ROBOBIFF: New Hawken Footage

By Jim Rossignol on March 31st, 2011 at 8:01 am.

Robot war never looked so good.
There’s some new Hawken footage. Hot damn.

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187 Comments »

  1. Jesse L says:

    When when??! ARRGGHH!

    I hope the devs don’t listen to anyone on any comment board anywhere and just finish doing exactly what they’ve started.

  2. shinygerbil says:

    Actually, after watching the vid a couple of times, I don’t think I like the look of the gameplay all that much.
    It looks like Unreal Tournament with mech skins. Pretty, yes; mech-y, no.
    This game ought to slow down a bit for a start; it does look a little bit twitchy. I also hope there is a lot of mech variation and customisation in the style of the Armo[u]red Core series. Nothing beats going round flattening your mates’ nippy little two-leggers with a dumpy caterpillar-tracked tank that hits like a wrecking ball.
    Also I’d like to see morHUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRNN alright I’ll buy it.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ll do a quick write up of what I said on the other page – essentially, this is a far future game, and with technology or even an alternate reality, or a tinkered with reality, who’s to say that mechs can’t be lithe, agile, jumpy things?

      1. What if this is in a reality where the elemental elements that compositely make up that reality were different?
      2. What if the physical laws of that reality were different?
      3. What if technology had evolved to a point where our real world metals could be altered in such a way to be light enough to construct a light, lithe mech, whilst still being as sturdy?
      4. What if there are magnetospheric/antigravitational fields at work, reducing the weight of the mech?

      Take your pick, perhaps even a mix of all of the above.

      My point is is that since this isn’t a clunky walking tank game, you won’t see people lumbering slowly forward, or taking ten minutes to perform a full turn, and the game won’t seem like it’s being played in slow motion. It’s not typically mech, but isn’t that a good thing? These guys are trying something new. And personally? I bloody want to embrace it!

      I just think that this game should be allowed to be. No beating on it because of what it is. There are Mechwarrior games out there if you want them, but that’s not what this is, this is a game about robots which are faster than you, more agile than you, quicker than you, and can jump higher than you even without the aid of a ridiculous looking jetpack. This actually feels future-y. So let this one game be. Let at least one mech game be marginally original.

      It’s like the RPG thing… it really is. Why do we keep wanting to go back to medieval England? Why? Why?! Why?! *falls over.* There are plenty of games of that sort, plenty! On the PC, on the console toys, everywhere! We see one game that’s different and people are complaining because it’s not the same as every other mech game?

      Seriously?

      *explodes!*

    • shinygerbil says:

      This just in: RPS commenters not allowed to have personal tastes.

      Mechs can be lithe, agile, jumpy things if they want. But then it won’t be to my personal taste. (Hint: the developers are allowed to ignore my personal requests.)

      …..But OK, I’ll take the bait.

      1. Then that’s OK by me.
      2. Then that’s OK by me.
      3. Then that’s OK by me.
      4. Then that’s OK by me.

      I am perfectly capable of suspension of disbelief, in other words.

      No, it’s not typically mech, and that’s fine and dandy, but if it’s typically just another Unreal Tournament-style FPS that’s not really any better.

      This game should absolutely be allowed to exist – I ain’t going to stop it. It looks beautiful, it looks like a labour of love. It looks like a lot of things. But that doesn’t mean I’ll play it and love it, if I don’t like the gameplay. I’m not beating on it because of what it is.

      So far, from my limited knowledge of this game, it does seem like there is indeed a lot to differentiate it from other mech games – and of course this is a good thing. (Note that this doesn’t actually necessarily follow – there are certainly games out there which are different in a bad way. Different doesn’t automatically mean good.)

      There does not, however, appear to be much to differentiate it from other FPS games. While of course this isn’t automatically a bad thing, it does somewhat lessen its appeal to me.

      I don’t really know where this talk of medieval England and RPGs comes from, but I guesHUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRNNNN

    • cjlr says:

      In principle, I agree.
      BUT:

      1. What if this is in a reality where the elemental elements that compositely make up that reality were different?
      Then everything else would be utterly unrecognizable. I would have thought you’d get that, for someone always trumpeting the diverse.

      2. What if the physical laws of that reality were different?
      No. Either you have our universe, (or a TINY variation on it), or there’s no way in hell you’d have human-like mechs stomping about a human-size city with human-size buildings on an earth-like planet and a sun-like sun with a blue sky and clouds and a temperate climate about 1 AU from a G star…

      3. What if technology had evolved to a point where our real world metals could be altered in such a way to be light enough to construct a light, lithe mech, whilst still being as sturdy?
      This one I can buy. You could totally build a mech out of aerogel and carbon silk. Except – projectile weapons have recoil, which affects the gunner proportionally to their mass – something that like would have to use energy weapons. Or else it’s more massive, but then, something more massive would have bigger problems – concentrating the mass on two tiny little feet will go right through most ground short of several metres of concrete. Tanks have their weight spread over several square metres of tread, and they still can’t cross soft ground.

