The Punisher: No Mercy returns to Frank Castle's roots as a badass, take-no-prisoners SOB bent on one thing: punishment. This fall, you, too, will be able to take the law into your own hands as the famed Marvel vigilante in the arena-based first-person shooter developed by Zen Studios. Developed exclusively for the PlayStation Network, The Punisher: No Mercy will let you take control of several heroes and villains from the Punisher universe and duke it out in eight-player multiplayer combat. We sat down with Zsolt Kigyossy, managing director of Zen Studios, to get the first details on No Mercy. Here's what he had to say.
GameSpot: The Punisher isn't just any old license, but one of Marvel's most beloved (and badass) characters. What are you hoping to contribute to the Punisher universe?
Zsolt Kigyossy: The Punisher is probably one of the most complex characters of Marvel. He went through so much, and he can be spiritual and understanding. However in our game we aim to focus on the violence and grit of Marvel’s current MAX comic book series, with some influence from War Journal and even a little bit of the ‘80s and ‘90s comics we all grew up with. We’re definitely expecting an M rating from the ESRB for a true Punisher experience.
GS: Tell us from the top: What is The Punisher: No Mercy?
ZK: The Punisher: No Mercy is a first-person shooter based on Marvel's Punisher universe, offering exciting arcade-style shooting action with fast-paced online multiplayer and powered by the latest version of the Unreal Engine 3--so brace yourself for endless action. The game will be exclusively available for the PlayStation 3, downloadable from the PlayStation Network, which is exceptional in this category.
GS: Which villains and allies will be playable, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
ZK: There are eight playable characters in the game, and each of them arrives with a favorite weapon set and special abilities. Some characters include the Punisher, Silver Sable, Barracuda, Jigsaw, and Bushwacker. Before each map, the player can choose one or two special abilities for his or her character, called "mods." These mods have both advantages and disadvantages, so one must carefully consider which one to use. This system allows the player to customize the game experience and adapt it to his or her own play style.
GS: Break down the different mission types and game modes in The Punisher: No Mercy.
ZK: There are several game modes in both single- and multiplayer. The story mode in single-player is essentially a ladder of four matches on different maps and with different game types. The matches progressively get harder until a climactic confrontation with Jigsaw at the end. The heart of the game, however, is the multiplayer experience. The Punisher: No Mercy has several multiplayer game modes such as classic deathmatch, one-vs-many, and co-op. Up to eight players can play in an arena.
GS: The Punisher isn't the Punisher without a kickass arsenal of weapons. How many weapons can each player carry, and what are some examples of devastating firearms in No Mercy?
ZK: The game aims to avoid being unrealistic, so none can carry dozens of weapons--three per match are at hand, one from each category (close quarters, long range, and special weapon). The silent killers will find their favorite (knife, or other silent weapons), but there are louder solutions available, such as shotgun, carbine, or something even bigger. As you collect more and more frags or weapon power-ups, your gun becomes more and more lethal.
GS: A new Punisher movie is in the works for release this fall. Is there any tie-in between No Mercy and the movie?
ZK: With the new movie out, the Punisher character will surely receive major attention, and honestly, this is one of the reasons to release the game in line with the movie. However, the game has little to share with the movie itself--it is deeply rooted in the Marvel comic book series. The Punisher: No Mercy is true to the origins of the main character, has its own unique presentation style and independent storyline.
GS: How many arenas are included, and which iconic locations did you choose and why?
ZK: The fights take place in arenalike levels. The game launches with four arenas, the story and the game locations are interlocking, and if I want to keep the story for the players, I can only say that the Punisher not only enjoys the shiny parts of the Big Apple, but descends after the gangsters to where they are lurking, like docks, factories, and the like.
GS: Will any vehicles be included?
ZK: Vehicles generally are less important in the Punisher universe, so we decided to focus on polishing the character-based action.
GS: You've managed to procure artwork from Marvel artist Mike Deodato, who has worked on everything from The Avengers to Punisher: War Journal. How has he helped add authenticity to the look of No Mercy?
ZK: Mike did a fantastic job on helping us embrace the most honest presentation of these great Marvel characters. The storytelling comic book panels within the game have been drawn by Mike.
GS: Are you planning to tell the story in single-player mode through comic book-inspired still screens, or voice-acted cutscenes?
ZK: The story is presented on comic book pages, but not only the good old stills, but ones with special effects and voice-acted storytelling.
GS: Finally, what do you think Punisher fans will enjoy most when the play No Mercy for themselves?
ZK: I believe players will enjoy most the appearance of the beloved or hated characters of the Punisher universe in the cutting-edge presentation and cool voices, the pregame balancing of strategies with the selection of weapons and special features, and the big-time fight itself with merciless kills, fun, and tactics. The Punisher: No Mercy is unlike anything else found on the PSN with its unique, quick pacing, arena-style levels, and instant action ensuring a fun experience even in short play sessions.