Hard Reset: The PC-Only, “Old-School” FPS

By Alec Meer on July 31st, 2011 at 9:53 am.

I'm worried that the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles mean we'll never see cars like this. I don't think I can handle the future.

Time for a proper look at Hard Reset, the PC-exclusive FPS from new studio Flying Wild Hog, a supergroup of Polish devs formely from CD Projekt Red, People Can Fly and City Interactive. The initial trailer was really just a bloke very slowly looking up, with occasional flashes of some manner of urban dystopia. This one’s a full minute of cyberbunk manshootiness aimed to demonstrate Hard Reset’s graphics card-troubling techno-clout, but take heart – it also includes more footage of a bloke slowly looking up. Except he doesn’t look very well this time.


Looks like utter carnage, hopefully in a way that lovingly tickles all the requisite fun-glands. Oh, and the combination of city streets, alien-looking things and oddball megadeath weaponry has me wondering if perhaps this will be the game to give the Duke Nukem 3D faithful some of what DNF didn’t manage to.

Over on GameSpot, Flying Wild Hog boss Michal Szustak explains why they’ve elected to go PC-only on this one:

“If you want to show some amazing graphics, it’s better and easier to develop the game for PCs. Also, in the era of movie-like shooters almost ‘on rails,’ with player-environment interaction as limited as possible, we wanted to create a game for old-school PC players, raised on all those forgotten Dooms, Quakes, and Painkillers.”

They’ll be using their own engine too, by the way, and the cyber eyepatch thing that keeps cropping up in these trailers will indeed have an in-game purpose that Flying Hog are keeping mysterious for now.

Hard Reset lands in September. Oh, it won’t have a multiplayer mode because “We had to choose whether we wanted to put all our efforts into creating the best single-player experience or add a multiplayer mode just to fill the check box and still get it done worse than in other games focused on multiplayer modes.” I concur with this line of thinking.

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151 Comments »

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  1. Dzamir says:

    “Experience come at a price. Hard Reset, 75€”

    • Dzamir says:

      BTW the trailer excited me a lot, I can’t wait to try this game!

    • manveruppd says:

      Eurozone prices are obscene! :(

    • LionsPhil says:

      The trailer excited me a lot less than the words “People Can Fly” and “Painkiller”.

      But, early days I guess? Hopefully they’ll stop the damn health/ammo hud vibrating madly and taking up a huge TV-scaled chunk of the screen. And add more than one monster at a time.

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      PoulWrist says:

      mistell

    • Berzee says:

      Poul — AC?

  2. Paul says:

    That was pretty awesome trailer. I am definitely interested.
    Next time I would like few more RPG elements though :-).

  3. Paul says:

    Also, from QA on gamespot:
    Hard Reset is a futuristic first-person shooter that isn’t afraid to buck the trends of its modern-day counterparts. This PC exclusive harks back to a time when exploration was necessary and regenerating health was a luxury.

    AWESOME.
    That QA is fantastic BTW.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      I love how it’s unashamedly an attack on modern day trends.

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      AndrewC says:

      I worry that they are trying to overcome shortcomings in current gaming trends by looking backwards.

      Distrust of the new and nostalgia for the old leads to reliably unpleasant viewpoints and, moreover, seems odd within a wider gaming culture that seems to fetishise the Next Thing. And yet here that attitude is, taking a firm enough root in the PC gaming culture that games are being made to satisfy it.

      It seems sad as a possibility that while it is the technology that holds design back on the consoles, it would be the gamers that hold it back on the PC.

    • Xercies says:

      Really? I kind of like some modern design points. Look I’m not saying that everything in modern design is great, but I wouldn’t take the baby out of the bath water just because you percieve some past game was the best and every game in modern times is shite. Its not…

    • The Sentinel says:

      Andrew, that lovely diatribe would only hold true if we assumed, as you appear to be, that older PC experiences were somehow lesser than modern gaming experiences. I don’t agree with that assumption.

      Modern gaming regularly commits two crimes – attempting to ape Hollywood’s ‘cinematic’ style and losing the gameplay, and watering down gameplay with innumerable hand-holding measures to make it easier for non-gamers to play and feel like they’re winning. Not in all cases, no, and there have been some instances of genuine and welcome evolution. But these tend to be lost among the bad parts. It is those things that PC gamers despair of, seeing their once beautiful and creative hobby reduced to a production line of lowest-common denominator ‘fun-bites’ for the simple reason that many older games were better games and we constantly lament the loss of their kind. It’s not nostalgia – we can, and do, still play these titles regularly.

      I watched this video with glee for two reasons: 1) It is so obviously being played with a mouse-and-keyboard, and 2) The character didn’t attempt so seek cover once, or even appear to have any opportunity to do so. Fresh air? Why, I believe it is.

      For all of these reasons I will be doing my very best to support this game when it is released. For the good of all PC gaming to come I would ask all PC gamers to carefully consider doing the same.

    • Mman says:

      “I worry that they are trying to overcome shortcomings in current gaming trends by looking backwards.”

      This implies that regenerating health, weapon limits etc are some sort of advancements, when they aren’t, just alternative ways to handle things. Knowing that not every game needs regen is far more forward thinking than adding regen just because Halo and COD did it and are popular.

      There’s also tends to be an element of laziness to throwing regen into everything, as it’s much easier to balance around than health packs or some other finite/semi-finite system. “Laziness” is a bit harsh given how much goes into balancing games anyway, but, well, it’s true.

    • DarthBenedict says:

      It’s not just nostalgia – I have more fun with sourceports of 90s fpss than with most modern ones.

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      AndrewC says:

      Sentinel: Let’s take cover mechanics as an example. They were introduced to combat the problem of shooter avatars being either these lumbering bullet sponges or butter-footed, rubber bodied insects on speed – by making the avatar very vulnerable, and tying safety to the environment, you made the game world more realistic and immersive.

      Over-use, and lazy-use, has led to highly unrealistic worlds filled with waste high obstacles in endless sucessions of arenas.

      So what to do? Attempt to redefine cover mechanics to make a vulnerable avatar interesting again (perhaps by making the cover 100% dynamic or destructible, as some games are slowly moving towards)?
      Or perhaps redefine the older bullet sponge mechanics by embracing the unreality and making the challenge something other than survival (like Bulletstorm becoming about, of all the ancient things, points)?
      Or perhaps say cover mechanics are all dumbed down, consolified mechanics for ‘those types’ of gamers, ignore all the reasons for their development, and applaud games that ditch 10 years of mechanics?
      Yes, i’m saying you are doing the last one, and yes I’m saying it’s a bad thing because it is not about choosing a different route into the future, but trying to head back into the past.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      The lack of cover put me off, there’s a lot of bad mechanics in both old school and modern games but just standing there (or strafing there) soaking up bullets has to be the worst.

      The irony is given this game’s setting it would be perfect for regenerating health system, it could actually be an in game feature not just a meta game concept.

    • Mman says:

      “just standing there (or strafing there) soaking up bullets has to be the worst.”

      If you’re “standing there soaking up bullets” in an “old-school” FPS you’ll be dead in no time at all.

