Hawken came out of nowhere and instantly attracted a solid following, its beautiful graphics seemed a perfect fit for some mech action, and the gameplay looked amazing (see the video below). We caught up with Chris at developers Adhesive Games to discuss the title, its roots and whether or not we’ll be seeing a console version or two…
TheSixthAxis: Hi Chris. So, the obvious one first: Why mechs? They’re traditionally an Eastern thing, hardly ever tackled with much maturity in the West.
Chris, Adhesive Games: There’s a couple reasons we decided on a mech game, but the main factor was that giant robots are awesome. We could get excited about this subject matter, and at the same time there isn’t much going on in this genre at the moment so we could really have a chance to stand out.
Secondly, the sci-fi/techy theme is easier for a small team to pull off, since assets can be reused, recombined, and adapted in ways that aren’t possible with organic characters or historical settings.[drop]TSA: Does that go some way to explain how you’ve got so far in just nine months? How big is the team currently working on Hawken?
Chris: You can get an overview of our current team on our company website. Currently we have 9 people working at the studio, which includes 3 interns, although we do outsource some work such as sound design and music. For the first half of our development we were only working with our core team of 6 people.
TSA: Speaking of audio, the game sounds incredible, how have you managed to capture the rawness so powerfully?
Chris: That would be a question for the sound designer, Sean Neri. We contracted him to do freelance audio work for us, and he did an amazing job with all the sound effects.
TSA: It seems in most games like this the way the suit moves is crucial, not just animation wise but also from the point of view of the player – will Hawken be firstperson only?
Chris: Yes, Hawken is being designed around a firstperson view and we’re labeling it a mech FPS. We want the sense of immersion provided by an enclosed cockpit, and all the UI and weapon systems revolve around this perspective.
TSA: Do you worry about motion sickness?
Chris: We realize some gamers dislike FPSs or get motion sickness, so we may consider options for these people, but at the moment it’s not something we have time to focus on.
TSA: How destructable are the environments?
Chris: Because of our small team size and limited resources, we have to rein in our scope and we can’t shoot for a fully destructible environment. We do however have many props such as cars, street lights, bus stops, etc… that are destructible. It’s fun to stomp around the city and knock around everything in sight. We know everyone is requesting destructible buildings but it’s a matter of resources and getting the game out in a reasonable timeframe.
TSA: How are you communicating damage and incoming missiles to the player, assuming you can’t get away with smearing ‘red jelly’ all over the screen to simulate blood?
Chris: This is something that is still in progress and we are still adding details to.
We have the incoming missile warnings that you can see in the video, but we’ll probably make that a bit more stylish and noticeable. For damage we have the camera shake and sparks inside the cockpit, along with impacts sounds. Eventually your mech will become visibly damaged, with things such as cracked glass, glitchy displays, and smoke.[advert]TSA: The second video shows the player collecting and deploying a turret- will there be any other such items in the game?
Chris: Yes, we love the dynamic of these kinds of items and the creativity they encourage among playstyles and strategies. There will be a variety of items, some offensive and some for other purposes, that players can make use of.
TSA: Will there be a single player portion, or is Hawken focused on multiplayer?
Chris: From the start we intended on creating a fun multiplayer game. This is another matter of team size and resources.
Hawken will be a downloadable title at a lower cost than boxed games, and we aren’t a AAA studio with a 100-man team. Because of this we decided to limit the scope of our game and focus on a multiplayer experience. That way we can concentrate on art and gameplay and let the players create a fun experience through their own interactions with each other.
TSA: On the subject of downloads, have you been approached by any publishers yet?
Chris: Yes, we’ve gotten a wonderful response from our first 2 videos, and we’ve been contacted by quite a few publishers. We’re interested in exploring our options here, but for the time being we remain self-funded.
Our top priority is maintaining control of our IP and creative direction.
TSA: We’re assuming the build on show is running on a PC – any plans to branch out to consoles?
Chris: We’d love to see Hawken released on PC, XBL and PSN if possible, but we aren’t able to confirm any of that at the moment. We’re keeping all platforms in mind as we develop the game, but but those details are a little ways off still.
We thank Chris for his team and wish him and the rest of Adhesive Games all the luck in the world.