Demi chats to Paul Pawlicki
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Thanks for doing this.
Demi: Tell us about the company--who you guys are, etc.
PP: Weíre Fox Interactive and we make games based on great Fox properties like, Aliens and Predators, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons, The X-files, along with a few original titles like No One Live Forever. My name is Paul Pawlicki and I was the associate producer on Aliens versus Predator 2 and Iíve moved onto the Aliens versus Predator 2: Primal Hunt expansion pack. I work with David Stalker who is the Producer of the AvP series of games.
Let''s talk about the design of our new game...
Demi: Did you dig around the AvP community before you went ahead with the project?
PP: We did do some research. We looked at the AvP2 message boards in an effort to see if we could take some of the requests from the community and incorporate them into the expansion packs. Deployable Sentry Guns and the Predator Self-Destruct are a direct result of that research.
Demi: Were there any constraints on the storyline you had to work around? Was it difficult doing 3-games-in-1 instead of the typical game setup of a single storyline?
PP: We gave Third Law just a couple rules to follow when trying to devise a story for the expansion pack. It needed to tie in nicely with original AvP2 and it had to be able to be told from the perspectives of the three different species. Third Law then went to work and played AvP2 over and over again and took very careful notes. They documented every character and their relation to the story, the locations, and the ever important timeframes in which the events occurred for each of the species. We then sent them the original script for the game that even had some of the deleted scenes that never made it into AvP2. They took all this information and delivered five story proposals. Three of these took place at the same time as AvP2 but in different areas of the human facilities.
Because AvP2 is so intricate and so many major events happen we found that these stories would be the most risky when trying to match up the timelines from both games. Of the remaining two stories, one was a sequel based on events at the end of AvP2 as the Marines departed, and the other was a prequel that begins quite awhile in the past. We chose the prequel idea because it gave us the most room to come up with new locations and designs while still letting us remain on the same planet.
Itís always challenging to do the three in one story thing but it is extremely rewarding when it works out well like it did in AvP2 and now in Primal Hunt.
Primal Hunt stuff...
Demi: Expansion packs are usually made up from levels that have been discarded from the original. What''s the deal with Primal Hunt? 100% original?
PP: We used many of the same assets and texture sets in order to keep consistency with AvP2 but ALL of the level design in Primal Hunt has been completely created from the ground up.
Demi: Any leaks as to the storyline that we haven''t heard before? (and don''t brush us off with a SINGLE species, tell all three!!)
PP: I donít think that there are any real surprises left to talk about but for those that arenít familiar with the story here goes. It all centers around an ArtifactÖ
Even though you can play any of the three species from the get go I always start with the Predator because his story begins the farthest back in time. Predators have been coming to Planet LV1201 to hunt for a long time. Our Predator was the first to do so some 500 years before the Marines ever showed up in AvP2. While hunting indigenous life our Predator stumbles across an Alien Hive. At the core of this Hive is some defunct machinery that looks like it was built by a race that has become familiar to us, the Pilot race. He gets the machinery working and an Artifact at the core is activated sending out a shock wave that sends Aliens running from the chamber. Time passes and the Predators eventually start to build some structures in the safety of this chamber and use it as a base to hunt Aliens from. Things eventually go horribly wrong and the Predators are overrun. Centuries pass and the Artifact is stolen from the chamber.
The Alien story is next in the timeline. You again start out as a Facehugger but this time you are in the Predator installation. Your job is to find a Predator host. Eventually you burst out and morph into one ugly and mean Predalien. Predaliens, like Drones are instinctual and work to protect the Queen and the Hive. Because of this the Predalien is driven to find the Artifact and destroy it so it can no longer be used against the Hive.
The human story begins with the Corporate Mercenary, Dunya, being given orders by General Rykov to infiltrate the Hive and the Chamber that houses the Artifact. Yep, sheís the one the steals it. She brings it back to Pods but sheís followed allowing the Pods to be breached.
Hereís some info about the story that I havenít said much about, it may even be exclusive! As I mentioned, the game is a prequel. All of the events that happen in Primal Hunt take place before the Marines ever arrive on planet LV1201. In AvP2 there was an accident that caused one of the enormous suspended Pods that housed the human labs to be severed and crash to the ground. There was never a clear explanation of why this happened, just that it was an unfortunate occurrence. This was our starting point for Primal Hunt, or more precisely, our ending point, since we worked backward from this incident to create our story. The events that take place in our story all end with the devastation of Pod 5 as seen by each of the three species.
