Hard Reset Q&A - What's Old Is New Again

Michal Szustak explains how Hard Reset is adapting the classic shooter style of Doom and Quake for the modern age.

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Hard Reset is a futuristic first-person shooter that isn't afraid to buck the trends of its modern-day counterparts. This PC exclusive harks back to a time when exploration was necessary and regenerating health was a luxury. The team behind it hails from all across the development landscape, including members from CD Projekt Red (The Witcher 2) and People Can Fly (Bulletstorm). We recently talked with Michal Szustak, CEO of developer Flying Wild Hog, about this upcoming shooter set for release in September.

GameSpot: We understand that Hard Reset is a PC exclusive. Why make this choice? What do you think the game gains by being a PC exclusive?

Michal Szustak: For a new studio it's always easier to make a single-platform game, and we really wanted to create and use our own tech. Our engine was built with one thought--to be used in a first-person shooter that uses lots of physics and destruction, with outstanding graphics and also optimized to do the job well. There are many games published on PCs that are just ports from consoles, and we all know that today the power of a current-gen console is similar to a four- to five-year-old PC.

If you want to show some amazing graphics, it's better and easier to develop the game for PCs. Also, in the era of movie-like shooters almost "on rails," with player-environment interaction as limited as possible, we wanted to create a game for old-school PC players, raised on all those forgotten Dooms, Quakes, and Painkillers.

GS: With a release window of September 2011, there's not a lot of time between now and when your game comes out. How long has the game been in development? Why only reveal the game now?

MS: We started developing Hard Reset in April 2009, so now it's been more than two years. Why reveal so late? We believe that players don't like those two or three years of hyping, with lots of web site counters and teasing all the same assets. And after three years of waiting you finally get information saying the game will show up half a year later than promised! Then, after those six months, two more months of waiting! Personally, I really hate it. So we decided to show our game when it's ready. When it's literally done. No postponements. We want the players to trust us, and we will do our best to get them good games in the future.

You don't have the luxury of regenerating health in this game.

GS: We understand that Flying Wild Hog actually consists of members from numerous other studios. Why form this new studio?

MS: I think most of our employees were tired of this corporate style of management implemented nowadays in all the "big" studios. We wanted to create a place with a flexible management system, sort of an old-school "garage" studio. For many years different people were trying to convince us that it's impossible to create a good game without all this fancy corporate structure, time sheets, almighty producers, etc. It's not true, and we will prove it. We are trying to create a place without everlasting, constant crunches--a place where every member of our team can and should add something to our projects, without the limit of a glass ceiling.

GS: What can you tell us about the story of Hard Reset? We understand it's set in a cyberpunk future reminiscent of movies such as Blade Runner.

MS: Yes, Blade Runner is one of our major inspirations, but of course not the only one. The thing that I really like in cyberpunk is that most of the protagonists aren't meant to save the entire world; they are just trying to survive in a world dominated by powerful forces such as corporations or authoritarian regimes. And our background story is just like that--you are not supposed to save the world or humanity; you just want to discover what's really going on and survive. So we have our hero, Major Fletcher, who is a "proud" soldier of the Corporation, and after a regular mission he discovers that he is unable to distinguish a friend from a foe and the other way around. It's a typical story, but adding to this, Fletcher is hiding his mental disorder--some pretty surprising stuff can happen!

Exploration pays off in Hard Reset.

GS: What type of game is Hard Reset? Is it more of an open-world shooter like the Far Cry series, or something more linear, such as the Modern Warfare games?

MS: Hard Reset is definitely not an open-world shooter like Far Cry, but it's also not a shooter on rails, the kind that Modern Warfare is. It's rather similar to old-school shooters like Doom, where you had to search the level to get a key card, and where you will find secrets--sometimes really challenging ones.

GS: We couldn't help but notice that the main character wears a spiffy eye patch in the teaser trailer. How will this device be used?

Exploding barrels still have a place in this shooter.

MS: This eye is a part of our thrilling cyberpunk setting, but it is also used in some weapon modes--I don't want to spill too many beans for now, but you will be able to unlock some fancy weapon add-ons that make use of Fletcher's implant.

GS: On the topic of gameplay, what more can you reveal about the interface featured in a few of the screenshots you've released? What do the different bars and icons refer to?

MS: As you know, we don't have regenerating health, so one of the bars is used to display health. We also have a shield meter, stamina for sprint, energy/ammunition for weapons, and, of course, the N.A.N.O. bar. N.A.N.O. is the currency that you will gather to buy new weapons and upgrades.

