AusGamers Harvey Smith Dishonored Interview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 02:33pm 21/06/12 | Comments
AusGamers caught up with Arkane Studios' Harvey Smith. Read on or watch for what he had to say about their forthcoming effort, Dishonored...
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AusGamers: Ladies and gents, welcome back to AusGamers. You are here once again with Stephen Farrelly, out at E3, at the Bethesda booth. Everything’s happening. It’s been ages... I haven’t had a chance to catch this guy yet [gestures to Arkane Studios’ Creative Director Harvey Smith], but I did catch your presentation before.
I spoke to you a long time ago, out at QuakeCon. When you guys first demoed the game, I spoke to both you and Rafael [Colantonio, Co-Creative Director]. It’s blown me away, I have always really had a soft spot for this game, ever since I saw it for the first time.
I guess what I want to know is, from a development perspective, what’s changed since that first unraveling?
Harvey Smith: Oh my God... well, we’ve finished the game... nearly. What we showed originally at QuakeCon was I think our alpha build, so a lot more polish has gone into the game; lots of little touches.
When you get near the end -- when you’re really given enough time and support -- you don’t just finish the basics. Then you begin playing the game, and playing the game, and playing the game, and asking yourself “What occurred to me here when I was standing on this rooftop, that would have been a cool thing? Oh, what if another guard was on a patrol here?”
Or what if there was a... even something as trivial as: we have this thing in the game called a Kingsparrow feather, which is like a minor valuable object. There’s one on the rooftop, where a bird dropped it or something.
So, it’s just polish. It’s more and more polish. Tuning the stealth system, tuning the combat.
AusGamers: When I last talked to you, you spoke about systems and how in QA, some of the guys had developed new ways to play the game that you guys hadn’t even thought of. And the best example that you gave me was, you walk into a room and the guy fires the gun; he froze time, possessed the guy, walked [him] in front of his own bullet and it was kind of his own suicide, so to speak.
Since then, have you implemented any more systems, or have there been more of those kind of out-of-the-box examples displayed by the QA guys?
Harvey: Well, all of us playing the game find those things here and there. And the one that we were demonstrating here earlier today was: our possession is a physical thing where you like move corporeally into the person you’re possessing -- or the animal, like the rat or the fish -- and so a fall that would have killed somebody, four of five stories up -- on the way down -- earlier, and in the test... the demo: we jumped off the building and on the way down, before hitting the ground, possessed this woman standing down there, which broke the fall by moving into her body. So that’s a good example, and we didn’t plan for that either.
AusGamers: Is it possible to fall, and then teleport half-way down as well? And will that break your fall?
Harvey: Yeah, we actually... well it depends. If you teleport down, then it’s just from the end of the teleport to the ground. So it may be enough to save you or it may not. But we have recently seen people doing things where: the Tallboys are the guards on stilts that are the city watch and dealing with the infected -- they’re walking around on stilts -- and we’ve seen people blink-teleport into the air over them, and then as they fall onto the tallboy, initiate the drop assassination. So you can actually drop assassinate the tallboys, which is fantastic.
AusGamers: And you guys didn’t plan for that at all?
Harvey: No, we didn’t know that was possible actually [laughs].
AusGamers: One of the other things I wanted to ask, was: obviously you’ve got the [abilities] wheel, which is part of the HUD, to access your abilities. On PC will you be able to key-bind all of that?
Harvey: Yeah, one of the great things about Arkane, is that we have different factions on the team that represent each of the platforms. So we have fanatical Xbox guys that want to make sure their Achievements are handled correctly; we have a lot of old-school PC guys that want to make sure that there’s no mouse-acceleration forced on you, and you can turn off parts of the HUD, and that the key-bindings are right. And also on the PC of course, you can run at 60 frames a second, which is pretty sweet.
And then we have PS3 guys as well that are, like, fanatical for their platform and make sure the trophies are handled correctly and it performs well on the PS3 and all that. So that’s one of the good things about the team.
AusGamers: I know it’s not really that sort of game, but have you guys considered -- after it’s released and everybody’s had a taste -- to open it up to the mod community with those systems to see what everybody else can come up with?
Harvey: I would love that. We did that for Deus Ex and it produced a lot of interesting, cool stuff. Yeah, I’m not sure if we have any plans in that direction; I don’t know if we could technically; I don’t know about that.
AusGamers: So basically everything’s almost in the can. What’s the kind of process moving forward? It’s an unspoken rule these days that there’s always post-release content. You have a single-player game, hopefully that means there’s going to be more single-player content coming. Or are you going to deliver a game that’s just wrapped at the end?
Harvey: Well, at this point it’s just playtest, playtest, playtest, and keep adding and tweaking. And the game is Steamworks-enabled and it’s Games for Windows, but not Games for Windows Live.
AusGamers: That’s probably a good thing.
Harvey: Yeah. So, post-release, all I can say is that anything we do for post-release, will be done post-release. It’s not that there’s content in the game that we unlock to sell you later. We would move on to working on new things to put into the game.
AusGamers: Well, I have to wrap it up there; quick E3 show-floor time. But the presentation looks great; game looks great; can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Harvey: Thank you.
AusGamers: Thanks Harvey. Cheers.