Q&A: Hunter: The Reckoning
GameSpot speaks with Scot Lane at Digital Mayhem about the company's upcoming Microsoft Xbox game.
Interplay recently announced the development of Hunter: The Reckoning for Microsoft's Xbox. The game takes place in White Wolf's famous World of Darkness--the same setting as the famous White Wolf pen-and-paper role-playing games, including Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf the Apocalypse. Hunter: The Reckoning will be a third-person action game in which you will take the role of an empowered human who fights creatures of the night. We got a chance to speak to Digital Mayhem's Scot Lane and ask him a few questions about Interplay, Digital Mayhem's, and High Voltage's first Xbox game.
GameSpot: The World of Darkness RPGs are known for their graphic nature and dark themes. Is Hunter being marketed solely to mature gamers?
Scot Lane: Because of the nature of the license, Hunter will be for an older audience. As a Hunter, you will be killing creatures and there will be blood shown, so to answer your question, yes. We thought about making the game appeal to a younger audience, but it kept taking us away from the license, and it just didn't make sense.
GS: What made you want to create an Xbox game based on WW's newest RPG, instead of one of its more-established franchises, such as Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, or Changeling?
SL: That's a really good question. To be honest, we looked closely at all of the White Wolf franchises. Digital Mayhem's focus is the action genre, so with that in mind, the Hunter franchise translated perfectly to our type of game. Actually, this is one of those titles that everybody has been in agreement on since it was first discussed.
GS: Who are the imbued, and what role will they play in Hunter?
SL: The imbuing is the moment that Hunters are able to see monsters that walk among us as normal people. As a witness to a supernatural event, normal humans become imbued with awareness and a magical energy, which the newly imbued hunter can control as edges. These people are driven to destroy the monster's grip on society.
In our game, they hunt the walking dead.
GS: What can you tell us about the main characters? Are there going to be character-creation/RPG elements? How does this work within the four-player mode?
SL: Our story revolves around all four of the hunters and their unique relationships with the events in the game. The characters were pre-created by some rabid White Wolf fans at High Voltage Software, and they fit within the White Wolf world perfectly. While there will be a few RPG elements (tracking the progress of your characters), the game is securely rooted in the action genre.
The four main characters will all work together in a shared-screen co-op mode.
GS: How closely will the Hunter game resemble the RPG? Do characters have edges and virtues, and can they develop derangements?
SL: Because our game is such a strong action-based title, we focused on the best-suited elements from the RPG, including monsters, edges, and glyphs. As your readers may or may not know, edges are similar to spells in other RPGs, while glyphs make perfect power-ups. And of course, since each character is wildly different from the others, some will have more-powerful edges and others will be more proficient with traditional weapons like swords and shotguns.
GS: Given the multiplayer elements of the game, are you considering including any online modes for netplay?
SL: At this point we are not. We really want to focus on making the single-player and co-op experience great. We will definitely look into online modes if we do a sequel, but at this point, we want to spend all of our effort making the gameplay and artwork rock!
GS: What can you tell us about the creatures that the players will face? Will Hunter borrow themes or characters from the other parts of the World of Darkness?
SL: A big part of the license are the awesome characters that are found in the World of Darkness, so yes we will be using familiar characters. Fans of Hunter may also see a signature character or two.
GS: Can you talk about the AtlasTech game engine? How has it allowed the team to realize its goals? Any special features that helped this happen?
SL: At this point, we can't discuss it too much, but we can tell you that it is a proprietary multiplatform game engine technology created by High Voltage Software specifically for next-generation platforms.
GS: What will make fans of White Wolf games love the Xbox version of Hunter: The Reckoning?
SL: Well, you will have some purists that will want a strict RPG. And maybe in the future, that is what we will give them, and we have been known to deliver top-notch RPGs like Baldur's Gate. However, our original idea was to make an action-based Hunter game that would appeal to Hunter fans and action gamers as well.
GS: Are any of the team members big fans of White Wolf games? What's the team background, and how will this help it realize Hunter's success?
SL: The design team at High Voltage Software are fanatics. When they received a shipment of goodies from the people at White Wolf, they were fighting over the Hunter: The Reckoning official game dice! Needless to say, we felt confident that we enlisted the right developer to tackle the product and strictly adhere to the White Wolf license.
GS: Finally, any words for fans of the Hunter pen-and-paper game or White Wolf fans at large?
SL: We are committed to giving them the best experience possible. We will be faithful to the World of Darkness because we love it ourselves, and we hope the White Wolf fans climb on board and enjoy the ride. If all goes well, I think White Wolf and Interplay will have a beautiful future together.
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