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Restricted Area interview

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Restricted Area interview

Interview - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Fri 24 January 2003, 01:46:23

Tags: Jan Beuck; Master Creating; Restricted Area

1.) Who exactly are Master Creating? Would there be anything your team or team members have done in the past that we might have heard about?

master creating is a development studio located in Hamburg, Germany. It has been founded by Martin Jaessing and me, Jan Beuck, in 1999, and currently employs nine individuals. Since 1999 we have been working on IRIS, the Restricted Area engine.

2.) Can you tell us a little bit about why you picked a Sci-Fi setting? What type of Sci-Fi are we going to be seeing in this game?

The scenario can be described as dark future, comparable to movies like "Bladerunner" and "Matrix". We choose this, because their have been so many fantasy games in the past that it has become boring to play always the same characters and kill always the same monsters for always the same treasures

We want something new. We are also fans of the dark future pen-and-paper RPGs "Shadowrun" and "Cyberpunk", and they have great influence on Restricted Area.

3.) Restricted Area is said to be an action CRPG. In your opinion, what makes it "action"? What makes it "CRPG"?

It´s "action" as you will fights most of the time you play. It´s a "CRPG", as you play real characters with edges and flaws which can interact with the environment and the people.

4.) Restricted Area has four basic character archetypes, a computer expert, a martial artist, a PSI user, and a gun toting character. Can you tell us a little bit about how these are presented in the game? How does the game play change with each archetype?

The gameplay is very different. The gun guy is great at range combat and the only one who can use heavy weapons. The female computer expert is relatively weak herself, but guarded by a flying drone which can be controlled simultaneous. She is also the only character which can enter the Cyberspace.

The martial arts fighter focuses on athletics and close combat, either with a Katana or with cyber claws. Finally, the PSI user is the only playable character which can control some kind of futuristic magic. I think they are all very different.

5.) If the gameplay is action oriented, how does the computer expert handle this action? How many robots can she have? What happens if the robot dies?

She has only one, but it can be controlled by the player and enhanced like a character. It´s very hard to destroy, so she should worry more about herself. However, she can fight with light weapons and later buy a new drone if this happens.

6.) Restricted Area boasts a large number of skills. What types of skills can we expect in the game? How are the skills handled? Can any character have access to those set of skills or are they specific to the archetype?

There are 5 sorts of skills - one for each character type and one which can be accessed by all characters. Each one consists of 15 skills, so each character can learn up to 30. Each skill can be between 0 and 10 and unlike Diablo 2 it is theoretically possible to learn all 30 skills at level 10 with a single character. The types are very different, from "repair" over PSI spells to "aiming" there´s basically everything. However, it´s very important to us that there are no useless or nearly identical skills - we tried to find the perfect number of skills, not the highest.

7.) Since there's a computer expert in the game, can you tell us what outlets in terms of gameplay this archetype has? Will there be "cyberspace" in the game? If so, what's the computer expert do there? Do the other archetypes have access to this?

There will be Cyberspace, a projection of networks, which you can only enter if you play the computer expert. In the Cyberspace you can find software for you and your drone, information (like maps of buildings) and even money - but maybe the most important possibility is that you can deactivate security stuff like lasers and cameras or open doors. So the computer expert can reach physical areas the others don't have access to.

8.) What type of enemies, in general, can we expect from Restricted Area? Are the enemies all humans? Some robots? Anything creepier?

There will be all forms of enemies you can imagine: From humans, robots and cyborgs to mutants and computer programs (in Cyberspace).

9.) Ranged fighting, such as gun play, has always been a problem with real time games. How does Restricted Area address this problem?

Well, I think it´s not really a problem. The archer in Diablo worked well - it was only surprising that she can fire with the speed of a machine gun. In RA, however, you have a machine gun... ;)

10.) Are there elements in Restricted Area that aren't combat related? Will there be dialogue? NPC interaction?

Yes, yes and yes. There is more story than "go there and kill everybody". However, there won't be as much text as in games like "Baldurs Gate" or "Neverwinter Nights".

11.) Back to the character system, are there any attributes in the game, like strength and dexterity? If so, what impact do they have on the mechanics of the game?

Yes. The basic attributes are strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, reaction and willpower. Most effect several other values which also depends on the character you play, but their main functions are: strength increases close combat, dexterity increases range combat, constitution increases life points, intelligence the level of skills you can learn, reaction your evade value and willpower your resistance.

12.) How is character creation handled in the game? What areas are open for the player in terms of customization? What impact on gameplay does this customization have?

You can choose one of the four characters and slip into his role at the point the story starts. At this point you can't do much more than giving him a code name. However, you develop the character into a direction of your choice while playing by choosing the equipment, skills and implants: Concentrate on fast John Woo stunts with two pistols or become a slow tank with a plasma gun. Become a super hacker, get strong yourself or make your drone indestructible. Teleport on the roof or toast their brains - every character has a large number of possible styles to be played and if one becomes boring you don't have to start over, you can develop him into a new direction.

13.) The game has "cyberwear" and "bioware" that boost your abilities. Can you tell us a little bit about them? What they do? What types are available?

There are a large number of items that can be found. Items are classified in categories: cyberware (technical implants), bioware (genetically enhanced organs), weapons (everything from a pistol to a flamethrower), consumable items (like med kits) and resident items (items that don't disappear after use, for example quest objects). While weapons play the same role as in traditional fantasy RPGs, the armors, helmets, shields and boots play is replaced through implants, either cyberware or bioware. Cyberware and bioware is computer generated so there's basically an unlimited number of different types - mechanical legs, a new heart... everything is possible.

Of course they are not magic, so a heart may increase constitution but will never increase intelligence.

Thanks Jan Beuck of master creating for this interview about Restricted Area!

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