GS: Given that Hard Reset will be a PC exclusive, how hard will it push modern computers? Will PC gamers need a space-age computer in order to run it, or will the performance be fairly scalable?

MS: We will announce official hardware requirements soon, but I'm sure you will be surprised. We've got some really good engine programmers, and I can promise you that even a five-year-old PC will be sufficient to play Hard Reset. But if you own a pimped-up gaming rig, the experience will be much more intense.

GS: What were some of your sources of inspiration for Hard Reset, either for the story or gameplay?

MS: A lone hero lost in a dark, futuristic city--I could list many cyberpunk books or movies utilizing this motive. William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Philip K. Dick--we love them all. Regarding the gameplay, we wanted to create a game where you eliminate hordes of enemies, using not only interesting weapons, but the environment as well. There are many destructible objects in the game, such as cars or explosive barrels that you can blow up, dealing damage to your enemies, and we also have a spectacular electricity system; for example, destroying a cash machine will electrocute all nearby enemies. So the main inspiration were games with such a gameplay style--again, Doom, Painkiller, or Serious Sam--but I must say that Hard Reset came out pretty unique since there are loads of destructibles that you can use to your advantage.

GS: What can you tell us about the game's multiplayer?

MS: There is none! Seriously, you can gather achievements and level scores and compare them to your friends--that's all. Why? Because nowadays there are just too many games focused only on multiplayer. We had to choose whether we wanted to put all our efforts into creating the best single-player experience or add a multiplayer mode just to fill the check box and still get it done worse than in other games focused on multiplayer modes.

GS: Are there any other points you'd like to highlight about Hard Reset?

If you're looking for multiplayer you won't find it here.

MS: If you're tired of all the boring shooters on rails where all the encounters are heavily scripted and you can't even move too much, Hard Reset is for you. Hard Reset gives you the opportunity to eliminate hordes of enemies each time in a different way, so maybe you'll want to play again and again just to see how you can use our gravity mines in different ways or why an electric grenade and stasis field are such a great combo. And you want to beat the game at least twice, since finishing Hard Reset once is not enough to check out all the cool weapons and upgrades.

GS: Thank you for your time.

Discussion

226 comments
pyosisified
pyosisified

Finally a game that isn't a console port, looking forward to this

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Everything this man says makes so much sense. But one thing is sad for me. From the article I gathered that the game will be more like Painkiller, rather than, say, Deus Ex.

Moloch121
Moloch121

@Gelugon_baat Right right. Still developed for PC first before being ported much better. Will definitely get this game based on that alone. No multiplayer and no regenerating health sounds awesome.

lil_d_mack_314
lil_d_mack_314

"We believe that players don't like those two or three years of hyping, with lots of web site counters and teasing all the same assets. And after three years of waiting you finally get information saying the game will show up half a year later than promised! Then, after those six months, two more months of waiting!" I'm already liking these guys. I won't miss this release! :D

Armored_
Armored_

Thumbs up if the electricity reminded you of Infamous!

OLDESTCHILD
OLDESTCHILD

OLDESTCHILD Posted Aug 2, 2011 7:26 pm PT I, too, still have fun with all the Doom versions, with all the ad-ons & expansion packs, as well as Quake 1, 2, 3, & 4 loaded up on several different machines. I like being able to follow the breadcrumbs & retrieve goodies along the way, but I also like to replay some levels just to see if there are alternatives. (Moving the exploding barrels before setting them off gives you extra options. Lobbing grenades & trying to bounce them into blind spots is fun, too.) These people sound like they have a goal, & I hope they reach it. I will be following this game. I doubt anyone likes reading about a game for eons before it finally comes out. (Too bad Duke seems to have Dumped.)

doktron
doktron

I will be getting this game. I love old style shooters without all the hand holding and numerous hints in games today.(climb this 15 ft ledge, but u cant hop over a 3 ft. barrier cuz the developer dosent want u to go there;use this spot for sniping not that one cuz someone thinks thats where u should go;pick up this rock or that pizza box for no reason...wow I can pick up a rock....whoopiesh it!)I also dont care for winning acheivments...completing the game on the hardest difficulty is the ultimate achievment!(most games today are to easy even on the most difficult mode.) These guys deserve our support cuz there arnt many devs making games for PC!

kaem79
kaem79

RDM? C.O.C? Anyone?

vfibsux
vfibsux

Awesome article, these guys sound great. Just don't go back on your thinking when/if you become successful. I love the direction so far.

