Here's a list of three things that are cool: video games, John Woo, and Chow Yun-Fat. Now, what if you took all three of those scientifically proven cool items and combined them into one? Assuming the universe survived the massive awesomeness explosion, you'd have Stranglehold, the upcoming action adventure game for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game is a collaboration between Woo, the famed Hong Kong action director; Chow, the star of some of Woo's most revered bullet-ridden films; and game developer Midway. We recently had a chance to speak with Stranglehold game director Brian Eddy about how development is going on the title, the input of Woo and Chow on the game's direction, and some of the special butt-kicking moves that will be featured in the game.
GameSpot: Can you give us an update on how development is going?
Brian Eddy: Development is going well. All the major features are up and running in the game, and we are focused now mostly on creating content and polishing up the gameplay. We still have a lot to get done, but at this point the game is really fun to play and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
GS: How's it shaping up on both platforms?
BE: All platforms are looking very good, and the game looks great on the next-gen hardware. We don't anticipate the visual or gameplay experience being very different on either platform, so we think we will be able to satisfy PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 owners with Stranglehold.
GS: Has PS3 development gone better now that the console is out and the hardware is final?
BE: Yes, it is always easier to develop on final hardware, as you can begin locking down code that the game relies on without having to worry that things like the rendering pipeline will change out from under you. The PS3 version is looking great!
GS: Has the game changed since it was first announced? Is it still in line with what you all originally envisioned or has it evolved into something else?
BE: Stranglehold is 100 percent still in line with our original vision of the game. It's an action shooter that truly encapsulates the authentic cinematic John Woo experience, allowing players to engage in intense gun battles, while flowing seamlessly through environments and taking down enemies in a creative and stylistic way.
GS: Since the game has been known for a while, how much did fan reaction affect development?
BE: Well, since we have a lot of big John Woo fans on the team, I would say a lot! But how fan reaction off the team affected development, I would say the outflow of interest and excitement has helped to spur the team on to make the best, most authentic John Woo game possible. And all the teams' hard work is paying off, as we believe that Stranglehold is going to be the best action game on PC and next-gen hardware.
GS: Can you walk us through the new smart-bomb moves we're seeing and explain how they fit into gameplay? How vital was it to include Mexican standoff?
BE: We are going to be showing off three of our key Tequila-bomb moves:
Precision Aim - This allows players to go into first person where they can directly target critical hit points on an enemy to take them out with one-shot kills, or even focus on an element in the environment with precise aim, such as a propane tank causing a massive explosion in one area. It's also great for those guys hiding behind cover that may be hard to hit otherwise. We consider this to be a good long-range attack.
Barrage - This move unleashes a flurry of bullets at high speed that takes out any enemies (and their cover) that are in your path. This is a great focused frontal attack. If a bunch of enemies are running directly toward you, barrage is the perfect attack to take them out quickly. It's also a lot of fun to blow up the environment around the enemies to take them out with falling debris.
Spin Attack - This is a medium range 360 degree attack in the vein of the "smart bombs" in old arcade games that clear all the enemies in the immediate area surrounding you.
Each of these Tequila bombs has a specific tactical function. Precision aim for long-range enemies, barrage for straight-on frontal attacks, and spin for when enemies surround you.
Mexican standoff is a key stylistic feature of John Woo, so we knew we had to include it in some form. We've made it into a quick minigame of fast-action choices just like you would see in John Woo's movies.
GS: Have Chow Yun-Fat and John Woo played the game lately? What do they think?
BE: Chow Yun-Fat and John Woo are not big gamers, so they don't play games themselves very often, but they do review Stranglehold regularly and give very good comments on how to take the cinematics to the next level and help make the overall look and feel of the game true to the movies it is styled on.
GS: Can you tell us about the museum level you're showing off? What aspects of the game does it show off?
BE: The museum level is set in Chicago and features several exhibits that allowed us to have a variety of different and interesting objects to interact with and show off Stranglehold's Massive D. For instance, there is a room full of dinosaur fossils, like a brachiosaurus (looks a bit like a brontosaurus), that you can run up from tail to head and get to the second story of the room. But, of course, because everything in Stranglehold is destructible, if you linger too long on the brachiosaurus, enemy fire will bring it down with you on it. However, you can turn the tables on the enemies, as well, taking out even a large group of them if you open up on the brachiosaurus and make it collapse on them.
GS: What can you tell us about achievements or online in the Xbox game? Can we expect to see a Marketplace demo before it ships?
BE: All that we are saying right now is that we will have numerous achievements in the game and that we will support online. In terms of a demo before we ship, that is a possibility, but we cannot yet confirm it.
GS: Is there any unique content in the PS3 version?
BE: Stranglehold will feature virtually the same content across all three platforms (PC, Xbox 360, and PS3), but there may be some minor things we change or add for specific versions. For instance, we are hoping to take advantage of the PS3 Sixaxis controller.
GS: When is the game hitting stores?
BE: Stranglehold is currently slated to ship Summer 2007.
GS: Thanks for your time.