Demi: AvP2 introduced the Corporates as a standalone group. What have you done for the grossly underused Weyland Yutani soldiers?
We need level info!! do tell...
PP: Instead of using the Marines to tell the human story we focused on the Corporates. They arenít necessarily bad people but they do what they have to live from day to day. The Mercenaries take orders like soldiers but their loyalties may not always be with the Company.
We have equipped Mercs with a 360 degree motion tracker. I see out of the corner of my eye that the next question is about the tracker so I wonít go on about it here. We have also given them dual pistols, which are always fun. These bad boys are about equal in fire power to the Pulse Rifle but with less ammo and a slower reload time. Weíve also added some stationary turret guns that can be used by the Corporates. They can also pick up Sentry Guns and deploy them anywhere in the level.
Demi: Released images show a 360 degree motion tracker. Is it a tactical opportunity for certain player classes or are you preparing us for the A:CM [for PlayStation2] launch?
PP: A:CM had nothing to do with the us coming up with a 360 degree motion tracker for Primal Hunt. We thought that if the Corporation were going to establish a base on a planet with a known Alien Hive for the sole purpose of researching and studying Aliens then wouldnít they update their technology to make it safer for them in the field? To kind of balance the 360 degree motion tracker though we limited its range. It can only read 15 meters ahead and 15 meters behind. Compare that to the Marines tracker, which can read 30 meters in 180 degree arc in front of you and youíll see that they are pretty equal.
Demi: What ARE the indigenous creatures- we NEED to know!
PP: The Alien Hive exists in perfect balance with the animals on the planet. They use these creatures as hosts. Since there are biped and quadruped Aliens it seemed logical that there must be biped and quadruped hosts. We had never seen these creatures in AvP2 so we needed to create some from scratch that fit the profile. Thatís what we did. We have a bullish creature with sharp antlers that will plow right into you if you get to close and thereís a simian looking guy that blends into the background like a chameleon until you get to close then heíll charge you and whack you good. Weíve thrown in something else that lives under the ground and will pop up under your feet only to take big chunks out of you with its razor-like teeth.
Demi: Was the Predator self-destruct a "thumbs up" to the community demands?
PP: Yeah, it was.
Demi: Spill everything about working with the Lithtech engine. Is Monolith good to work with?
PP: Monolith is great to work with but they arenít the ones that are doing the expansion pack. As I pointed out above we approached Third Law Interactive about doing the expansion pack and they agreed. They have been extraordinary to work with and have done a fantastic job in making this game.
Demi: Did you enhance or change anything in the game engine? Will it affect/improve playability of AvP2 the "Big Game"?
PP: What we did was incorporate all of the updates that were released online by Monolith into our current code base. Those updates definitely improved performance from the original version of AvP2 that just came straight out of the box.
Demi: Any new MP features that the online freaks can expect?
PP: Multiplayer has use of all the new weapons that were previously mentioned including the deployable Sentry Guns. Weíve also added the weapons and character class restrictions menus. These menus allow the players to decide which weapons and character types are allowed in a game. If you donít want the Corporates to have the SADAR then just check the appropriate box. If you decide you donít want Praetorians in the game then you can do that too. The host has the ability to balance the game in a way that suits his or her needs. We have also included all of the original AvP2 maps that were created by Monolith so you can play your old favorites and we have designed 4 new multiplayer maps that are exclusive to Primal Hunt. You can also make your own maps with the editing tools.
Demi: Have you introduced anything that will make level design/mods any better or easier for us "common people"??
PP: The editing tools are included in with Primal Hunt so that should help people get started. The LithTech editing tools arenít that hard to learn to use either. All of our testers in our QA department had to learn to use them and theyíve become quite good at creating maps.
Lets talk futures...
Demi: Do you think that AvP3 (if it ever gets made) should remain our typical tri-storyline shooter or...
PP: We at Fox believe that any game that carries the AvP name signifies that it is a game that can be played from three perspectives, that of the Alien, the Predator and the humans. By that definition, if we make AvP3, single player missions would have to be told from in the same tri-storyline that you mention.
Demi: What are your upcoming projects? (gamers need to be teased)...
PP: I wish I could tease the gamers out there but Iím not at liberty to talk about anything that Iím currently working on at the moment. Nothing that Iím working on has been officially announced. Maybe no information is the ultimate tease.
Demi: Thanks for the info. We''re looking forward to stalking poor Marine suckers and those clingy alien freaks in your AvP2 Expansion Pack.
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