      4. What if there are magnetospheric/antigravitational fields at work, reducing the weight of the mech?
      Again, this one is plausible.
      Another good one! Well, except aerogel isn’t magnetic. But even though we don’t know how to do antigrav there’s no reason we won’t figure it out in the future. But then, there are so, so many applications beyond just what is implied by the footage.

      Video games should have physics consultants.

    • liqourish says:

      to go back to the original point, I think this looks much more slow and deliberate than UT.
      You’re slowly grinding your enemies to pieces with bullets, not jumping around and shooting them in the head.

      I also have the feeling that it plays more strategically, with the various mech mechanics that there are. Overheating and such?

  3. Unaco says:

    Hmmm… this is growing on me a little more. The first video left me thinking ‘lovely visuals, great environments… but I wish the mechs were a little more substantial… a touch slower, more stompy’. As a few people have said, they were a little too flighty and fast for my tastes. I prefer my mechs lumbering and stompy.

    This video is showing them a little more to my tastes… they feel and look like slightly more stompy mechs in this video. Still a little too nimble, and not quite stompy enough for me… but it’s definitely closer than the 1st video. Alas, I doubt they will actually get truly stompy and lumbering enough for me though, but I’ll certain keep an eye on this.

  4. dragon says:

    If this turns out to be as good as it looks, then it’s worth buy new hardware for (Crysis 2 failed to invoke that desire).

    As for the complaints about the lack of colors: This is a torn up, futuristic urban environment with dust and wrecked buidings. That’s what things would look like: grey.

  5. Wulf says:

    Can we stop criticising this game for not feeling exactly like every other game out there and actually wanting to try something new with it, and presenting us with a completely different outlook on mechs that we’d never seen before, please? This is an original take on mechs. It’s not supposed to be the same as every other mech game you’ve ever played, ever. It’s supposed to feel different, to play different. Those are lithe, agile mechs, and I have a billion explanations as to why that could be. I’m happy with it, very.

    But if we keep complaining about creativity, then developers are just going to go back to making boring, unimaginative things because that’s apparently what everyone wants, because they’re unable to cope with the idea of something being an original take on something that they’re familiar with. No, they’re not lumbering, they don’t take ten minutes to do a full turn, but they’re not supposed to be walking tanks. I’ve seen many anime cartoons with agile mechs, and I kept hoping that somehow, someday, they’d eventually make their way to games. And now they have! Can we keep them, please?

    But if we keep attacking creativity like this… well, this is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Berzee says:

      They’re not criticizing it for doing something new. They’re speaking against the possibility that it controls like CoD. And this is alright. =)

      CoD with jetpacks even.

    • Berzee says:

      Actually I just had the most amusing thought:

      what if someone made a game where you control a Man with a Gun, but for some reason he controls like a stompy mechwarrior mech? But everyone else in the game is as lithe and agile as normal. You could explain it with some kind of brain injury that affects his balance and response times, but then he happens to have bigger guns than other people.

      That would be a hilariously excellent (and creative?) control scheme :D

    • cjlr says:

      It would be Jurassic Park: Trespasser, and it would be terrible.

    • Berzee says:

      Addendum — I begin to see how taking old gameplay (CoD style, or more agile/mobile than that even) and placing it in a new context (mechs) could please the imagination. If someone draws as much joy from the setting as from the actual mechanics, feeling that “I move like a superhero but I’m a Giant Rooooobot!” could be joy enough =)

    • Urael says:

      Actually, having now seen the video, I’m not sure we ARE getting anything ‘new’. It looks and flows like any FPS arena man-shoot you care to name. Ok, it’s a little slower-paced (although this video does only show combat against one opponent) but I get what the people are saying about it looking just like yer basic UT/Quake shooty experience. I’d read the commentary over my lunch break but, being at work, couldn’t watch the video. Now that I have…well, I was expecting more, frankly. The chap who commented he was away to play all those classic mech games did kinda sorta imply – just by saying that – that this was one of those…but it clearly aint. It’s UT dressed in Mech clothing. Yet Another Multiplayer Arena Shooter, of the kind we seem to have been swamped with of late.

      Is this all you can do, Indies? Give us variations on the manshoot-respawn-manshoot theme ad infinitum? I see no bright future here, however well the graphics and sound have been designed.