      Really, the biggest issue that has taken over modern shooters is that they are almost entirely based around hitscan weapons. Which inherently takes the focus off agility because it doesn’t matter anymore when enemies can hit you whatever speed you move at, and regen becomes necessary because the player frequently takes large amounts of unavoidable damage.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      You’d be dead in no time at all, but not as quick as in a game with a cover system.

    • subedii says:

      I’m going with Sentinel and Mman on this one, particularly about the point that those things aren’t evolutions, they’re alternatives. And 90% of the time, they’re handled extremely poorly and shoe-horned in because they’re the current status quo.

      Linear Hollywoodised FPS gameplay isn’t inherently “better” nor should it be viewed as such (and Serious Sam certainly managed to survive without trying for that). The same with health regen (I actually feel most games would actually benefit from either alternate health models or even the old-skool static health with pickups. Halo was one of the few series I felt pulled it off, and that was largely when fighting enemies with their own regenerating shields. And in general their fairly aggressive AI design which was designed to work in concert with the shield system, something else a lot of modern games lack).

      Cover mechanics don’t make a game inherently more fun for me, and they certainly don’t jibe well with all styles of FPS. The style of FPS this game would seem to be trying for (which is very direct run-and-gun, in your face action) would probably be extremely ill-served by attempts to make it stop-and-pop.

      Heck, Gears of War, whilst not the first game to use it, was the poster child for cover-based shooting. And the reason it implemented that was in an attempt to create a more deliberately paced style of stop-and-pop (as CliffyB called it) gameplay which feels more cinematic as people exchange fire across open areas and flanked around. What it actually resulted in was barrel rolling shotgun fests. The gameplay didn’t look any more cinematic, it looked more Benny Hill, just in a different manner to most other styles of shooter.

      Whether this works out or not for Hard Reset (and please note, I’m not saying that HR is necessarily going to be a good game in the first place) actually has very little to do with the mere choice of mechanics in themselves as long as those mechanics are viable. It’s how they’re implemented and how well that implementation serves the style of gameplay they’re trying to espouse. This isn’t about looking backwards with nostalgia and PC gamers holding things back. It’s an issue of not abandoning everything just because it’s considered “old”. Those mechanics, just like modern ones, still work, but they depend upon the correct implementation.

      If you don’t like that style of gameplay, that’s different, but it doesn’t make those styles necessarily too old to use. Heck, you found Bulletstorm interesting where I found it dull as dishwater (yes, I’m fully aware of the score mechanics at work). Different tastes and all that.

      Let me give you an example. Most people I know would never give a game like SWAT 4 a second glance (maybe your or someone you know tried it and felt it was good, or crap, whatever), but it’s one of my all-time favourite games, without doubt. But here’s the thing, there have always been complaints from some people about its lack of mid-mission saves, because that’s the “modern” thing to do. But if it DID have mid-mission saves (or far worse, health regen), that would utterly destroy the style of gameplay it was trying for. I don’t say this out of any stupid elitism, or nostalgia for the “old-skool” hardness of games, it’s simply because the gameplay depends on that tension, of forcing the player to act smoothly and methodically. If you try to rush things, people die, that’s the lesson of the game, and it’s built by the randomisation meaning that you can’t simply memorise enemy layouts and actions. In reality most of the missions are extremely short if you play them through perfectly (and you learn to do that over the course of the game, that’s what it teaches you).

      The decision regarding mid-mission saves was nothing to do with nostalgia, it was a deliberate design decision, and it worked. Just because it didn’t jibe with modern concepts on FPS design didn’t make it the wrong one, they made the choice that suited the style of gameplay they were going for.

    • bill says:

      @Andrew:

      While it’s true that nostalgia should never be trusted, I don’t think that the gaming industry’s tendency to continually ape each other is a great point of advancement. It’s not really advancement, it’s just everyone doing things the same way.
      So even if they are doing this for simple nostalgia points, it wins because it’s DIFFERENT to everything else out there.

      But the ideal would be if they took the best (or actually most suitable) parts from modern gaming and mixed it into the best (most suitable) parts of old-school gaming.

      Cover was a good idea when it was fresh, but too much cover is like too many RTS or too many WW2 games – it gets old and repetitive. Cover may solve some problems, but it also creates others. Ergo, removing cover solves some problems and removes others.
      (though it should be said that I used cover QUITE A LOT when playing Quake, Doom, Deus Ex, etc… – i just felt that i used it in a more freeform way).

      This does look like a proper DN sequel btw…

    • The Sentinel says:

      Good points, Andrew. But I’m not ditching anything, and neither is Hard Reset. There isn’t a ten-year linear graph of progression from “bullet sponge” to “realistic and immersive” shooters. They are both valid approaches, and have their place equally. My argument is that modern games have ditched one perfectly valid way of game-playing in favour of the other, more realistic option, which, if you break it down is just as much an illusion as the old agility/reflex shooters.

      I do actually love a good cover mechanic when it’s well implemented. In Stalker, for example, I love to play it realistically, leaning around a corner to fire at my targets then nipping back to avoid the return fire – attempt to ‘sponge it’ in that game and you’ll find yourself dead in no time. However, in the likes of Doom, Duke 3D, Serious Sam et al it’s a different type of gameplay challenge. It’s about agility, reflexes, precision. About avoiding what’s coming through movement rather than being forced by the game, by your vulnerability, to rely on the environment. Or simply by killing it before it kills you. But as Mman notes – attempt to soak up bullets in these games and you’re just as dead. But these experiences are the ones we’ve left behind, partly I think because the consoles can’t handle that level of precision with their controllers and partly because only experienced gamers seem to get the best out of them. Do you see what I’m saying? PC gamers have lost what they used to have, not because it was old and outmoded but because the industry broadened itself to encompass people – and systems – that weren’t best-suited for them, and the software had to adapt to that.

      We’re not chopping away the last ten years like they didnt happen – we’re saying why can’t we still have modern interpretations of these older gameplay types and experiences that are still – as evidenced by the likes of Zdoom and other fan upgrade projects – perfectly valid?
      And this is just shooters. Don’t get us started on turn-based classics
      like X-com.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Since I’m the wrong side of 40 and my joints are stiffening and tendons aching I quite welcome that the focus is less on reflexes. Especially given the lack of turn based modern gaming. @subedii sorry the only design decisions that influenced the lack of mid mission saves were, this is too short how do we make this last longer, let’s make them replay it until they get it right. And this is rather dull how do we add tension, we make them want to avoid having to replay it.

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      PoulWrist says:

      It is however also important to note that it is a “game” and as such realism doesn’t actually matter if you can make it fun. It’s not about being realistic, this game, for sure, it’s about being fun. Fun gameplay can be resource menagement in an FPS, like ammo, health and armor. I find those add a certain bit of tension to the gameplay that having infinite health does not. If I run out of ammo, well I’ll always have some weapon, and if I just stay in cover perfectly, which you almost always can, then I can’t die. Or if you just position yourself in a position that lets you quickly retreat to regenerate.. tension is lost.

    • subedii says:

      @subedii sorry the only design decisions that influenced the lack of mid mission saves were, this is too short how do we make this last longer, let’s make them replay it until they get it right. And this is rather dull how do we add tension, we make them want to avoid having to replay it.

