Last year's Red Faction: Guerrilla was a surprise hit that charmed gamers with a fully destructible playground to explore. After the generally positive response to Guerrilla, it comes as no surprise that Volition, the development studio, has a follow-up in the works. Red Faction: Armageddon was a key title at THQ's E3 booth this year. Gaming Union was able to sit down with Jason Scott, Volition's Studio Design Director, to get his thoughts on the game. Below is the interview in its entirety.
Gaming Union: What are the big changes you've made since Guerrilla?
Jason Scott: Well, there are several new things we're doing [such as] moving underground, the destruction with the Magnet Gun, reconstruction with the Nano Forge, and having a lot of new environments.
GU: On that note, will there be a wider variety of environments in Armageddon?
Jason: Yeah, definitely. We're planning all kinds of different environments that you go through. The trailer showcases our ice cave environment, but we've got plenty of other environments, including the surface of the planet.
GU: Along with the Magnet Gun, you also have the reconstruction mechanic. How exactly does it work? Can you rebuild anything that's been destroyed?
Jason: There are some exceptions. For example, if you destroy an infected building, you aren't able to reconstruct it using the Nano Forge. Although, generally that's the rule of thumb - anything you destroy can be repaired.
GU: Would you say Armageddon is a smaller, more focused experience compared to Guerrilla?
Jason: That's a pretty good description of [Armageddon] in the sense that we're focusing on making the world as immersive as possible, really providing a lot of depth and atmosphere, alongside the destruction gameplay. What we're doing with the Magnet Gun [allows us to go] above and beyond the destruction in Guerrilla.
GU: You mentioned creating a more immersive experience for Armageddon. Is the narrative a bigger focus to achieve that?
Jason: Yes it is, absolutely. We're putting a lot more effort into the story in terms of both the character development and the detail of the world.
GU: What games have inspired your team since Guerrilla's development?
Jason: That's a really good question. Lots of things, the team is constantly looking at what's out there and pulling in inspiration from all sorts of sources.
GU: What specifically influenced the shift toward a more immersive experience?
Jason: In terms of inspiration, moving underground has given us a lot of options and I think Bioshock was an example of a game that did [an immersive, underground world] really well. You're going into this whole new world, this unknown place. In our case, the infestation is changing the world - it's a much darker tone, much more atmospheric.
GU: In many people's eyes, Red Faction: Guerrilla was a sleeper hit last year, helping to reignite the franchise. Was your team surprised by the critical praise it received?
Jason: No, I don't think so. We knew for a very long time that [Guerrilla] was going to be a completely new gaming experience, something people had never seen before. So, we were very happy with how it was received.
GU: Thanks for taking the time, Jason
Red Faction: Armageddon is slated for a March 2011 release in North America.