Interview

Hard Reset Interview (PC)

For many, there's been something missing from gaming - especially first-person-shooters - for a while now. Flying Wild Hog want you to know that they hear you, and are hoping to do something about it. They also want you to know that you're likely to die a horrible, metal-induced death if you play their new game Hard Reset. We talked to Co-founder and Programmer Klaudiusz Zych to find out why:
 

 
Strategy Informer: So, you mentioned how you wanted to wait before announced as you didn't like the hyper period - but do you think two months is enough time to get the word out about your game? These hype periods are there for a reason, after all.

Klaudiusz Zych: Yes, but are they there for a good reason? Movie campaigns usually last for 2-3 months before premiere. If it lasted for a year or years, as in the games industry, costs would be through the roof.

Players’ interest drops soon after releasing some new material. So the choice is either to show new material constantly over the course of a year or two – but this way the game gets spoiled and you soon run out of new content – or the same content is showed over and over again.

Strategy Informer: Do you have any plans for a closed or open beta? Will there be a demo before launch?

Klaudiusz Zych: I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t do a demo of Hard Reset. For several reasons. It’s an old-school game, and in the old times, games had demos. Action-packed first-person shooters are the best fit for a demo; you don’t have to introduce story for a couple of hours, and the game mechanics don’t need to be learned for three hours. You just sit down and beat the crap out of the bad guys. Those are the mechanics. So yes, there will be a demo close to the game’s release in September.

Strategy Informer: You've mentioned how Hard Reset is more like Doom than anything that exists today. Do you think there's a reason game design like that kind of die-out? Or did it just get over-shadowed by the more popularised Hollywood-esque style of shooter?

Klaudiusz Zych: I think that kind of design got overshadowed by console-esque style of gameplay. First-person shooters on consoles must be playable (and fun) with controllers and not keyboard and mouse. That requires different kinds of gameplay mechanics: cover system, regenerating health, auto-aim, etc. Console first-person shooters can’t be based on old-school skills, because they could become frustrating for more casual audiences.

Strategy Informer: Given the name of your game, and how you mention people may be becoming bored with 'on-the-rail' shooters... we can't help but feel there's a hidden message here. Do you think the genre as a whole needs a 'Hard' reset?

Klaudiusz Zych: You said it, man ;-).
 
Strategy Informer: Are you worried about the competition that Battlefield and Call of Duty is going to present? Whether your game is like them or not thematically, or even in terms of gameplay, the average consumer is going to see three shooter-type games, and may only have enough money for one of them.

Klaudiusz Zych: Hard Reset tries to be something different from Battlefield or Call of Duty. It’s not a kind of interactive movie experience; it’s just a jump-in-and-have-fun experience. And we are coming a month before them. So, yes, we are concerned, but happy at the same time. Because we are not alone and competition is good, for us and for the players.

Strategy Informer: You've made it clear your reasons for wanting to go PC-only for release. If you ever were to think about porting your game to the console, or making a new game that included consoles, would you want to develop that in-house or would you out-source it to someone who had more skill in the console space?

Klaudiusz Zych: We are not planning to port Hard Reset to consoles. But if we do a new game with different kind of gameplay that better suits consoles, we would do it in-house. Hard Reset’s focus was on extremely high-quality graphics and a highly optimized engine that would handle it in at least 30fps on even low-end machines. We can’t give it away to someone else and risk compromises on graphics quality or frame rate.

Strategy Informer: How important are digital platforms going to be in getting the game into the hands of players? Will you even bother with traditional retail?

Klaudiusz Zych: I believe that digital platforms are something that could bring the PC market back to life. There is only one middle-man between developer and players, so a much larger share gets back to creators of the game. This way, even if sales numbers are much lower than at retail, revenue can be competitive. It’s a good thing.

Strategy Informer: How about the modding community? Despite recent events, many consider it a core area of PC Gaming - it might be a bit too soon for mod tools, but I imagine you've got nothing in particular against people doing what they can on their own?

Klaudiusz Zych: Yeah, absolutely. It all depends on how the community reacts to our game. But we will try our best to not let them down.

Strategy Informer: Interesting choice about not including multiplayer at all - we can't help but you think you can have it, but not "focus" on it as you claim other shooters do. Don't you think this goes against the competitive nature of the FPS? If there's anything we humans love most, it's competing. (I know you have leaderboards, but it's not quite the same as shooting someone in the face, is it?)

Klaudiusz Zych: It’s not that multiplayer is a bad thing, by any means. Multiplayer games have just become so complicated that developing them requires as much, if not more, resources than a single-player game. Some companies even have two completely different studios to do single- and multiplayer, or even completely different engines. We are a small indie studio, and we just couldn’t handle a great single-player game together with great multiplayer. That’s why we focused on single-player gameplay. This time.
 
Strategy Informer: What do you feel is going to be the main draw of this game, or the main reason people are going to want to play it? Replayability? The Story? The weapons/gadgets etc...?

Klaudiusz Zych: We tried to do a fishing rod technique with Hard Reset. We will try to hook the player with great visuals and physics and instant over-the-top action. And then we will slowly pull him or her in with an experience-based upgrade system and weapon unlocking for even more fun.

And there are elements of replayability that will keep the player on board after finishing the game: you can start a new game and try a different weapon upgrade tree path, or you can try a “new game+” mode and play a new game from the beginning but with all the stuff you already earned.

The rise of digital distribution has made 'protest' games like this viable once more. For a debut title, it's certainly risky, but then they're not trying to do anything that's beyond them. Given the quality of talent they've got (a lot of former CD Projekt guys), you know this going to be a quality product at any rate. Don't forget to check out our hands-on preview for more impressions.

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You know, I haven't heard much about this game. I think when it comes to FPS games, most of them are just part 2s and 3s of the same game, so it's the same stuff being recycled over and over. The reality is that it's very difficult to bring out something fresh and new in this genre, which is why the Half Life games have been delayed for so long now.

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