Section 8: Prejudice Q&A - Exclusive First Details

Get the first details on the follow-up to Section 8 in this exclusive interview with design director Brett Norton.

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The original Section 8 was an unusual multiplayer shooter that let you and your teammates duke it out online on vast battlefields, armed with custom weapon loadouts, drivable vehicles, and an enhanced type of sprinting called "overdrive." Unfortunately, the game had issues with its multiplayer population and in other areas, but developer TimeGate Studios intends to make good on the original game's potential and produce an even better game in Section 8: Prejudice. Design director Brett Norton explains.

GameSpot: We understand that TimeGate's approach to this new project has to do with its commitment to improving on every aspect of the original game. Can you explain?

Brett Norton: Section 8: Prejudice is a huge evolution of everything we learned while making Section 8 and the incorporation of a lot of great feedback from the community and fans. When we started on Prejudice, we pored through all available resources we had: reviews, community polls, forums questions, post-release focus testing feedback, gameplay metrics…the whole nine yards. We took a hard look at what players liked and asked ourselves, "What do we need to do in order to make Prejudice awesome?"

To that end, we came up with huge list of everything we wanted to do to make Prejudice an amazing game and set out to do it. I'm very happy to say that we've completed nearly the entire list.

GS: Let's get a bit more specific. For instance, one of the most commonly cited issues about the first game was that the single-player game was primarily a primer for multiplayer, and the game's multiplayer experience wasn't perhaps what the studio had hoped it would turn out to be. How is the team approaching single-player play in the new game?

Section 8: Prejudice will build on everything that was great in the original game.

BN: The single-player experience in Prejudice is a stand-alone experience. Yeah, it's still a great tool for teaching new players about the game mechanics, but it has a fully fleshed-out story and vast amount of custom content. In fact, it's one of the most pronounced elements of Prejudice, and we expect the single-player crowd to have a lot of fun with the campaign.

We really wanted to do something grand with Prejudice's campaign, and we were very glad to put as much love into it as we have.

GS: One of the biggest issues with the multiplayer seemed to be the unfortunately low server population, which was an issue that was hard not to notice because many of the multiplayer maps were so huge. How will this be addressed in the new game? Smaller multiplayer maps? More intimate multiplayer modes that function better with smaller groups?

BN: Matchmaking, server population control, and pacing (tied to map size) have been our major multiplayer focuses. Prejudice does a great job of getting players into the right game with a lot of human players, thanks to some hefty upgrades to our matchmaking tools. That's one of the behind-the-scenes improvements we've made that will just make everything better, even if you don't actively see it working.

In terms of pacing and gameplay, we spent a lot of time tweaking map size to provide a better gameplay experience. We normalized a lot of the travel times and generally played to the strengths of the best maps in Section 8. We studied the community's feedback here and focused on the maps that withstood the test of time.

That's not to say we're turning the game into a small-scale corridor crawl. We're still committed to making great large-scale, outdoor experiences. Prejudice really nails that experience by putting all of our knowledge and the community's feedback to the test. You get this feeling of a large, dense, immersive map existing all around you, but you're never bored or without an action hot spot nearby.

You can still expect to see huge outdoor maps.

GS: Some players also took issue with how the original game's vehicles weren't as exciting or impactful as they perhaps could have been. How will the new game improve on this issue?

BN: Experienced players often did amazingly well in the vehicles, and our goal has been to bring that same experience to everyone. Prejudice solves this by supporting several very different control schemes for the vehicles. This isn't just, "Oh hey, we remapped two buttons for you." We've actually implemented completely different control and camera systems, and we're giving players the choice to use whichever they like best. Veteran players will feel right at home with the advanced controls, and new Prejudice fans will find the vehicles are an absolute blast to drive as well.

[To make vehicles more exciting], we spent a lot of time putting some more substance into vehicle gameplay. Tanks are even deadlier and have a much easier time running down unsuspecting infantry. It's going to be a game-changing moment when one of the heavy tanks comes to the battlefield, and it'll take a coordinated response to bring one down.

We're not going to reveal all our vehicle secrets just yet though; so stay tuned to hear more about them later. There are more vehicle goodies in store…

GS: The original game's primary multiplayer mode was Conquest, but it included elements of team deathmatch and free-for-all. Will we see Conquest make a return? What can you tell us about your plans for multiplayer in the new game? Any new modes?

New multiplayer modes will also be dropping in.

BN: Conquest is one of the core multiplayer modes in Prejudice, and it has an all-new roster of dynamic missions. There are a few returning faces from Section 8, but we've tossed in a couple of new missions to shake the gameplay up even more. We're pretty excited about seeing how players react to the changes, especially the new Elimination mission. More on that one later.