      Wow that’s just… I want to say completely wrong, but that would be really bad of me and I’m just going to say I very much disagree. Suffice it to say that by the time the expansion came out, the game had done its job so well in teaching me the methodology that I literally blitzed through the final level on my first try. On hard.

      You only replay the game if you fail. And the game is designed in such a way that if you implement procedure properly, you’re actually very unlikely to fail. The whole point of that style of gameplay is getting the methodology right, where it’s not a question of getting shot and restarting endlessly until you get lucky, it’s a question of never putting yourself into that situation where you get shot.

      Put it another way, most modern FPS games don’t actually have freely based save systems anymore, they use a checkpoint mechanic before and after every encounter. Because saving after every shot and after every second is a net detractor to the gameplay, even if it is by “player choice”. It destroys any attempt at making a challenging encounter or scenario because they’re then simply reloading until the perfect happens.

      The difference in SWAT 4 is that each mission in itself was a self-contained encounter that you had to get right. It requires solid execution, not just save-scumming.

      Extending the levels and adding in mid-mission saves wouldn’t have benefited the gameplay one whit. Going back to Halo, it would not have benefited from the ability to save after you defeated each enemy and after every shield recharge, that would have only made the gameplay worse. All the excitement and tension drains from the encounter when it’s just a case of playing by micro-increments instead of getting the whole thing right.

      Still, like I said, the game’s not for everyone. If you felt the gameplay was dull, I’m not about to call you wrong on that, that’s just subjective. But if you’re saying that the save mechanic there is an artificial means of creating tension in the gameplay, no, it’s the ACTUAL means of creating tension in the gameplay. Same as with Halo.

      You may as well say that “shotgun” style weapons create artificial tension in most FPS gameplay, the way they’re designed to be slow re-fire, high damage close range weapons that have have risk to their high reward in usage. In real life shotguns are accurate out to quite some distance, but you’ll never see that in-game, because that’s not what benefits the gameplay and makes it interesting. Ultimately, gameplay design is just as much about how you limit players in their capabilities as how you enable them. Much like health mechanics, or number of weapons carried, savegame mechanics are also a part of that, and they can easily make or break gameplay.

    • poop says:

      I’m annoyed that people laud trashy arcade shooters like bulletstorm and serious sam as “retro” and “guilty pleasures” but when one game that actually promises to copy old 90’s shooters in an often overlooked aspect: level design people are suddenly up in arms about blind nostalgia

    • Strontium Mike says:

      How often do you expect players implemented procedure correctly on the very first attempt? How else do you learn the methodology if not by replaying until you get it right?

      Artificial, actual does it matter? It ruins the game if all you are thinking about is you must reach the next checkpoint. When the only tension is you must reach the end, that’s not a good game or good design. Most modern games don’t have free saves because they are console ports made by developers with an outdated console development mindset. Using save game mechanics to build tension is lazy, and easy the test of a good designer is to make a tense atmospheric game which still allows the player to save where and when they want.

    • subedii says:

      And again, I disagree on both points. An action game (or heck, most games) without tension at the risk of failure loses a lot of their challenge and fun. If a game is based around story or puzzles, this isn’t necessarily the case, but in others, it often is.

      To get where I’m coming from on that, well, that’s a whole other post in itself I guess. If you’re so inclined, you can read my reasonings here, I’m not really about to re-type them all and force you to re-read them:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/05/12/a-death-is-for-life-not-just-for-quickload/#comment-687020

      The upshot answer to your comment is that I don’t expect games to let me win everything first time. That’s not fulfilling gameplay. Having the game playing itself is just dull, and it’s a mistake a lot of modern games actually make the mistake of doing when they don’t have to. Alternately, I could set pretty much every game in the world down to the easiest difficulty level and blaze through them, and I’d SUCCEED in completing them, but I wouldn’t have any real fun doing so.

      The reason I bring up SWAT 4 is that I view it as a very good example of game design. Because it is one of extremely few games I’ve ever played where I’ve often repeated levels, sometimes several times over, and the experience hasn’t left me frustrated. Because each time, it was because I knew I had done something wrong, and it immediately left me with the understanding of how to do better. Death and loss wasn’t frustrating (owed a lot to the randomisation), and that was crucial.

      In respect to savegames in particular, limiting the ability to savegame is most certainly NOT lazy gameplay design (not in itself), any more than health regen is. It’s a design decision that is focussed around enhancing the style of gameplay you’re attempting to promote. A game like Amnesia is widely regarded as being one of the most tense games of recent memory, and this is a game that has no save system at all. And that’s crucial to it, because saving every few footsteps would be a disaster for the atmosphere.

      Savegame mechanics are a tool in gameplay design, and their usage or lack thereof isn’t sacrosanct, nor does it smack of “lazy” design to leave it out or go with a different model. More importantly though, saying that the checkpoint system is simply owing to console development is short-sighted at best. There have been plenty of console games, spanning back years, that have allowed you to save whenever you want. The reason that the checkpoint mechanic is often in place isn’t because of console development, it’s because it actually does a pretty decent job of maintaining the tension within each encounter.

      So yeah, I’m going to have to say I disagree completely with the idea that “good” gameplay designers would develop all their FPS’s with save anywhere systems. It’s good game design to recognise what actually works in concert with your gameplay, and the ability to save after every shot often runs counter to those gameplay objectives. Console focussed or not doesn’t come into it.

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      Lambchops says:

      @ Strontium Mike

      I’d argue that the lack of mid mission saves in SWAT 4 was far from the only source of tension (though as Subeddi has said it’s definitely part of it). The random enemy placements and unpredictability of the AI (whether they were agressive, compliant or fearful) helped to mix things up and ensure you had to perform decently. It’s not the type of game I normally go for but I really got on with it and it’s one of the rare games that I’ve really enjoyed playing in co op, I had a lot of fun times with it on LAN in my old house trying to work our way through missions, becoming more accustomed to our roles. Also because of the AI’s unpredictability and random placement I’d argue that mid mission saves would have been nigh on useless. It wasn’t like the missions were that long either. Perhaps part of the reason I liked it was that there was an element of a puzzle in getting through each level.

      Each to their own but i’d argue that in some cases chekpoint saves are perfectly valid (though in general I prefer save anywhere, life is to short to repeat a tedious section of a game multiple times if it’s unfairly difficult and it’s nice to have a crutch to help me through if required) and I thought it worked particularly well in SWAT 4.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      @subedii If you take away the inability to save and that destroys the game is that not the definition of poor design? You’re labouring under the impression that just because you can save any time there’s no tension no loss, no challenge. I save constantly, I’ve filled up 250GB hard drives with my saves but I rarely reload, it pains me if I have to.

      The simple answer is to take another leaf out of the old school book and have a free save mode and an iron man mode that would restrict saving for those who want the added tension or for those with no impulse control. But that would mean the developers would have to think about their game, how they would add challenge or tension other than just restricting saves.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If you take away the inability to save and that destroys the game is that not the definition of poor design?

