Rebellion is embarking on a nostalgic project – a sequel to its ten year old classic, Aliens vs. Predator. Featuring new modes of play, additional perks for Marine, Predator and Alien and a new way of development thinking, this game could be the great return of a studio once greatly revered in the halls of PC gaming.
At a recent SEGA event, I got a chance to speak to David Brickley, Senior Producer for AvP at Rebellion, and Eric Miller, Assistant Multiplayer Producer. One of things we discussed was the apparent 'death' of PC gaming, which both David and Eric feel will only happen if studios stop supporting the platform.
With regards to a new single-player campaign, David and Eric also talk about changes they have made to this title, in comparison to the PC original's “take no prisoners” attitude to the gameplay. There's a little bit about the success of movie-to-game tie-ins too, which Rebellion is more than qualified to speak about. Continue reading to find out more.
One of the first things that stood out for me was the variety in each species' gameplay. How challenging was it to overcome possible balancing issues between the different styles of combat?
Ultimately, the goal was to make sure you were never in a situation that you couldn't get out of. It's never more obvious than in the head-to-head combat – whereas the Marine, admittedly is all defensive, you have a way of seeing off any Aliens or Predators you find. That method of balance was very important, otherwise the Marine would just be cannon fodder.
It takes time to learn these different ways of combat, and it should because these styles of play are quite unique in themselves. So we have a bunch of modes that are weighted towards strength in numbers – and that's another tactic to survive. You should use that strength in numbers to take on a foe which is faster, tougher and better armed than you.
We've basically put a whole bunch of things in the game to make it fun and rewarding to play as each of the three species. The Alien for example is stripped down to the basics of claws, speed and the ability to move on any surface. In a sense, it shouldn't be a match for the well-armed Marines, but as I'm sure you'll find out the little bugger is more than capable of looking after itself.
That was a challenge, and in a sense we succeed or fail depending on how well that comes off when we finish the game and people are playing it. I think when you have a product around the office and the people making it are having a kickass time you know you have a good thing on your hands.
We're not just looking at what abilities the creatures have but we're also looking at the map design as well. There shouldn't be any places where Predators can get to that the Marine can't shoot at or the Alien can't climb to, for example. Undoubtedly we have put in areas which suits one species over another, but that's the risk the player makes. There are also rewards in that there are areas in the map that best suit your chosen character too. You have to go out of your comfort zone sometimes, and at points for a long time, but you just have to learn to cope with the risks and dangers involved.
Yeah, no species should be 'God', none should be outright better than the others, and the melee system is a part of that too. It's very simple, and throws a bit of the predictability out of the window as well. All species have the ability to block and melee counter, so it's not always a given strategy to go in guns blazing.