AusGamers Dead Space 3 Developer Video Interview and Transcript
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:23pm 04/09/12 | Comments
AusGamers caught up with Dead Space 3 Associate Producer, Yara Khoury, to talk about keeping Dead Space on its path, pleasing fans, weapon crafting, HALO jumps, UI and much more. Read on or watch for what she had to say...
Watch the full video interview embedded above, or click here for a direct link.
I’ve got Yara, who’s Associate Producer on the game. Yara: I do have a bone to pick before we get into it, and that is... I see my PR handler looking at me quite funny at the moment [laughs]. I loved everything I played yesterday, it was classic Dead Space, classic scary corridors, some of the best audio in the business, but the flight sequence through space, is pretty much the same thing that we did in Dead Space 2 already.
Is there any particular reason you guys just re-did that again? Obviously I understand it’s a bridging moment in the game, but it just felt too similar to the thing that we did last time.
Yara Khoury: So you’re talking about the HALO jump right? Have you noticed that you could actually shoot this time around?
AusGamers: Yeah, but my problem with that was that I was just auto-aiming at stuff. It felt like a really old-school videogame.
Yara: Oh old-school? Is old-school not good? [laughs]
AusGamers: It is good, but it just didn’t feel like it fit in the Dead Space Universe.
Yara: I understand. Well, we think that our fans really like the HALO jump, because they’re extremely fun. I love them personally, I just think it’s that 10 seconds gameplay moment that adds variety to our normal gameplay. It’s very intense, in that it’s actiony, but now we add the shooting so that the gameplay is a little more diverse. And it’s really about the fun that our fans have when they play that. So it’s not the only thing, it’s just, like, a 10 second section, that I think kind of breaks the rhythm, and increases the intensity, and is part of our big action, and epic moments that we have in the game.
So, I actually think it’s really fun, and I know a lot people love them. But if this is not what you like, we have a lot of other gameplay opportunities for you, right?
AusGamers: Well, you touched on a point there: it is only 10 seconds of gameplay. Which is a really good lead in to my next question, which is: it must be really hard for you guys to please everybody. Because it seems like... you know, after E3, everybody was complaining “oh, now it’s turned into a third-person action game” -- which I know isn’t true at all. And in fact, the way that you’ve implemented the commando roll and crouching actually works in the game.
Is it frustrating for you guys to know that overall, it’s still Dead Space at its core, and it’s still exactly what the team have been known to do really well, for a really long time? But to kind of educate the other people out there to just “hold onto your hats!”.
Yara: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s important that our fans understand what the game is about, and our first move was to show that we were able to innovate: to bring new features; new things about Dead Space. Because we really wanted to bring new gameplay, environment diversity, and I think we really are succeeding in that.
So it’s probably ok that people don’t understand, because we’re confident we can deliver what our game is about. And I think that’s what we’re doing right now; that’s what we’ve been doing the past couple of months, and I think this is really what the GamesCom demo is about: it’s about showing that we do have the single-player, true Dead Space experience, and that our fans absolutely not worry about Dead Space being a completely different game.
AusGamers: And I’ll attest to that, because in the demo that I played yesterday, I’m in a room full of people playing the same thing, and I jumped out of my seat at least three or four times. So, I mean you’ve nailed that again.
There are a couple of really cool things, like, you’ve got telekinesis, but now you’ve got the twisting of the telekinesis. But I didn’t really see much more than just hitting the button twice in that demo. Can you expand on how that’s going to evolve?
Yara: So this is a TK-Torque, and in the fiction, the TK-Torque appears because you’re in a deserted area that is unpowered. So in Dead Space 1 and 2, you had these switches, but they’re powered by electricity. When you get into the ice planet, or in the lost flotilla -- the deserted flotilla -- there is no power. So in the fiction you have to manually open kind of everything.
In Dead Space 3, we’re really using Isaac’s skill-set a lot more, so it’s part of that aspect also -- that focus on our end -- and adding a little more traversal mechanics, such as ladders you have seen in the demo. So that’s how we’re using it. It also expands on our puzzle abilities to use these mechanics, so we’re trying all sorts to make a little more complex puzzles; a little more interesting. So it’s kind of like in that aspect that we’re using that new mechanic.
AusGamers: How long does it take... talking about the ladders. Because in Dead Space 2, one of the scary moments was when you’d get into a crawl-space. So you’re really up close, you’ve got a really narrow field of vision, and then when you guys animated him coming out of the crawl-spaces, you didn’t know what was behind you, ever. It’s a very clever way to build tension.