      Not remotely. If you take away element X from the game, can you ruin the game? Why yes, yes you can. Good game designers spend a lot of time thinking about how all the elements fit together and contribute towards the player experience they’re trying to create.

      If you take a simple FPS where the enemy drops ammo when they die, and increase or decrease that amount of ammo, you can very quickly make the game much less fun or even impossible. It was at the right number in the first place; that’s good design.

      The particular element may create a game that you personally don’t like. Well, that’s fine. You’re not the intended audience.

    • subedii says:

      What TillEulenspiegel said.

      I can remove any of a hundred different systems from a hundred different games, and thoroughly break the gameplay in the process. That’s not the definition of bad game design, it means that the game design depends on those systems and works with them.

      I could add health regen to Left 4 Dead and the entire game would fall apart. I could take base building out of Starcraft and it’d either be a completely different game or simply wouldn’t work. I could take friendly fire out of Magicka, give Amnesia a 3rd person view, give Silent Hill 2 a character who’s proficient in combat…

      Those would thoroughly break their respective games. And a lot of those are considered de-facto “improvements” in other games, but that doesn’t mean they would make sense everywhere. Being time limited as I am, I also often like the ability to save everywhere, but I also recognise that this doesn’t benefit every game.

      You keep running with the notion that the lack of a save anywhere system is “lazy” game design. Frankly, I’d say that far more often than not it’s the opposite that’s true. A game that outright depends on the player saving at every point is usually one with poorly designed encounters and difficulty spikes, which is depending on its savegame system and constant quicksave-quickload actions to get the player through them.

      And I’ve played a LOT of those games in the old days. Games that would throw sudden death traps and difficulty spikes your way, but this simply wasn’t considered in the gameplay design because the devs felt that the save anywhere system “solved” that problem and meant they didn’t need to address it. What it often instead resulted in was simple frustration at having to quickload constantly at unfair deaths.

      Make no mistake, both systems can be implemented extremely poorly. In themselves however they are not inherently bad or lazy design.

    • Urthman says:

      If AAA shooters really wanted to be like movies, they wouldn’t use cover systems. They’d use enemies with amazingly horrible aim.

    • IDtenT says:

      @Strontium Mike: You’re completely misinterpreting what type of game SWAT 4 is. It’s a tactical mission game, the idea is that you do the mission perfectly not kill the terrorists perfectly.

      As for checkpoint saving, that’s totally valid too. You’re not there to place each bullet perfectly, you’re there to overcome the challenge that you face and that challenge includes x amount of hostiles. If you fail at it, you have to restart. A single kill is not the success you want it to be.

    • Josh W says:

      I played a game on the consoles that had both hitscan weaponry and heavy use of cover mechanics, but because of it’s teamplay stance, it became very satisfying:

      Consider frozen synapse; in that game the relationship between cover and instahit-weaponry results in fire corridors, implied and assumed. You manuver round to get people from their rear fire arcs when they’re covering someone else etc.

      In an FPS, making that satisfying requries you to give quite a bit of info to the players, over and above their own veiwpoint, because they will spend half their time just looking at a rock! You need to give players ways to scout out the locations, whether it’s the ability to lean quickly or peak over without firing, mini-maps, sticky cameras, whatever.

      In this sense cover shooters become stealth games, or at least meet in the middle.

      You could also do something with hitscan weapons if you made target choice the main priority, and something with a lot of variability based on the situation.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      You give examples of in game tactics vs a meta game mechanic. It’s very different thing to require people to work together or conserve/seek out supplies than to require people to do the whole thing again and again. As for unfair deaths, these in my experience are far more common in checkpoint games. I’ve just finished Crysis 2 there was a level where they literally dropped the ground from out under your feet without warning, I was really annoyed at that because I had taken out earthworm Jim and his friends without taking a scratch. If developers put so much thought in to the design of the save system why is it then that so many games have checkpoints before the cut-scenes and not after or why does a enemy often pop up just as you reach a checkpoint?

      Really what difference does it make to the “challenge” if you reload your last save, or the last checkpoint, or restart the level other than the added frustration to gamers. Developers were wondering not so long ago why more people aren’t finishing games, I can’t answer for anyone else but the only games I don’t finish are those with checkpoints only.

    • gwathdring says:

      I’m going to add my voice to the “it’s not the mechanics, it’s the implementation” crowd. But I would like to add that I am as often infuriated by old games as by new ones. I think a lot of gamers who prefer more difficult, older, games with their raw edge unfairly assume that people who find the games too difficult, unclear, and frustrating want to be pandered to and don’t appreciate a proper challenge. But often in both older and modern games there is a fundamental disconnect between what the developers think they are telling you and what you actually read as a player–when I get the message that I’m supposed to think or explore my way out of something I love the difficult searches. But when I get the impression it is supposed to be obvious or signposted … difficult or long searches I would cherish before become frustrating. If I have a mini-map but struggle to pinpoint the item marked on it, I’ll get way more frustrated than if I was struggling to find something without a map at all.

      A lot of old school games are made as much by the fans who play them as by the developers. A lot of accidental difficulties and imprecisions became part of a game’s charm to fans both at the time and long after the game entered gaming hall of fame. Things that were meant to be simple but were poorly designed become fondly remembered challenges to some players. We all bring our own styles and preferences to every game we play, especially when the design is simple enough to let us impose our own interpretations on it. As such, it’s very easy to take nostalgia and run with it, praising simpler games as superior because we made them so in our heads. But let us be fair to modern gaming: regardless of where the mainstream sales are the best of design today is better than it was before. We have more people with more experience playing and designing games now. A lot of it, sadly, goes untapped. But even if some of them are stuck on projects doomed to make very little money and less press, the best developers are producing things we wouldn’t have dreamed of seeing back when Duke Nukem was being made.

      This is an issue of play philosophy as much as anything. Some players want to have to retrace their steps a thousand times until they perfect the art of this one room just well enough to reach the next health pack. Some players want to experience everything in one go, and are along less to perfect the art of shooting, and more to see something happen while getting to interact with it. I don’t think this is an inferior way to play games. There’s a reason it’s popular. Gaming as a hard-core hobby simply isn’t very popular and I don’t think it ever will be. A lot of people want the interactivity but aren’t interested in architectural puzzles or being forced to plan complex tactics before taking on a room of enemies. A lot of people have no interest in perfecting the art of moving a mouse very-very precisely. They aren’t lesser people, or even lesser gamers. Most of them never pretended to be exactly what we are or to want what we want as more classical PC gamers. They have different interests and different desires (and different machines) and when gaming started giving in to them, they lapped it up. Again: they are different. Sadly for us, they’re a bigger group so they have more money than us. On the other hand, they are similar enough to us that some of them will be converted through their version of gaming to ours, and thus more money ends up being siphoned into our hobby even if most of the new blood and new money is as it was when gaming as an industry was more obscure.

      I do agree that a lot of the best games I’ve played have a steep learning curve. But I completely disagree that most old games that did, had such curves for the right reasons. Yes there used to be a greater percentage of fantastic games but that’s largely because there are so many games now … it’s the same with literature. Inflation and accessibility of the medium filled out the bad to average range before it filled out the jaw-dropping accomplishment range which usually isn’t all that big to begin with.