As far as other modes; yes, there are now multiple game modes. One of the best modes is the dedicated Swarm mode. It was actually a server option in Section 8, but our community loved the option so much we ended up turning it into its own full game mode. The concept: You and a few friends atop a fortress against an overwhelming swarm of enemies, utilizing on-demand turrets and vehicles to stem the tide. The on-demand deployables make building a defensible base such a unique aspect of the game mode. We've seen internal testers play each map several different ways, and it's awesome to see two teams approach the same map using completely different tactics. The harder difficulties really force you to think not only about where and what deployables you'll build, but [also] what loadouts and positions your squad will take around the map. It's basically co-op first-person shooter gameplay meets tower defense.

Swarm's now the favorite game mode amongst the developers, thanks to the intensity and teamwork it brings. The mode's hardest difficulty setting, "insane," is exactly that. Insane difficulty is brutal, but it's winnable and makes you want to come back to try it over and over by refining your tactics and positioning each time until you pull it off.

GS: The first game had a weapon-plus-gadget loadout system that let players customize their experience with different weapons and gadget items. Will this system be returning? If so, how will it be better?

BN: There is a highly customizable loadout system in Prejudice. In fact, that's one of the best parts of the game that is included in all game modes--even the campaign. Prejudice packs more weapons and equipment, and we're pleased with the sheer amount of fun options we can give the player.

When we talk about loadout customization options, we're not just talking about, "Oh, do I take grenade A or grenade B in my grenade slot?" We're more on the lines of, "Do I take the fragmentation grenades, the EMP grenades, or just ditch grenades entirely and take the napalm mortar launcher instead?"

With multiple inventory and radically different items for each slot (plus multiple types of each item), the loadout variety you can achieve in Prejudice will have your head spinning with cool possibilities.

GS: We also recall that the first game had overdrive, an enhanced form of sprinting that players could use to actually frag their enemies at top speeds. Will we see a return of overdrive? If so, will it work about the same or will there be any differences?

BN: Overdrive is a core mechanic in Prejudice's gameplay, and we love it. Fundamentally, it's still the same concept; a kind of supersprint. You can move across fields of fire quickly with overdrive, and combined with the jetpack, you get a kind of mobility that other shooters just don't have. If the fight isn't going in your favor, you can reposition yourself to a new spot quickly rather than make a slow retreat backward or have to crawl between cover points to get to a new location.

And fragging other players with overdrive is still in, and it's still a blast. Slamming into the back of an unsuspecting enemy and watching him ragdoll across the screen is a great humiliation kill. We didn't make a ton of changes to overdrive because it's been so well received. But fans have been clamoring for something to make overdrive fragging better, so we put in a loadout item that lets you perform these kills a little more easily.

You'll still be able to choose a custom weapon loadout and drive vehicles as well.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the new game?

BN: Fans of Swarm and Super Swarm in Section 8 are in for a real treat. Prejudice is going to knock your socks off. We'll be rolling out more details about Prejudice over the next few months, so keep track of us.

Lastly, a big thank you to the community for all your feedback. We listened, and you're going to like what you see. Keep posting on the forums!

GS: Thanks, Brett.

Discussion

88 comments
wexorian
wexorian

why thery are not making and campagin?

athenian29
athenian29

This didn't really answer any questions for me. Is this a standalone sequel, or an expansion? Is it download-only? And for all of you fellow Gamespotters, does this game still have people playing it online?

rayhaku
rayhaku

The interview went basically like this: GS: "How're you going to fix multiplayer?" BN: "The maps are absolutely beautiful and we love our fans" Indirect answers. This interview hardly went anywhere at all. But I still liked the first one.

CrazyK27
CrazyK27

This game looks really good, i hope they dont use GFWL again though....

ildamos
ildamos

The first one flopped. I fervently hope Prejudice will set things right for this series. It shows promise.

bibliomaniac15
bibliomaniac15

Saw the screenshot from the front page and thought it was Halo for a sec.

pieisnotpie
pieisnotpie

i hope u dont need an internet connection to play because the only computer we have with good graphics card is a almost dead no internet thing

Gammet25
Gammet25

I hope this end better than the Kane And Lynch squeal.

Epsilon47
Epsilon47

I liked this game when I played it. There wasn't really anything wrong with it. However, there never felt like there was anything that stood out about it. Except for the fact that you and your enemies were slow lumbering behemoths, with customizable load outs on big maps. I want more! Hopefully the single player segment will make me care more about the setting, but this game needs something to really stand out. This franchise is like selling MAG, but having a multiplayer limit of 16. Okay... it's a multiplayer shooter... aaaannnnnddd...

UnitedGamerz
UnitedGamerz

@red-ray Dude S8 has awesome gameplay. You shouldnt judge a game by the graphics. Would you like a game with only good graphics and without solid gameplay.

poorisaac
poorisaac

Unnecessary really this game. Most likely will be a disappointment like the first one. Any nay sayers? Prove me wrong Timegate. Prove me wrong.

