Lagsters Q&A

We chat with three members of the Ukraine-based Boolat Games development team about their upcoming vehicular combat game.

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Ukraine-based developer Boolat Games recently launched a Web site for a previously unannounced racing game called Lagsters. Very few details about the game have been released on the site to date, so we went straight to the team working on the game for more information. The three members of the team we spoke to included director Alekseyev Aleksey, game designer Akimushkin Stas, and project manager Chigorin Alexander.

GameSpot: Where did the name Lagsters come from?

Akimushkin Stas: We had way too many versions of the name for the game, and choosing one was a real headache. We wanted a name that would sound nice, and we wanted a name that would make the game stand out against others. After throwing around terms like "new racing game," "incredible speed," and "extreme weapons," we decided they didn't impress us much and decided to do a complete turnaround and think of something that would be the opposite of speed. Lagsters eventually came up.

GS: How many different vehicles will be there be in Lagsters, and aside from their appearance, what will the main differences be?

AS: There will be eight vehicles, and their configuration and capabilities will differ a lot. They will also have different restrictions on mounting engines, wheels, and weapons.

Chigorin Alexander: Some of the vehicles are fast and mobile but don't have the capacity to carry heavy weapons. Others are heavy and not so fast, but they can carry big and heavy guns. The player will have the choice of racing in a vehicle that can win races by destroying enemies or in one that is built purely for speed.

GS: Weapons obviously play a large role in the game. How will these be attained, and will there be power-ups to collect on the track during a race?

AS: As far as weapons go, we won't be following in the footsteps of Wipeout and its numerous clones, so players won't be collecting weapons during races. It's all about the money--it's as simple as that. In between races, players will use any money they've made to purchase additional firepower for their vehicle.

Power-ups, on the other hand, will be collected out on the circuit. In addition to cash and nitros, players will be able to get power-ups that repair their vehicle, make their car temporarily immune to opponents' weapons, or upgrade their own weapons for a period of time.

GS: Why did you decide to use tube-based circuits in the game as opposed to conventional tracks?

CA: Well, there are a lot of ordinary racing games in the market, so it's really not that easy to come up with something new. We didn't want to create a clone of any existing racer, so since tubes are far less common, we decided they'd be more interesting.

GS: Presumably the tubes limit the number of camera angles available to you. Which views will be available for players to choose from when playing Lagsters?

CA: Players will be able to race their vehicle using a camera behind the vehicle at both a great distance and a small distance. There will also be a camera mounted on the front bumper. Because combat is important in the game, we anticipate most players using the camera furthest from the vehicle so that they can see more of their surrounding area.

AS: We'll have various camera angles available, but there will be no view from the steering wheel--we think it's unnecessary. It's not difficult to make a camera positioned behind the steering wheel, but who will play the game from this position? We'll implement three or four different playable cameras. I think that will be enough.

GS: Can you tell us about some of the multiplayer modes that will feature in the game?

AS: In addition to a few fairly obvious multiplayer modes, Lagsters will feature some interesting and original modes of play such as greed and fox and hounds. In greed mode, any cash collected by players becomes additional armor, and as players take damage they'll drop amounts of cash behind them for other players to collect. In fox and hounds mode, one player will assume the role of the fox while the rest become hounds. For the fox to win, it's required to complete a certain number of laps before it gets killed by one of the hounds. Any hound player that successfully kills the fox will become the fox in the next game. Another interesting mode we're working on is called divided glory, which will see players splitting up into teams of racers and blockers.

GS: Which games would you consider to be Lagsters' most direct competition, and why should players opt for Lagsters over these games?

Alekseyev Aleksey: Games which look like Lagsters can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Ballistics is one that comes to mind, but the main difference is that Lagsters is not a simulator of a bullet. Our game features arcade-style life-or-death racing where you have to survive as well as win.

AS: I couldn't find any PC game that could be a direct competitor for Lagsters. There are some games that Lagsters is similar to in some ways, but if I name them you won't believe I'm comparing Lagsters to them.

GS: Have you given the game's soundtrack much thought at this stage?

AS: Manifold is a good word for our soundtrack. Our musicians are successfully working with both real instruments and synthesized samples, combining the sound and making really good tunes. I've also seen them using hand-made devices--like distortion filters--with no case at all, grungy valves here and there, some switches, jacks, and numerous electric units. That might seem weird, but it sounds just great.

GS: Any chance of the game shipping with an editor so that players can create their own circuits?

AA: Yes, we're thinking about this, and we hope it will be possible.

CA: There is an opportunity for us to include an editor with the game, but there are also some technical problems that we are trying to solve.

GS: No release date for Lagsters has been announced at present. How long has the game been in development, and do you have any idea when it might be finished?

AA: Well, you can expect it at the end of this summer or the beginning of autumn. The exact release date will be announced a little closer to the time. The first day when our programmers started developing Lagsters was at the end of autumn last year. But the active phase of this project began in the middle of last winter.

GS: Is it conceivable that Lagsters might be released on a game console in the future?

CA: We've investigated the opportunity of porting the game to the PS2; however, we can't say with absolute certainty that Lagsters will be published on the console.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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