      Modern gaming still delivers. One of the best games I have ever played is Mirror’s Edge. It asked me to do something new that I hadn’t done before in games. It took something I love, something I live for, and imperfect game that it was took what I strove to find in other games and finally gave it to me: the art of human motion. When I took the time to die and die and die and learn … Mirror’s Edge allowed me to move like few other games.

      It’s funny … here’s a short list of games that have made me feel like I am truly free to move within the context of game play: Soldat, Unreal 2004, Team Fortress 2, Battlefiled 2, Mirror’s Edge, and N. Soldat is like a 2d Counter-Strike where momentum and movement is even more important than aim. If you master moving in Soldat, you master Soldat. Unreal 2004 and TF2 didn’t feel anything like Mirror’s Edge, but in the context of run-and-gun gameplay I felt like mobility was more essential to these games than most others I’d played and crucially, I felt that the depth and control of movement the games gave me was compatible with how much mobility I felt I needed to have. Mirror’s Edge was all about flow and forced you to think about motion in a way more intuitive than any other game I’ve played; it was difficult and it took a lot of getting used to, but it has the least “gamey” movement system I’ve ever encountered and was a mechanical work of art. Last, the simplest of them all: N. N is a game even more obsessed with flow and motion than Mirror’s Edge. If you like platformers and like exacting gamepay go try it (http://www.thewayoftheninja.org/n.html). It is, quite simply, the best platformer I have yet to play. It is simple, and it is custom tailored to my personal style: difficult, concise, clear. The objective is always evident, and the intellectual puzzle comes in getting there as quickly and efficiently as possible–when you get good enough at the mechanics it becomes either an exercise in extreme dexterity or in creativity of motion and path finding depending on the level.

      That’s something of a tangent, I know, but I have a point: old school gaming didn’t ever die. Modern gaming isn’t incapable of delivering the level of quality and mechanical perfection fans ascribe to old school games. And old school games have just as many issues which I’m not going to go into because that would be an even longer post. But there are things we as gamers and designers weren’t thinking about in a lot of older games that we ARE thinking about now. And I think motion is one of those things that is getting better and better if you look in the right places. The logical fallacy I see is comparing the most popular games now to the most popular games from 1995 and saying that games used to be better: the audience was so different then and so much smaller that you can’t really compare the two. I have trouble listening to anyone who talks about the past of gaming as though it was superior. It wasn’t. It was just different. If we want to build better games we need to realize that it is that conventions, past or future, need to be challenged and we do indeed need to be willing to force gamers to learn how to play the game–but not necessarily make the gameplay more physically difficult and navigationally obtuse.

    • gwathdring says:

      Hrm … guess I should explain why Battlefield 2 and 1942 (the same games, to me, in this sense) are on the list, since they are a bit incongruous at first glance. I left that one out … just as well, it’s an even longer tangent to explain properly.

      Battlefield 2 integrated vehicles really, really, really, really, really, really, really well. The vehicles were integral pieces of combat. They were integral pieces of map travel. They were your access point to the world. They were part of short, intimate gunfights when you quickly leaped into a car to run over an opponent because you had to reload and your opponent was too good of a shot for you to take the time to do so. They were cover, support, and artillery. Tanks, planes and helicopters were the heart of long-distance combat in the game. They could be serious enough for intense play, and silly enough for the ludicrous war-stories that make video games so much fun to talk about with friends. The parachutes. The parachutes were brilliant. In BF2, I felt like I could get anywhere the game wanted me to, and probably anywhere else. The game practically dared you to find get yourself into a position that wasn’t intended to be accessible, that opponents wouldn’t expect. I felt like getting into position and using the movement of both soldier and vehicles were even more essential than gunplay. I felt like positioning and movement were the heart of BF2 combat.

      You don’t have to agree with me on which games use movement best. Hell, there are probably games I haven’t even played that I’d think do it better than at least one of the games on my list.

      My point here is more that design goals, like fluid movement, require different mechanics in every game depending on the target feel of the game. My favorite attempts at movement in games include four multiplayer shooters, an indie platform game about a Ninja, a first-person parkour game, and— HOLY SHIT I FORGOT TRACKMANIA! (must resist … more .. tangents …)

      Add to that that these games work so differently for each player … old school mechanics cannot possibly be said to be better. And our developers are only getting better at mixing mechanics to generate the feel they most desire in their games. Sure, the money is coming from the wrong customers for us to get the feel a lot of us want out of our games as PC gamers. But I think it’s really, really important to separate our dislike for the popular style of games from inappropriate disdain for the people who play them. I think it’s really, really important to separate our fondness for games we used to play when we were the focus of the gaming world from thinking modern gaming is taking us away from the best gaming has to offer us. I think it’s really, really important not to become the stuck-up, hipster elitists of the gaming world just because we like games that often happen to be obscure, difficult, fiddly, and unpolished–a lot of us here at RPS take pride in finding what’s great about flawed games. So why are we also so intent to look around us an grimace despite all the energy being pumped into the medium? There’s a lot of be afraid of, but no more than in public media in general. And there’s so much to be excited for.

    • Berzee says:

      O_O
      Usually we don’t get this long of a comment thread unless it’s an RPG. I appreciate the balance this brings. Thanks :)

    • MD says:

      I’m a bit confused about the whole ‘cover mechanics’ thing — are you guys specifically referring to the (relatively) modern ‘press a button to automatically take cover behind the nearest obstacle, and another button to pop out and shoot’ thing?

      I really think that is an unnecessarily limiting way of doing it.

      Back in the day we just used our regular movement controls to take cover behind crates, barrels, doorways, computer bays, whatever, and it worked fine. (We often had ‘lean’ keys, which helped for looking around corners.) I much prefer that style — to me it’s a tiny element of ‘emergent’ gameplay, where you have a consistent set of rules (controls, physics, object behaviour), and different possibilities emerge from their interaction. ‘Cover mechanics’ are a step away from that, and in my experience there’s nothing to make the tradeoff worthwhile.

    • Nick says:

      nothing was good in the past, its all nostalgia. Only today and tomorrow are good.

    • gwathdring says:

      @Nick

      If you’re saying someone here said that then … ???? If you’re serious as opposed to straw-manning it up … ????

      @MD

      What I mean is in between the two. Being able to stick your gun around obstacles and move around a bit so you have different angles (your character, meanwhile, is actually moving up and down so line of sight to his/her head is as well) and are at heights other than standard crouching height depending on the angle of the shot your taking. In other words, context-sensitive cover that is basically a more advanced version of the lean button that also effects how your weapon is animated on screen and has a bit more flexibility. The functionality I’m looking for is found, with less detail and flexibility, in games with a lean button. A lean button would suit me fine, as I mentioned. Not all “old school” games have lean buttons, bear in mind, so again it’s not really fair to leverage that against modern games either.

