Rob Yescombe. This wasn't our fault...
Like a neon-clad, slow-moving juggernaut, Haze
It's one of the most anticipated games for the PS3 and one of the few FPSes that might prove to be a console-seller for Sony. All that and, much to my frustration, the release date has seemed to stay forever on the horizon. Until early April
, that was!
To warm up for the release, I trundled off down to London to take a look at the game and have a chat with its screenwriter, Rob Yescombe.
After Rob had stopped oggling the sports camera I was using to record the interview, we got going on subjects ranging from Haze
's multi-player to which side of the game's conflict Jesus would be on to TimeSplitters. Here is what was said...
You've been worried in the past that certain elements of Haze
weren't getting enough media coverage. Do you feel that Haze
would have have benefited from having a single, high concept? Do you feel it has one already?
Well, here's the single high concept – two games in one. The problem is that you have a totally unique skillset and play style and experience on both of those sides. The problem is that we've got a great high concept, but beneath that you've got another tier that is all the features from two different games to explain in one demo – which is incredibly hard to do.
On top of that, you've got the whole story and narrative side of things which we're pushing pretty strongly, as well. So, in fact, the problem Haze
has is that it's got too much good stuff in it!
It must be tough...
It is! Even if you can list 50 good things to someone, if the experience they come away with is, 'God, I feel confused', that's bad.
Today, for instance, you've got a good few hours to play. You can get to grips with it and understand some of the subtleties of it. But doing all the trade shows, when you're talking about demoing both sides of gameplay and
explaining how it works and
explaining controls and
talking about the story in a seven minute demo... it's madness! But that's, unfortunately, the way that marketing is constructed. And that's not Ubi's fault, by any stretch of the imagination – that's just the forums in which you can market things... that's what's feasible to do, and that's all you can do.
You guys have been really active in promoting Haze
yourselves, that's quite unusual in a developer.
Well, it's not that we were going rogue. Everything we do is tandem with Ubi, but we've combined forces so that, hopefully, rather than them having to organise something with us and then organise it with you, we can speak direct as long as everyone's working towards the same direction – which we are, of course.
Do you have a favourite aspect of the game?
All my stuff!
No... again, that's the great and terrible thing about it. There's so much stuff that I really enjoy – cos for me, I can get an immense amount of pleasure just from an animation, for instance, where I know you feel cool when you disarm someone – when you spin that rifle in the air, catch it, shoot them – that's fucking cool.
By the same token, I'm pleased with the bigger things – like the theme running underneath it, I think is not preachy, which I think is something we really wanted to make sure we didn't do. We didn't want people to feel like, 'God, I'm being lectured by a video game'. We wanted the gameplay to come first, and that's something we've done really well, I think.
As well as that, Derek's... sorry, Derek 'Sizzlewood', has done a great job balancing those two completely different sides. That's hard work.