wubeikk
wubeikk

when I read such news, it makes me proud of my origins :)

chechak7
chechak7

hard to die and AWESOME graphics ya cool game and PC exclusive cry console kids

madkingdom
madkingdom

"shooter on rails" nice one! =P btw...love the atmosphere (took me to Singularity) for a While. tracking this...definitely!

mxgod
mxgod

I don't like the bulkiness of the Graphical Interface.

kaem79
kaem79

One thing. What's the DRM on this game?

starduke
starduke

They had me at "PC exclusive"! It's even better because it's a cyberpunk FPS.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

I think I'm in love. SP, PC exclusive, first person, a company that thinks/wants what I do in a game, cyberpunk, -I think I have a favorite company to add to my short (2) list. In an industry that promises the world and 99% of the time never delievers, especially to the PC gamers, I'm afraid to be happy, but I find myself happy reguardless, and I feel hope- it's been so long. :) Deliver and you'll have some very loyal, supportive fans that have been waiting for someone to carry the torch onward for the PC gamers/PC gaming community. I've been playing the original Quake lately, because I've been so tired of the stale, boring, badly ported shooters out there. I can't wait to add this game to my list. I loved that interview and how they didn't hold back, and voiced what so many of us, the 'unheard gamers' have been saying for years. They gave us voice. Thank you Flying Wild Hog. You'll have my pre-order.

MousE0910
MousE0910

PC exclusive? No regenerating health and armor? Searching for keycards? Have I died and raised into Heaven? Hello, old-school classic shooter! Just hope it's going to be at least 8 hours long -_- I'm not too happy about buying weapons and add-ons with N.A.N.O. currency. Just keep weapons simple on find-in-environment basis. Still, I'm buying the game on day one.

Simeon_Crane
Simeon_Crane

Thank you for creating a real first person shooter. I hope you all succeed because we need more great games that are not consolized, and that are not "me-too" multiplayer games. I personally hate when they limit the single player aspect just to tack on another redition of multiplayer. Im getting it.

rashbourne
rashbourne

Cool! I officially hope that this game is both as awesome as it sounds and hugely successful. They're bucking every trend that I hate in modern shooters. Plus, screw consoles!

deepenigma
deepenigma

Thank God, finally someone making a game that doesn't focus only on multiplayer and leaves single player with a 4-5 hours lifeless boring campaign, that alone gets my support for this game. I don't get whats with that multiplayer thingy?sure some games can be enjoyed online but what about those great moments you have while playing an intense action+mystery/horro/sci-fi single player campaign and you can't figure where to go now, or where to find the key or card and all that stuff, that is great gaming. Thank you so much for making this game for single players, I hope it sells so well that more developers would concentrate on making games like these. and BTW, painkiller sux, its an overrated piece of junk with no story and the most boring gameplay I have ever seen, I don't know why its popular but I couldn't play it for more than 2 hours.

arash6510
arash6510

its been a loooong time that i didn't play a fps that its gameplay isn't scripted from start to end. every thing seems cool. but ill wait until the review comes out..

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

I could get this for free. I just need to download GZDoom or EDGE for Doom/2/Final. Funny how they mention Painkiller, too. It's not that I'm against this kind of design, but don't hearken back to an 18 year old shooter that kicks your 7 year old shooter's ass. However, I do think it's great that someone might be trying to reconceptualise the key hunt in 3D (and there's nothing wrong it with, it's fun). I honestly just have little faith when one mentions Quake and Painkiller as reference points because few games have as little environmental interactivity as Quake and Painkiller WAS essentially a shooter on rails.

sweatmonicaIdo
sweatmonicaIdo

@ Celerity11 No multiplayer is a great thing. That means they're going to focus solely on the singleplayer experience, which is ultimately what a game is all about. Games have gone way overboard with multiplayer and its gotten to the point you can't even tell one game form the other because they're all pretty much the same. Not to mention multiplayer loses its luster after a while.

Skargamer
Skargamer

@Gelugon-baat But if this company promises to provide what we 'disillusioned consumers' are craving, then we're happy. And since this is the first studio in a while to attempt such a goal, with the market being saturated with Call of Duty clones, this breath of fresh air is bound to get some attention. They took the right route and I can't wait to see the outcome. So why not get excited about something that has taken SO long to come?

subzero300
subzero300

A PC exclusive - fantastic!!! At least there are still some developers out there that are supporting the PC crowd. When are they going to realize that legitimate PC gamers are not pirates. Pirates will always exist and carry on with there piratey ways no matter what DRM measures are in place.