Now the ladder sequence, you’ve got this amazing camera angle that is so scary. How long did it take for you guys to find that angle, and get it to that point, where basically, if you’re climbing a ladder, you just don’t know what’s going to come out?
Yara: Right. Well, I can’t tell you exactly how long it took, but it took us a good amount of time to find a good animation, and a good camera angle. And our animation team did a great job, I think, to make it feel good. I think you can really feel Isaac’s weight, balancing from one side to the other, the camera angle feels good. I think the ladders are a particularly difficult mechanic to make it feel good and look good, and I think we succeeded at that.
I would say we put a decent amount of time in here, because anything that our team does, we either do it amazing -- the best quality we can do -- or either we don’t do it.
AusGamers: And has the UI changed since E3? Because it looks a little bit different. It looks more classic Dead Space to me.
Yara: So the UI may be different depending on the environment you’re in. So right now, you’re in the -- in the GamesCom demo -- ship that you see - the Eudora; it’s actually a very modern ship, of one of the crew members that you’re going to be travelling with. So it’s very modern, it has this very futuristic look to it. Then you have the lost flotilla, that is very ancient. This is where you had to open all the doors manually, and the UI kind of reflects the fact that it’s ancient and deserted.
Then Tau Volantis is a very ancient planet as well, so the UI tells a story about: where you’re at; what happened here? What was the technology at the time, and how can you use it? So yes, the UI that you saw at E3, on Tau Volantis, is different from the one you’re going to see on the Eudora ship -- which is a very new ship -- which is different from the one you’re going to see on the flotilla.
AusGamers: In terms of locations -- you’ve mentioned three major ones -- can we expect more than that? Or are you not allowed to talk about that?
Yara: I cannot tell you anything right now, but there are very good surprises to come.
AusGamers: Ok. And in terms of... I’m not even going to talk about the co-op stuff, because as everybody’s pointed out: you don’t have to play it. It’s there; it’s an option for the players. But in terms of the single-player content, are we looking at something similar to Dead Space 1 and 2? They both had a pretty similar cadence, a pretty similar amount of time to put in, and even in terms of challenge -- like, I played them both on the hardest difficulty setting I could. What have you guys done to kind of maintain that level of consistency?
Yara: I think Dead Space 3 is a little bit different, because we have a little bit more depth in gameplay, and also in the environments. So we have the beta-path, which are additional, and total optional levels to explore, which is great if you want to scavenge for great resources.
So this totally ties back into the weapon-crafting feature, and the resource management, where you have to explore the world to find the best resources that get you the best parts, and the most badass weapons that you can make. So this all ties in together, into that focus in our investment into making more options for our players to explore.
If you are into weapon crafting, you can spend literally one hundred hours in this thing. If you want to explore all the beta-paths; if you want to replay with the co-op; it’s way more about choice in Dead Space 3: you can really spend a lot of time doing that.
So I would say it’s a deeper game, that has more gameplay depth, and I think our players are going to find a lot of replayability value; more than in Dead Space 1 and in Dead Space 2, actually.
AusGamers: In terms of the scavenging. Are there tiers of materials that you can find? Because if you look at other games where you can craft or find materials to craft with, there’s kind of legendary stuff, and common stuff, elite stuff, rare stuff. What have you guys introduced in Dead Space for that?
Yara: I can’t tell too much about the way that we’re going to scavenge, because we’re going to talk about that a little more later. But what I can tell you is that of course there are very raw materials, very standard materials. Maybe you saw in the demo, the tungsten or the scrap metal; you’re going to find a little bit of that everywhere. Then you’re going to have rare resources, that you’re going to have to spend time to find.
These are the resources that are going to enable you to construct the most devastating weapons, so we are building different tiers of resources.
AusGamers: Are we going to see a return to gravity basketball at all?
Yara: [laughs] I cannot tell you right now, but you can expect a lot of...
AusGamers: What about Peng? Are we going to see Peng?
Yara: Peng is always part of Dead Space! It will always be there.
AusGamers: Alright, listen, we’ll leave it there. The game really looks amazing. The art team have just done a fantastic job. Exploring that flotilla was just incredible, and I’m so happy to see that the game hasn’t lost its core mechanic; its roots; its foundation in scare. It looks really good, so thank you.
Yara: Thank you very much for your time, and I’m really happy to say that our team is really committed to delivering the best experience to our players, so I’m really happy that you enjoy it.
AusGamers: Thanks very much for that Yara. Cheers.