Chronicles of Riddick to be re-released on xbox 360!!!Published by Predtech on Sunday, May 27, 2007
Tagged: Gaming, Xbox 360,
Starbreeze Studios is interviewed by IGN on their upcoming and eagerly awaited (by me at least anyways, lol) title of The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.
The following is a lengthy interview so be prepared for an in depth look into the developers opinions of this title.
With Sierra Entertainment's announcement that it would be releasing a remade version of its critically-acclaimed Xbox title, Chronicles of Riddick, we had a list of questions almost immediately. Luckily we had a place to turn to for answers when Starbreeze Lead Designer, Ian Stevens agreed to tackle whatever we threw at him. Here's what he threw back...
Click READ MORE to read the entire interview.
IGN: It's only been a few years since the original Riddick game was release on Xbox; Why revisit it and not just work on an all-new game?
Ian Stevens: For a while we were trying to get the original game onto the backwards compatibility list for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft seemed to have some pretty fair reasons why it couldn't do it. We were disappointed with that conclusion and we've seen the same disappointment in the community, so we felt compelled to find some kind of way around that.
The fact that we were already working with new technology for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms lead to some obvious ideas, and the new technology is based on what we developed for Escape from Butcher Bay, so the subject of a remake came up pretty quickly.
We also had some hesitation about moving too quickly into a sequel. The story we tell in Escape from Butcher Bay is an important one, and we felt like it was a better decision to get that experience into the hands of a larger audience before moving on to something new and creating some gaps for gamers that had never played the original.
IGN: Is Dark Athena's core game based on the PC "Director's Cut" version?
Stevens: We will be carrying over the additional content that we created for the Director's Cut, but that's about the extent to which Assault on Dark Athena will resemble that version. We're going back and recreating a lot of content. We're adding a lot of detail to the original environments, reworking and tweaking many of the existing characters; we're creating a lot of new textures and audio as well, and making a few tweaks to the AI also.
We're definitely putting a good amount of work into enhancing everything that we can, and we're hopeful that this version of the game will be a real treat for fans of the original.
IGN: Tell us about the new storyline elements. What's it about, who's in it and when does it take place?
Stevens: We're expanding the single-player experience and that new episode takes place immediately after Riddick's escape. He and Johns stumble across the Dark Athena and encounter Revas, the Captain of that ship. It will be an interesting story to tell because we get to explore the role of Mercenaries in the Riddick universe. That's about all I can say for now. We'll have a lot more to talk about in the coming months.
IGN: How much time will that add to the single-player game (The original was sort of short)?
Stevens: This is an interesting question. We did get a lot of feedback with the original release that people felt the game was too short. We also received some criticism for being a first-person game but not having multiplayer. And this is an understandable perspective for gamers to have because they believe that longer games are better and they like Multiplayer. What's probably less obvious to our audience is that game development comes with a laundry list of competing priorities and it's a very difficult balancing act.
For Starbreeze, though, the priority has always been clear -- we have to make decisions that make the game better. Quality is the ultimate concern. And so, if we had tried to make Escape from Butcher Bay longer or if we had gone for multiplayer, the quality of everything would have diminished slightly as a result. You simply never have the time to make everything great, unless you narrow your focus. So we made the decision to go for the absolute best single-player experience possible. In the end this wound up being the right decision because, as a result, we changed quite a few people's minds about whether or not a game based on a movie franchise can be good; and not just good but great.
To put it another way; you can chose to do 10 things moderately well, or five things extremely well. When you present questions like these to gamers in this way, I've seen that they too see the sense in killing your darlings and aiming for quality across fewer goals. So our philosophy is that it's better to go for depth than length, because too much of a bad thing isn't good for anybody, and wanting more of a good thing isn't exactly the worst position to be in.
Short answer: the new content will be great.
IGN: Nice! How about additional sidequests? Are they in there?
Stevens: It's a little too early to talk about that just yet, but more info to come soon.
IGN: Is the combat system deeper and have you added new weapons that you can mess some dudes up with?
Stevens: Too early to talk too much about this as well. But I can tell you that yes; we are adding some really cool new weapons.
IGN: Have you made any adjustments to Riddick's "Shine" vision or will it work the same way it did before?
Stevens: We'll have to see where we're at with this as we get closer to release, but in general I don't believe that we'd want to get too far away from what you've seen already. What we have now fits the character too well.
IGN: Tell us about the stealth elements -- is it still "on/ off" in the shadows or has it be expanded upon to take advantage of the new technology?
Stevens: We feel that the stealth gameplay we created for Escape from Butcher Bay worked really well, so we're likely to continue working with that mechanic as-is.
IGN: Okay, back to the technology then -- what has the new hardware allowed you to do with AI and physics? Can you give us an example of how both of those elements change one of the existing experiences in the game?
Stevens: We're remaking the game and creating all of the new content in our new engine which is the same engine we've used to develop The Darkness. So the new technology gives us a lot of new opportunities in terms of lighting, the complexity of our environments, the complexity of our characters, and overall the ability to create a more immersive experience in much greater detail.
We will be including some enhanced AI and physics with Assault on Dark Athena, and this is likely to show itself in the way that enemies take cover or combat you while they're behind cover, and the overall functionality of our environments. Having physics allows us to make things more reactive and that tends to make the action sequences more intense.
IGN: What sort of approach are you taking for the multiplayer sections? Is it just going to be traditional deathmatch or are you going for some cool uncommon modes? Can we expect co-op story modes?
Stevens: Can't say much about Multiplayer right now. But we're excited about what we're working on and we're very anxious to get to that point where we're ready to talk about it.
IGN: Will there be new Riot Guard types and can you use them in multiplayer mode?
Stevens: You will be happy. Not saying why, but you will be happy.
IGN: The first game looked great on the Xbox -- is this a rebuilt engine or just an up-scaled version?
Stevens: It's difficult to answer that question without referring to specific parts of the engine. In general, no one writes a new engine every time they want to make some enhancements, and most enhancements are incremental anyhow. But in our case there are many pieces of our current technology that are brand new, and then some of it is technology that we've continued to develop since the release of Escape from Butcher Bay.
IGN: Fanboy fighting fodder ahead... are there any differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions?
Stevens: We'll probably be able to answer that question better closer to release.
IGN: Is Vin Diesel coming back to offer his services for the new content and in what capacity?
Stevens: Vin Diesel and Tigon are our most important partner when it comes to working in the Riddick universe, and they have an active role in the production of Assault on Dark Athena. We work with them on crafting the characters and storyline, and they are really passionate about game design so there are usually a lot of really interesting ideas that they put on the table.
Vin was actually here in Sweden only a couple of weeks ago and we spent time talking to him about the multiplayer portion of the new product. Lots of ideas and discussions were going back and forth about what we're building. He's very excited about it and so are we.
IGN: What are your plans for E3 and Riddick's appearance there?
Stevens: Difficult to say right now but it's always being discussed.
Otherwise, I'd like to thank you very much for your time and interest, and if you have any other questions we're happy to be of service.
So there you have it folks, weather you liked the original Chronicles of Riddick or not (personally i LOVED it) you'll get the opportunity to play around with it again on xbox 360 in the near future.
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