    • Tenorek says:

      I’ll be the first to admit that i have never played one of these “slow” mech games. But it sounds to me like that would entail; two mechs round a corner and see each other, stop moving, and fire upon one another till one falls down, whilst the survivor lumbers lazily around the next corner. Is that really preferable to something middle paced like this. I suspect the people complaining that it’s very fast paced like CoD have limited experience with CoD. If I’m going to play with mechs, which already stretch the bounds of reality/practicality in and of themselves, then I want to play with fun mechs.

    • Urael says:

      @Tenorak: Well, you’ve painted a lovely picture of what you think a slow Mech game is, and going solely by that somewhat ignorant, off-the-cuff impression even I’d be hard pushed to want that. The fact remains, though, that you’ve missed the point entirely.

      What the old Mech games did is give you the experience of piloting a 20-100 tonne walking engine of death. Some were quick, some were slow, depending on the model/variant you chose to pilot; all could be deadly in the right hands. It’s the interface that is important here – YOU. With this game, you, by all accounts, ARE the mech, in an experiential sense. There’s no feeling of you – the pilot – wrestling with controls to manoeuvre your mech around (which I’ve made sound bad but only ever became in issue in a heavy battle due to inexperience or panic), of switching between systems to track down your targets or plan your route…there’s just fast-paced combat a la UT. Run around, shoot, don’t get shot.

      People are making very heartfelt pleas for us to understand what this game is attempting – that Mechs can be quick and agile; this is absolutely something I can get behind in principle. But the classic Mech games have always involved a different, more considered experience from the quick, twitch-based, WASD shooters, and that’s what’s been utterly lost here. It DOESN’T look “middle-paced” at all. Ok, it’s not UT in Instagib mode with 32 people on a small map, but it’s still in the same approximate ball-park as those shooters.

      See, if this game had been an open level – if you were rampaging through the countryside, and could then encounter a city like the one in the video, that would go some way to giving you the true vehicular experience. As it is, the level may just as well be the same ‘gladiators trapped in a coliseum’ experience we’ve been getting since Doom’s network gaming. Fact is, you could swap these ‘mechs’ for space marines and not notice the difference.

  6. Serenegoose says:

    I’m not sure why people would want slow mechs. There’s something primal and predatory about how those things pace around the battlefield, and slow mechs wouldn’t make any sense in the first place – it’d be far more sensible just to build a tank, which doesn’t fall over when you shove it/blast a leg/any of the other things that make mechs (in reality) a ludicrous proposition. Having quick mechs that can bounce around and make your traditional tank look like a pathetic plastic toy in the hands of a malicious toddler is way more plausible, since you’d actually have a reason to build them.

    • Berzee says:

      Not slow — just massive. Like a tiger =)

    • Wulf says:

      The slow mech thing always confused me, too. I always enjoyed the old mech games, same as anyone else, with one of my old faves being Mechwarrior 2 (which was amazing). But as time went on I couldn’t stop thinking about, well, how boring of a concept it was to have slow mechs just because that might feel realistic or something. Did anyone care about the human movement in Brink being unrealistically agile? Probably not. So why apply that to robots? Why do robots need to be slow?

      In fact, according to recent technology projects like the BigDog, it seems that walkers are more likely to be clever and deceptively quick with their reflexes. Have a look at the BigDog on Youtube and you’ll see what I mean. That seems to be a more interesting promise than slowly moving walking tanks. Given that computational power is quicker than the human brain, I could see machines being speedy, quick, deadly predators rather than slow, lumbering things.

      It seems we’re suffering with thinking about robots in the same way as we used to think about dinosaurs.

    • Urael says:

      Hehe. “Suffering”, Wulf? Like we poor souls are trapped with outdated understanding in our heads? If you’ve ever been on a Digg political thread in full firefight mode, you should recall how infuriating it is to be dismissed as incapable of understanding a point of view.

      We get that you like new and different, and that new paradigms should be explored, and I do see how technological ability can out-strip what we used to project in our fantasies – Bigdog is indeed a stunning and revelatory piece of work. But I think people are projecting quite heavily on this game when it represents nothing more than another innovative design layered over the same, tired arena-shooting we’ve been playing ever since Doom’s multiplayer first showed us how. Fast mechs – technically possible though they may be – just mean we get the same fluid movement and twitch shooting from a gameplay perspective as we do in Unreal Tournament – circle-strafing et al. From a gameplay perspective they’re exactly the same as heavily armoured space marines. If poeple are down on the game it’s not because we’re not ‘getting it’, it’s because it’s just not what many of us apparently would prefer.