Arturo84
Arturo84

i really hated that it seemed i needed to go through 2 reloads just to drop one guy in the first game

mf1986
mf1986

take courage to make a sequel to an average game, i give them that

rrcp1us
rrcp1us

@sureshot_rob: What do you mean with "now there is battlefield"? Did you know that Battlefield is older than Call of Duty? Battlefield has been a longtime competitor of the CoD games and remains a very good one at that. Also, there is no "a" in experience.

sureshot_rob
sureshot_rob

I said this when the original came out,and I will say it again. With the domination of halo and COD( now there is battlefield which makes it even worse) Any game trying to get into the multiplayer market has to have a awsome multiplayer experiance, zero proplems from the start and a shed load of money to promo and generate hype. The odds are stacked so high against this game. Shame really

jthale2000
jthale2000

@vernon344 In effect the single player campaign was just a tutorial for the multiplayer. Online this game shines just a shame so few people played it. I'll probably pick this up at some stage.

Pieleanu65
Pieleanu65

nothing better then battlefield series till now....

vernon344
vernon344

the first title was horrendous, why in the world would they invest in a second title, i beat the game in little more than 5 hours and mechanics were way off! this i going to be a trap game anybody that buys this i feel for you, you should know better.

z176
z176

@ VENOM_8625 This doesn't even come close to halo reach, don't even try to compare this to halo reach!

OB-47
OB-47

The graphics look better than the first and it looks more intense.

VENOM_8625
VENOM_8625

Looks great looking forward to it I love Sci-Fi First Person Shooters, & when I build my pc hopefully next year so I can play some good games because my current Pc really sucks & can't play any games.This game looks like a Halo Reach killer no disrespect to all you Halo fan boys/girls out there but this game looks like it could rival Halo Reach. & since I don't have an Xbox 360 this is the closest I will get to Halo Reach since they won't put any of the new Halo's on Pc...

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

I'm surprised the original even got a 7.5! It was pretty bland and the weapons sucked. The walker you used was useless because its machineguns were weaker than a pistol (seriously no joke) and it moved like a sloth. Hopefully this one will be good.

Coronithofcork
Coronithofcork

I liked this franchise because it reminded me of Halo. But it is a lot different than halo. I think I just might pick the game up if the review is 8.0 or higher.

GLuna46
GLuna46

im surprised they are making a sequel. the first one was meh. it just felt like a generic shooter. i mean the idea that u can spawn where where u like on the map by flying into it is cool but over all the game play is just to meh. but i wouldnt say its a GREAT game its like eh.

Divina_Commedia
Divina_Commedia

@kikosurf99 I have literally no idea what you just said because you swear like a 12 year old.

LeMarfanz
LeMarfanz

@kikosurf99 That's a pretty negative thing to say. Any game they produce is better than your language.

kikosurf99
kikosurf99

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Mc_Trickz
Mc_Trickz

Yeah,Marques tens razão :P !

Marques123
Marques123

This better not be as disappointing as LP2!

Skarbrand
Skarbrand

The first game had absolute brilliant potential its just the single player didnt feel right to me for some reason bes part for me it was funny as hell launching yourself from the sky and landing on people

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

Might keep an eye out on this one; they better have some kind of originality this time though...the gaming scene is simply too competitive to let games like the original break through the ranks. @XxHYDROZILLAxX I take it you haven't played Dark Corners of The Earth or ARMA 2.

destinyDemon
destinyDemon

as long as the weapons are better than halo im in cause there is no way in hell a good shooter involves shooting them and then running through suicidle gun fire and hitting them

XxHYDROZILLAxX
XxHYDROZILLAxX

@GodsPoison: I feel you on that one. FPS all feel the same no matter what weapons you get. Plus cover mechanics suck bewels in FPS.

patrick-star
patrick-star

the last section 8 had lot of issues in controling and weak weapns. i hope they improving it with this new section 8 Prejudice.

mdboomer
mdboomer

I never thought I'd see a sequel to this game. It really wasn't that good of a game.

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

Any chance they'll put it in 3rd person? I hate FPS's i prefer to actually SEE the character im playing as and the one that the artists and creators spent hours creating.

redhawkt7
redhawkt7

"section 8:prejudice will build on everything great about the original game" does that mean they are starting from scratch?

red-ray
red-ray

@UnitedGamerz as I'm sure halo has a superior gameplay and you said this game has bugs and problems in graphic so what's so good about this.

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

JoeSour
JoeSour

@Stonemotmot First thing that popped into my mind when I first saw the original. Brings back memories....

Stonemotmot
Stonemotmot

I enjoyed section 8's large maps and turret defense systems. this next game should me much better. Also does this game remind anyone else of the TRIBES series.

azaiarnyi
azaiarnyi

This is awesome! Finally they're actually listening to the fans and making the game what the original SHOULD have been.

joshua2b
joshua2b

People are still interested in this game really