Interviews// Haze: Rob Yescombe, Screen Writer, Derek Littlewood, Project Leader

Posted 17 Aug 2007 16:42 by
Derek Littlewood (left) and Rob Yescombe (right)
Derek Littlewood (left) and Rob Yescombe (right)
Haze: privatised warfare, drugs, guerilla warfare, sinister propaganda, a sneaking conscience, lots of shooty-shooty next-gen goodness.

You've heard all about it. I know you have and, more importantly, so do the guys at Free Radical, the developers behind Haze and the Timesplitters series. It was with that firmly in mind that SPOnG trotted off down the M1 one dreary morning to sit down with Rob Yescombe, screenwriter for Haze, and Derek Littlewood, the project leader.

Because what you haven't heard too much about is Haze's asymmetric combat system and how that links up with the game's multi-player experience. The guys at Free Radical wanted to have a chat about it, and boy do they like to chat.

So, after a traumatic journey to what we Yorkshire folk call 'the South' (Nottingham, to everyone else) I plonked myself down on Free Radical's rather comfortable couch in front of a setup that threatened to destroy my ears. Rob was first in, and he showed me the some of the tactics of the rebellious Promised Hand in action.

In brief, you have a couple of ways to make the Mantel soldiers overdose on their performance-enhancing drug, Nectar. Nicking one of their nectar packs and attaching it to a grenade will do the trick, as will dipping your knife in some of the yellow stuff and giving them a right good stabbing.

Alternatively, having away with one of the Mantel troopers' weapons is always a good idea, since they're invariably better armed than the rebels are and those tricky chaps in the Promised Hand can customise any ammo to any gun.

SPOnG's favourite, it must be said, is playing dead. Nectar makes dead folk disappear from Mantel troopers' field of vision, so if you fake it they'll overlook you and become a fair bit easier to mess up. (For more on rebel tactics, click here.)

Anyway, I'll hand you over to Rob.

Rob Yescombe: So, we didn't want to do something that's like: "Who has got the biggest machine gun?", because it's just cock-waving, it's not really game-play. It becomes more about who's spent the most hours playing this game compared with someone else; versus how are you using the advantages your side has; versus the other side.

So, it's not about who has the biggest machine gun, it's more like 'rock, paper, scissors' in that everything you think gives you an advantage is also putting you at a disadvantage at the same time, so it all circulates like that. That's specifically how the Nectar thing works. As a Mantel guy you want to be on it all the time, because it gives you that advantage. You can do more damage, you've got all the skills that come with it. However, the more you take of it, the closer you are to them being able to make it really bad news for you.

That's the key thing. A lot of people talk about, "What guns does it have?", you know what I mean? But we didn't just want it to be about the weapons set - you know, 'both sides have different sets of weapons'. It's a fairly traditional weapons set, the main thing is the weapon you use is Nectar. You are using it to your benefit, or you're trying to force someone else to use it to their deficit.
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