HND was recently given the opportunity to exchange some questions with the driving force behind F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN, the few months away multi-platform sequel to hit first person shooter F.E.A.R.
I think the Q&A session went well, to be honest. It is the first of its kind on the site and I’d like to thank Matt W for coming up with the questions (save the last one, that’s mine). He even thought of one so perfect it should be a required inquisition to any game designer. I think you’ll recognize that question when you see it.
We draw inspiration from all over the place. There’s an element of skin-crawling supernatural suspense that you find in ghost stories like Ring or The Shining. There’s plenty of shocking gore in the best splatter horror tradition. There are scampering fiends leaping at you like you’d get in a monster movie or a Resident Evil game. There’s even a dose of Lovecraftian existential terror.
And I think at one point Alma wears a hockey mask and eviscerates someone with claws made from garden shears while humming the theme from Halloween.
We’ve made a lot of improvements to the AI’s situational awareness and decision-making processes so they’ll react more convincingly and strategize more effectively to defeat you. They have more options for how to move around in the world, create cover for themselves, and target you indirectly, such as by shooting a fire extinguisher near you to try to cause splash damage if they can’t get a clear shot.
F.E.A.R. is all about over-the-top combat, so we focused on trying to provide gratifying and varied ways of dispatching enemies. Of the new weapons we’ve revealed so far, there’s a napalm cannon for roasting enemies and the laser for carving them up. But there are some other fun new items as well.
No plans have been announced at this time. Even to me.
With the reflex-time the only functional difference is that enemies are highlighted slightly to signify that your perception is on the same level as your reflexes. We’ve also improved it visually and aurally.
One of the things people really liked about FEAR was how battle-damaged the environments tended to be after a firefight, so we’ve taken that further. A lot of stuff blows up real good.
I hope we’ll always continue to develop for the PC. The PC market is changing, but I can’t imagine it’ll ever disappear.
That’s a big TBD.
Even reading that question makes me feel a little nauseated.
As with any PC title, it all comes down to what sacrifices you’re willing to make. If you have a lower end system, you have to sacrifice looks for performance or performance for looks. But the specific answer is that we’re targeting 30 fps if you’re playing at the settings recommended for your setup.
Similar to FEAR, progression is fairly linear but many areas are fairly porous to allow for exploration and flanking opportunities in combat.
No, just one. Although it’s pretty transgressive and wrong in a horror movie sort of way. We already used a Carrie-style shock ending in the first game, so this time we’re trying to traumatize players in a way that’s less predictable and more appalling.
We’re using the usual mélange of first person narrative sequences, updates via radio, intel items you can find in the levels, overheard dialogue, contextual storytelling in the environments, etc.
A lot of technical improvements go unnoticed because they come down to making a game look less artificial. You generally don’t notice something that looks right, only something that looks wrong. For example, we have things like fast volumetric lights and ambient occlusion that most players aren’t even aware of unless you turn them off, in which case something will suddenly seem not quite right. Really, though, that’s the goal. When players are aware of tech features, it’s usually due to overuse, like back in the days of lens flare overkill.
F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN releases on XBOX 360, PS3 and PC February 10th, 2009.