      I’m definitely not talking about “press button to stick to wall” cover mechanics. My point, however, is this: context sensitive situations in which the rules change aren’t bad in my view. Just as I’m fine with vehicles having different controls from people, I’m fine with the mechanics of stealth being different from frontal assault, with the mechanics of cover being different from the mechanics of running around. I think the pinnacle of environmental interactivity is when you can interact with environmental objects in ways that extend the simple walking-around mechanics whenever you’re trying to do something fundamentally different from walking around. In fact, I’d argue that “press button to stick to wall” cover systems DON’T change the mechanics of the game all that much. Typically you still aim to shoot, duck to crouch, and move side to side or backwards to move side to side or come away from the wall. What generally changes is the camera perspective, which changes how you play the game a fair bit more than the mechanical differences in the sort of cover system I’m imagining does. My version just makes it, to me, feel more fluid, look better, and set up a communication between you and the game engine about when you’re trying to hide your body from the enemy so that you don’t have to have pixel perfect memory about your every limb position despite not having proprioception anymore. To me, that sounds a heck of a lot more interactive than pressing a crouch button behind a static object that should be more than big enough to hide behind and still getting your foot or elbow blown off because the enemy could see it and you aren’t allowed to move it out of the way.

      I don’t see context sensitivity as a bad thing. The trouble is that it’s hard not to make it feel arbitrary and limited without a lot of work. Unfortunately, the best example of a game that put in that work I can come up with didn’t insert much skill into the mechanics, so the context sensitivity is more like an autopilot: Assasin’s Creed. This isn’t what I want, especially not in a shooter. But I think we have the technology to make things like this work in shooters and feel more reliable and logically consistent without needing to resort to autopilot.

    • MD says:

      gwathdring: Yeah, fair points.

      I’m going to cop out a bit and pull out of the discussion without responding properly, but I should acknowledge that my position is at least as arbitrary as anyone else’s — for instance, if I truly wanted emergent purity in character movement I should insist on control systems operating at the level of individual limbs, with complicated actions like running and jumping emerging from the interactions of each body part with each other and the environment; also, environmental interactions like pulling levers, hacking computers, etc. are context-sensitive abstractions, but I don’t complain about them.

    • gwathdring says:

      Also @MD:

      Hrm. I see your point about emergent gameplay. But I guess I feel that ducking behind cover shouldn’t have to be an emergent, accidental phenomenon. It’s such a natural part of gun-based combat that a really robust, technologically advanced engine should allow you to do it in a way less forced and scripted than stadard “press button to stick to wall” but more effectively than the “duck behind object and hope it’s big enough to hide the character model you don’t often get to see from a distance so as to judge it’s size, on account of being in first person” model.

      I think emergent gameplay is important. That’s one of the best parts of emphasis on good AI development: interesting AI behavior is usually the best path to emergent gameplay. It’s also why scripted events are risky and should be used very carefully and inserted as seamlessly as possible. It’s why Left4Dead can be so intense. I just don’t think obliterating context-sensitive cover systems entirely necessarily leads to emergent gaming. If anything, a more robust duck-and-hide mechanic than just crouching sometimes might lead to MORE emergent gameplay opportunities with objects that weren’t put in the room with the intent of being cover are used as such more effectively than in traditional systems. It means level design can be more interesting because when you design a room knowing the player is probably going to need something to hide behind at least a couple of times because of enemies E and H or definitely going to because of a mini-boss … you have more options than “chest high wall” and “crouch height crate.”

      Honestly, I see the traditional design being similarly restrictive to games that allow the player to crouch AND have a covers system. Everything that is supposed to conceal the player has to be crouch-height instead of chest height and has a specific minimum shape related to the crouching animation as opposed to the cover-animation height. If a developer made an animation system robust enough to be more flexible than standard crouch-based cover, I’d be extremely excited. Maybe it’s further away, tech-wise, than I imagine and isn’t feasible yet even in big budget games. But it seems like we’re right around that level of capability …

    • gwathdring says:

      @MD

      Oops. Just missed your post.

      You beat me to the punch on addressing your statements about emergence. :P

      Good point about the levers and buttons. I hadn’t actually thought of that. Good example.

    • Commissar says:

      How the fuck can anyone say that old FPS characters are ‘bullet sponges’ while the new ‘realistic and immersive’ ‘Jam-on-your-face-hide-until-you-wipe-it-off’ characters aren’t?

      Fucking autism, autism everywhere.

  4. Astalano says:

    Hopefully publishers will realise that the PC is the only place where such shooters will ever truely be appreciated (see Bulletstorm flop) and we’ll get more of them.

    • The Sentinel says:

      Sadly, I’m not sure any publisher would be willing to see the distinction between the likes of Bulletstorm and something built from PC DNA like this game is. They’ll see Shooter A flopping and cancel plans for Shooter B through K instead.

    • wazups2x says:

      I don’t consider Bulletstorm a good classic PC shooter at all.

  5. IDtenT says:

    hard Rest? Who writes these tags?

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    Looks like they’re ticking all the right boxes. I demand more Doomey Serious Sammy Painkillery shooty shoots.

  7. eightbitrobot says:

    This all sounds great on paper but the screenshots they’ve shown do nothing for me.

    • The Sentinel says:

      The screenshots for Doom didn’t do much for me either.

      Then I played it. This, dear publishers, is why DEMOS are so vitally important in selling your game.

    • gwathdring says:

      Even if it’s a game about winning a photography competition, screenshots usually aren’t a very good tell of how well the game plays.

  8. Ultra Superior says:

    GO PAINKILLER, GO!
    – my fav PC SHOOTER of all time –

    BRING IT ON POLISH DEVS
    (I like Poland more and more, they have these excellent lil salty cucumbers and fantastic meat n fish products. Games too, lately. Too bad the beer sucks big time.)

    • banski83 says:

      Not keen on Tyskie or Zywiec?

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Eh. Painkiller was OK. Since Blood and Quake I’ve moved past liking games where each level was disconnected and a different style.

  9. CaspianRoach says:

    But wait, if my health doesn’t regenerate, how do I restore it? :OOOOO

  10. thepaleking says:

    I was actually expecting an RPG-ish thing; but this seems to be more in th vein of Painkiller. Won’t hear me complaining though, because I loved Painkiller.

  11. Demiath says:

    I approve. Let’s dumb it down like only the PC can. And I mean that in a good way.

  12. Alextended says:

    I’m not seeing any of that interactivity they tout there. Just lots of shooting, a lot like Painkiller. I’m not sure I want another shooter like that if that’s all it offers.

    • thepaleking says:

      From the context of that sentence, I think by “interactivity” they mean exploration, which Painkiller had quite a bit of. But yes, if you want RPG-like interactivity you should probably look towards Human Revolution or E.Y.E.

    • Hematite says:

      I think they may also mean the kind of interactivity that comes from blowin’ shit up – there are the usual explodey barrels and explodey cars, but notice how the cars seem to move around from the blast providing a big chunk of dynamic cover*. I can see this being great if they include some analogue of HL2’s gravity gun, perhaps with more emphasis on shoving than throwing.

      They may ALSO mean better interaction with a static environment – tactically using windows, corridors, pillars and so forth which doesn’t work well with a gamepad because of the fixed turn rate and slow movement to make the turn rate feel less restrictive. I’m also hoping for some more vertical environments (which I’m told don’t work well on a gamepad but I’ve never been clear on why).

