mechs was that it was something we were all interested in and that we could get excited about working on. Mech games have sort of died out in recent years, or have maybe been inaccessible to some gamers. We wanted to see what we could offer the genre, and try to create a believable yet stylized world as well as believeable yet stylized action and gameplay.
Our mechs have more of a junky, utilitarian feel...I guess closer to the spectrum of Mechwarrior. Khang was very inspired by Kow Yokoyama and Maschinen Krieger in his robot design, and not so much by the super sleek, clean and organic mechs found in anime like Evangelion. The world and environment is similar in that sense, it has a chaotic and complex look. The style found in the film Tekkonkinkreet was an inspiration for our city environments.
Gamemag: Our mechs have more of a junky, utilitarian feel...I guess closer to the spectrum of Mechwarrior. Khang was very inspired by Kow Yokoyama and Maschinen Krieger in his robot design, and not so much by the super sleek, clean and organic mechs found in anime like Evangelion. The world and environment is similar in that sense, it has a chaotic and complex look. The style found in the film Tekkonkinkreet was an inspiration for our city environments.
Christopher Lalli: The action is definitely more fast paced than alot of other mech games, athough it's not quite as frantic as say, Virtual-On (which was also an inspiration). We love the heavy, harsh realism of the Mechwarrior series, but we wanted to avoid an all-out realistic mech "simulation" because frankly that can be a little slow and frustrating to play. We tried to capture that same heavy and powerful feeling while still allowing for fast paced action and a more arcade style of gameplay. The mechs may feel sluggish to someone who is used to traditional FPS's featuring human characters, but we do allow for fast boosting and jumping using thrusters. You can see alot of that in the video, but it is kept in check by a fuel gauge which must be managed carefully. Also, the mechs can take a fair amount of damage, so not every skirmish with another player will result in a kill. Teamwork is often required to be effective.
Gamemag: I know it's very early, but I'm curious about a few features. Are you planning to have things like weapon overheating and localized body part damaged (i.e. shoot an arm off of an enemy mech and he loses some utilities)? Also, will there be 'pickup' weapons in the map, or will the player stick with a preset loadout?
Christopher Lalli: I can't mention too much, and things are still subject to change, but we currently do have a wepon overheating system in place. There are multiple items which can be chosen or acquired during play, some of which are offensive weapons and some that serve other purposes. Aside from that, currently your primary weapon loadout is chosen at the start of the match and can't be changed until you are either killed or return to base for a new loadout.
Gamemag: On that note, will there be some kind of customization screen to choose a loadout for our mech, between weapons, accessories etc?
Christopher Lalli: Yes as I mentioned above, weapons can be chosen or swapped out at certain times. Items are also available to compliment certain strategies or playstyles. We also have some customization available in the attributes that your mech possesses, such as speed, defense, etc...
Gamemag: The trailer showed impressive, inspired graphics. You are using Unreal Engine on Hawken, how good is it for a mech game? Were there any special difficulties you encountered with the engine?
Christopher Lalli:We have been very pleased with the Unreal Engine so far, and what we've been able to achieve with it. By using the Unreal Development Kit, the technology has allowed us to focus more on art and gameplay, at literally no up-front cost. That said, there was still a lot of work that our programmer Jon had to do to tailor things to the mech genre and our particular features and gameplay. But that work was minimal compared other routes we would have to take without Unreal. We still have some difficulties such as the jittery/choppy movement in our demo recording playback, but we are working on ironing that out.
Gamemag: All considered, can you give us a rough idea of how big a standard multiplayer map will be in Hawken? Is the environment going to play a role in the game (i.e. covers, ability to get on a roof or hill to have high ground etc)?
Christopher Lalli: The environments feel quite large to me, but they will vary depending on the particular map and game mode selected. We want to hit the right balance between an impressive and expansive evironment, and exciting interactions (not wandering around forever without running into other players). Depending on the map, the environment can definitely be used to find cover, or lose a pursuer and so forth. Some of our maps have numerous nooks and crannies to utilize, and even smoke or steam that can conceal a mech. With the abilty of limited jumping and thrusters, it is certainly possible to climb areas of a map or building and obtain advantagous views or positions. They don't always come without dangers, however, as these locations often provide no cover or way to avoid incoming fire.
Gamemag: I read you are hoping to release Hawken on Pc, Xbox 360 and Ps3. We wish you the best in making it for all 3 platforms, but is there one of the three which is more predominant?
Christopher Lalli: I wouldn't say so, we are exploring all our options at the moment, and we are keeping each platform in mind as we develop the game. In a perfect world Hawken would be released on all consoles and PC, but we can't make any promises at the moment.