      The word “stompy” as applied to mech games wasn’t popularised on RPS because it was fun to run at 140 kph. It’s because those old games gave you the thrilling feeling of piloting a massively powerful behemoth. Think of kids playing at being giants in the playground – they don’t start sprinting around the place. They move slower and more deliberately because in their heads huge and powerful is the same thing as slow, unlike those ant-like humans; in gaming it’s exactly the same. Mechwarrior understood this and gave it to us in spades. UT-style shooters, aped by this game, simply don’t.

      Or would you argue that Warhammer 40K’s titans should be quick, too?

  7. Chunga says:

    Looking good! Even if I am not much for FPS, I really like the mech and the gadgets. The closeup function looks really slick too.

  8. Xonze says:

    Reminds me a lot of Heavy Gear, which isn’t a bad thing. I miss those kind of games. :( Can’t wait to see where it goes.

  9. pupsikaso says:

    why, Why, WHY does it look like he’s using a controller??

    Other than that, I hope they add destructible environments.

    • Dominic White says:

      Because have you ever seen a giant robot controlled with a mouse or trackball? That’d just be silly.

    • dragon says:

      It looks like he’s plaing it with a gamepad without aim-assistance. Painful to watch.

  10. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    First thought: Man, oh man.. does this look awesome!

    Second thought: I wonder what kind of hardware would be required to play this seamlessly.. Oh dear, I’m going to have to upgrade..

    • Dominic White says:

      If it’s using UDK, then I probably won’t need to upgrade at all. My mediocre PC (haven’t given it a significant upgrade in a good few years) runs anything Unreal-based at a solid 40-50fps at max detail.

    • Sic says:

      True Dominic, look at Batman. I have an average FPS of over 100 on a passively cooled 5750. Unreal Tech is slick stuff.

  11. DrGonzo says:

    I must say, I have no idea what was going on in that trailer. I found it pretty much impossible to differentiate between the environment, the characters and the migraine inducing levels of motion blur.

    Still, looks very stylish, and you can’t go wrong with stompy robots.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Post-processing has a way of doing that. Still, it’ll probably be easier at proper resolutions.

  12. eightbitrobot says:

    Looks bad ass.. but it seems like it’s being played with a controller.

  13. shoptroll says:

    I’m sold just by the sound effects alone. Really impressive work here!

  14. ChampionHyena says:

    Good Christ.

  15. Highstorm says:

    What do you suppose he’s doing there at about the 2:20 mark, when it switches to 3rd person? Auto-repairs? Setting up for artillery strikes maybe?

    Looks fantastic, and my god the sound design!

    • Stag says:

      Maybe some sort of EMP which shuts down your robot?
      I remember in MW3 there was the possibility to fall over because of a massiv impact of missiles and such.
      When that happened you had to push ‘G’ to get up again while shouting “Come on!!!!” at your monitor and praying that the other guy won’t kill your defenceless piece of metal in that time.

  16. jwfiore says:

    Man, this *looks* fantastic. I’m reminded of Borderlands’ graphical style in how the textures have that hand-drawn, slightly-outlined look. The fact that this is an indie game (and it looks better than most AAA releases) is blowing my mind.

    The weapon combinations look like a lot of fun, too. In fact, being able to run around with two sniper rifles or whatever is one of the main reasons I like mech games.

    Anyone else get a good look at the sun coming through those canop├ęs?

  17. Davee says:

    Looks great! Although I prefer my mechs less jumpy and more stompy :)

  18. RedYama says:

    The “skatiness” of the mechs reminds me a bit of Phantom Crash, a fun little gem on the original xbox, has that same DOWNTOWN JAPAN FIGHT feeling.

  19. niffk says:

    hot damn this looks like a lot of fun.

    why the hell do all developers make trailers with console controllers though? it makes the player look terrible at the game.

  20. Tenorek says:

    I really hope they at least allow for the option to play 3rd person. I would use it from time to time. Ever since a particular part of MGS4, I have been desiring a mech combat game that felt like that. The first trailer had me thinking this would be 3rd person. But either way, I am convinced I will be getting this upon release.

  21. Quine says:

    In the future there will be robots!

    The bass noise coming from that dropship made me go ‘ooh!’, and that doesn’t happen enough.

  22. GHudston says:

    I -DO- dig giant robots!

  23. DOLBYdigital says:

    Very good job team!
    Love the art obviously and the gameplay style of half quick and half bulky style. I also thought I saw the player almost get out of their mech for a second there which makes me think you can swap mechs….

    Either way, fantastic and will pre-order once its available. Makes me want to play phantom crash again

  24. ziusudra says:

    Actually. I dont like the organic look of the mechs, but the footage is awesome. I would much more prefer a Gungriffon\Mechwarrior style semi simulation. with a cool story if possible. but really congrats must go for the developers. very awesome.