      AND SPEAKING OF WHICH notice how those charging enemies can be easily sidestepped but then you have to to a quick 180 turn to keep shooting them – a classic gameplay item that doesn’t work with a pad but is brilliant with a mouse. And then there’s the possibility of being flanked by enemies which is scary and exciting with a mouse, but irritiating with a gamepad just because it takes so long to turn from one point of interest to another… Oh, what we’ve lost in level design.

      * And by cover I mean the kind of big lump of rock you use to kite the miniboss while dodging his rockets, not the kind of waist-high crate you cower behind until someone chucks a grenade at you.

    • poop says:

      if only you could talk to the monsters

    • Alextended says:

      Where did I suggest anything like RPG shit? It’s an FPS.

      They clearly say interactivity though, not exploration or whatever else.

      I saw nothing more interactive than any other recent or not so recent FPS there.

      That is all. I wouldn’t call Painkiller or Doom’s levels very interactive either.

      Mazes, keys and switches, woo.

      I guess Painkiller had a couple instances where you killed a boss or whatever by dropping stuff on it. Not exactly impressive and very scripted.

    • gwathdring says:

      Please let it not have a gravity gun analog. We’ve got a lot of those. I think the gravity gun was great the first few times we saw it’s ilk. But now that it’s been done so many times, we have to face the reality that it’s not an especially elegant form of environmental interaction and now that it’s becoming a bit too common a trope perhaps we should look to more innovative solutions to static game environments than Hand of God technology.

      I think it’s perfectly valid to question the interactivity claims of a game that, as of yet, shows us a lot of shooting in half-open, mostly-static environments with little evidence of interactive mechanics. It’s way to early to say one way or the other, though, with just this trailer and some screens to go by.

      I would love to see exploration become part of the game. And I would love to see dynamic, first-person environmental interaction in place of the now-standard 3rd person cover system. But personally, I think having cover of the sort from Bound in Blood and the Far Cry 3 E3 demo video is a wonderful piece of interactivity, essential when building environmental interaction. I like being able to shoot around things in a more fluid and immersive manner than older games offer to me. I want to be able to shoot around the edges of that rock I’m dodging rockets with, and duck around the window I’m shooting out of. Try not to get too caught up in the PC-gaming rhetoric: cover mechanics aren’t a bad thing and they don’t mean your character is a wimp. They mean your character knows how to shoot without getting shot, rather than the player having to game the engine in order to do so. I want to be able to peak/lean.

      If you’re going to complain about modern games with respect to player-environment interaction … I think you have a lot to answer for. Sure, the most popular modern shooters have little to none of it. But when I hear that kind of a boast I want movement and positioning to be essential to the game. I want to be jumping, climbing, crawling, sneaking and sliding my way around the battlefield. And with current technology, I want to be able to destroy anything the game world implies my weaponry should be able to destroy. That doesn’t mean I want it to be realistic. I’m fine with artificially constrained environments like the limited portal placement in the Portal games. But I want it to feel like those artificial constraints have origins in the game world as well as out of it.

      Perhaps being able to shoot around things, go prone, slide, sprint around, and use the environment effectively would make the game too easy. Which is why when I hear someone lament how easy modern games are compared to old school shooters, I instantly think about enemy types and AI. Rather than eliminating the ability to use cover dynamically, create enemy weapons, archetypes and tactics that force the player to move out of cover frequently and encourage running-and-gunning in specific situations rather than as the only way to play the game effectively. I love games where each enemy I face needs to be fought a different way … but they are all attacking me at once so I don’t really have time to pick a single tactic and take them each down one-by-one. I have to somehow, through a combination of luck and skill, combine all of the tactics and take down enemies as quickly as I can to make the situation more manageable. Sadly, that kind of gameplay is a lot more easily found outside of the shooter genre even though shooters can really make it sing.

      Just going by the video, I see a lot of backpedaling, moving behind things, and dodging charging enemies. None of that is bad. I like a balance between closed and open environments. I fondly remember the moments in shooters when I’m shoved out into the open and feel like I’m being attacked from everywhere at once, having to bounce my gun from opponent to opponent as I doge and put whatever pitiful rubbish I can find between me and my opponents to buy just enough time to shoot the one charging me from the other side. It’s pure action. And it’s brutally fantastic.

      But I love tactical gameplay. I love being in cover and figuring out where my opponents are by sound. I love being thrown into a terrified run as a gernade is lobbed over whatever cover I’m behind (which in older games was just as often a pile of crates as a cleverly designed piece of architecture or static level design … can you really complain about chest-high walls with all of the damn crates in Half Life?). I can live without dynamic cover, even though it really cleans up the feel of ducking behind things (leaning is a perfectly reasonable middle-ground). But level design that really screams environmental interaction is rare at all periods of gaming history and I think looking around rather than looking backward is going to save level design.

  13. Navagon says:

    Clearly plastic surgery really fucking sucks in the future. Hopefully this game won’t, as it’s looking like it could be very good. Like Alextended said, I’m hoping it’s not just an arena shooter as, realistically speaking, that’s not going to be any less on rails than a CoD clone.

  14. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Is it me or does the colour set (very little brown btw!) make it difficult to follow the action? My eyes now hurt a little, slowly looking up is getting difficult.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah. Those graphics do not look readable.

      But the video encoding quality is not great either.

  15. Yosharian says:

    How has it happened that Polish developers are the saviours of this industry? I love it, but it’s mad as hell.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s not just the Poles. You have Germans making Risen and X3, Ukranians making Stalker and Metro 2033, Russians making the Precursors. Eastern European studios are pumping out high-quality B games for the PC while mid to large Western studios are retreating from niches altogether.

  16. Anjiro says:

    I hope it’s not another mediocre FPS, God knows we don’t need more of those.

  17. Khemm says:

    So far, I love what those guys are PROMISING to do – no health regen, going back to Quake/Duke3D/Blood-like level design, but the video did not convince me… I really, REALLY need a demo to see for myself if the actual gameplay delivers on those promises.

    • Flint says:

      I’m in the same boat – the trailer doesn’t particularly excite me but I’m loving how the devs are describing the game. Definitely on the watchlist.

    • Pod says:

      I agree. It looks pretty terrible and boring. One of the main things that differentiates the “old skool” FPS games from the new ones is that you could run at the speed of the rockets you fired (Doom) and they had incredible fluidity in their movement (every Quake). In this one you plod around like in COD.

    • Premium User Badge

      BathroomCitizen says:

      Yeah, I loved the athletic side of those games. Pure speed!

    • gwathdring says:

      Oh god yes. That was what got me hooked on Unreal 2004. The shooting wasn’t revolutionary, but damn could you move. And quake movement was even more intense.

  18. iphonerepairdoctor says:

    This looks like every other FPS, I see nothing special here from that trailer. Steve.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Looks rather different than Call of Duty etc., to me. But if you think it looks the same, oh well.

    • gwathdring says:

      Are you sure you mean looks, rather than sounds? They describe some lovely ideas, but this particular trailer is pretty bland. There were even the horrible, horrible, oh-god-make-them-stop-doing-this-#$@@%#-bullcrap blood splatters when you get shot at.