Celerity11
Celerity11

looking good but im still disappointed from the "no multiplayer" part

avi1708
avi1708

if this michal was a gal i wud'v kissed her!! i love EVERYTHING he said!!!! thumbs up thumbs up m ALL OvER this game!

pramodonius
pramodonius

This interview is pretty good. Michal Szustak and his associates really seem to be a focussed lot. I agree that PC gaming is neglected. Consoles don't do justice to visuals; and a hard core PC gamer doesn't need multiplayer. My full support to these guys! Looking forward to Hard Reset and their future games.

Freethinker101
Freethinker101

Really liked this interview, apart from when he called Philip K Dick a Cyber Punk author. Makes me wonder if he has ever read a book by him, or just seen the films based on his work? In my opinion the only one that has come close to being like the books is Adjustment Bureau. Very 50's in feel. And before you say anything I love Blade Runner, but it is nothing like Do Android dream of electronic sheep.

Angel_Grigorov
Angel_Grigorov

I'm so freaking tyred of all those console shooters ports on my PC (in which moving the cursor feels like you move it with an analogue stick instead of a mouse) that this game is on my wishlist right away. It's also more of a classic approach. My hands already itch.

covenan
covenan

" nowadays there are just too many games focused only on multiplayer. We had to choose whether we wanted to put all our efforts into creating the best single-player experience or add a multiplayer mode just to fill the check box and still get it done worse than in other games focused on multiplayer modes." for this quotes alone, i would buy the game

Thortheus
Thortheus

This guy seems like a douche.

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

It sounds like these guys know what they are doing. The game looks like it will be good and they understand that if you want a good game don't make it for every gaming system and if you want an awesome game make it for PC. Plus it will be nice to move away from the regenerating health aspect. It makes a FPS actually challenging cause you don't just rush every battle you got to consider how much damage you take forcing you to actually use cover not just wait in cover and rush again.

sandspectre
sandspectre

Mmmh..sounds interesting and different. It has in favor that is single-player only and PC-exclusive, this means that all the efforts (time, money and manpower) are focused on the singleplayer and on only platform, so we won't have to deal with a multiplatform title with subpar overall quality as it being most of the time nowadays. Hard Reset, if everything goes well, could be a great and longlasting snack until DooM 4 comes out, even more if they make the game moddable, and even release later an add-on or expansion pack (instead of a half-arsed DLC) with a multiplayer mode.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Blade Runner influence? You bet I'm in. Good stuff!!

krishnaV_
krishnaV_

Looks impressive. For a PC game.. this could be good !

Einhanderkiller
Einhanderkiller

@ecs33 Yeah, Resistance definitely had an old-school'ish feel and that was a reason why I really liked the game. Resistance 2 was kinda... meh, though. Resistance 3 looks better but I dunno.

TKH258
TKH258

Now, this is something. A PC Exclusive! yeah....

ecs33
ecs33

I actually thought the Resistance series brought back alot of classic elements. Atleast that is what I remember thinking going through various parts of the second one. This one looks pretty interesting. I think it's a buy for me.

yahyakun
yahyakun

nowadays games, you dont really know when is real life or not. (talking about the guy's face in the video)

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

I hope the story is really long and has collectibles worth looking for. Due to the fact that there's no multiplayer, the game will need keep it's story and replay value length high up. But, from what I've seen so far, it looks like there won't be a problem.

alchemist889
alchemist889

When I first played MW2 and saw the "Follow" icon above my NPC teammates head, I knew the genre was past due for a hard reset.

EtherUnion
EtherUnion

Michal Szustak: There are many games published on PCs that are just ports from consoles, and we all know that today the power of a current-gen console is similar to a four- to five-year-old PC. Cuts deep eh? *wink *wink

Raxyman
Raxyman

@Flying Wild Hog 100% SUPPORT Surefire buy if it's on Steam, hell, it might be the first game i'll ever pre-order.

RetroSEAL
RetroSEAL

This looked like another generic sci fi shooter, and then I remember CoD, and this game is now extremely creative.

Mortos13
Mortos13

Finally! A game that goes back to classic shooters. I wish more games would do this these days such as Duke Nukem Forever, because we all know that did the trick.... *wink* *wink* *cough* *cough*

jsBASH
jsBASH

"Why reveal so late? We believe that players don't like those two or three years of hyping, with lots of web site counters and teasing all the same assets. And after three years of waiting you finally get information saying the game will show up half a year later than promised! Then, after those six months, two more months of waiting! Personally, I really hate it." I hope someone at Blizzard Entertainment read that.

Eray17
Eray17

I hope my PC can run it. The game looks badass.