  19. thesisko says:

    Take my money!

  20. Acorino says:

    Sounds like some clean good old-school fun! I’m all in!!

  21. MatW says:

    Low walking speed.
    No dodging projectiles.
    Gun taking up a nearly 1/4 of the screen.
    F.O.V. a bit narrow, although I’ve seen a lot worse.

    Sorry, looks like another console game, even if it actually isn’t.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Exactly! This isn’t a PC “Old-School” FPS, it’s just a console game made on PC so it can have some pretty bling-bling.

  22. thebigJ_A says:

    Crap. See, one of the advantages of things being designed for consoles meant my crappy oldish PC could run much of what came out multiplatform. Now I’m gonna have to upgrade. I’m a poor man, dammit!

    Thanks alot!

    • Echo Black says:

      GS: Given that Hard Reset will be a PC exclusive, how hard will it push modern computers? Will PC gamers need a space-age computer in order to run it, or will the performance be fairly scalable?

      MS: We will announce official hardware requirements soon, but I’m sure you will be surprised. We’ve got some really good engine programmers, and I can promise you that even a five-year-old PC will be sufficient to play Hard Reset. But if you own a pimped-up gaming rig, the experience will be much more intense.

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s encouraging. They have souls, and aren’t striving to make it as flashy as possible with no care for the budget-gamer. Let’s hope my soon-to-be five year old PC actually WILL be able to run it. :) That would be cool, even if the game isn’t to my liking.

  23. fenriz says:

    Isn’t it odd(and positive for me) that nowadays FPS that lean on hardcore shooting, like serious sam, inevitably feel retrograde stuff, Class-C, indie products?

    I find it terribly exciting that triple A titles today don’t exist without huge chunks of hollywood-kolossal story and deep(tho accessible), pretentious gameplay. It’s like devs are ashamed to make their games blatantly focused on mindless idiotic KILLING and they have to make half their games loaded with awesome dialogues and cutscenes(it’s bad, ofc, because they’re mostly not interactable, but it’s good in another way).

    Ergo i don’t like what i see here, bring in the good stuff, the drama, the dialogues, the tchoizes. C’mon, chop chop.

    • bill says:

      My hope – for this or other games – is that we can have both.

      The story, characters and dramatic moments of modern shooters, with the freedom, flexibility and pace of old-school ones.

    • fenriz says:

      a childish game with intelligent movie writing doesnt’make a good videogame, thats not an acceptable union. Maturity has to be inside the gameplay too, which rules out the possibility that the game is fast paced(obviously, because maturity+constant fast killing is a paradox)

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Please point me towards these FPS games with amazing story and dialogue – I must be playing something different.. Everytime someone opens their mouth in a modern game clichéd macho drivel flows out of their mouth like a blocked toilet.

    • IDtenT says:

      Unfortunately it is true that the gaming industry is far behind the film industry with regards to maturity, but at least independent developers are trying to do something about that, whether intended or not.

      FPS is probably the most immature genre of them all, yet they’re also the most successful, so as a business what can you do? It’s the reason why I stay away from calling a FPS game the greatest game ever.

      That’s not to say that gaming as a whole is immature. There’s still a lot of management games, grand strategy, TBS, etc out there, that are possibly more mature than the what the film industry can produce, because of interactivity.

    • Mman says:

      “Maturity has to be inside the gameplay too, which rules out the possibility that the game is fast paced(obviously, because maturity+constant fast killing is a paradox)”

      “Fast paced” is not the same thing as “constant fast killing”, a game can be very fast paced while having very little or no killing. Never mind that that’s a pretty limited statement anyway, as I’m sure a good writer could potentially make mass killing part of a general message in a narrative.

    • gwathdring says:

      Just so. Maturity in no way means slow, and fast paced in no way requires constant on-screen death, and a competent team could create a mature game that handled typical video-game violence quantity and pacing from a new angle that made it interesting and thought provoking. It wouldn’t be the first time entertainment media took something you were enjoying, spun it around, and then asked you why in a way that came to haunt and disturb you for at least a few days. By the way, if you know any games that pull off something from this fantastic class of tropes (or tries to and fails in an interesting way), let me know. :)

  24. Dana says:

    Yep, it will be an cyberpunk Painkiller. Which is ok, we dont have enough of those.

  25. Unaco says:

    Hard Reset… apt name. Will doubtless be required due to all the Grand Mal seizures that will be induced.

  26. edit says:

    I’m grateful to see some developers support my favoured platform, but I can’t help but feel that relief from the console-ized rails-shooters will come in the form of forward thinking creativity that breaks from conventions rather than a return to old values. The greats of old stood out largely because they offered something new which evolved the medium. There are an awful lot of attempts to repeat past successes these days. Pretty tired of shooting galleries as well. In life, violence is what people resort to when they lack the imagination or maturity to find a better solution. I’m tempted to say that the same is true in game design..

    • The Sentinel says:

      I suspect you’re begin a tad more subjective in your opinions than is actually healthy for gaming in general. Your tiredness of shooting galleries doesn’t mean that other people don’t still enjoy them. I’d like to think there is room in gaming now for ALL types of gaming, young and old alike, which leaves the field open for the moments of creativity you and I are both looking for.

    • Jimmy says:

      It’s a bit “X takes place in a dystopian future, where corporation Y provide service A to its citizens. B wakes up one day to discover that his identity has been stolen and that he is being pursued by corporate agents who have opened up a new dimension/created new life forms/whatever, and must shoot his way out of it ALONE… Equipped with the latest rocket launcher, shotgun, energy pulse weapon, and a box of cereal, you must blast your way through 25 hours of mind-blowing mayhem, eventually reaching Pearl City where you must do something to some central thing which blows shit up, end of game, or is it?”. I’m too old for this shit.

    • edit says:

      My tiredness of shooting galleries doesn’t mean that I can’t still enjoy them myself! I still play plenty of violent games, but really this comes down to the fact that there is an utter fixation on violence which permeates an enormous chunk of the medium (as well as others such as film), so for every batch of games that look well-crafted, most generally happen to be violent. I’m absolutely for an open field of creativity, embracing all kinds of games, but it seems to me that violent game types are so normalised and perpetually reinforced that many developers with the skills and creativity to explore new things have narrowed their field down to violent game types alone.

      It’s easiest to make games in a genre which has had many successful (and unsuccessful) games and many years to refine itself, sure, but I feel like our industry is old enough and followed by enough mature individuals that there is a lot of room for that focus to shift. I’m utterly pro-free-speech and I’ll defend a violent game’s right to exist as much as anyone, but I also feel that a fixation on violence (be it from an individual, a developer or a collective) is always misguided and wastes the opportunity to pump some more positive ideas and inspiration back into the population. Creative visualisation is powerful, yet we spend a ridiculous amount of it on apocalyptic visions of destruction and horror. We can do better, both as an industry and as a species.

      No disrespect intended to the developers of this game (or any other).

    • gwathdring says:

      @ Jimmy

      That’s the vibe I’m getting, too.

      @edit

      I agree. I want to see more of that outward-moving innovation as opposed to redesign–but I’m perfectly fine with games like Portal and Mirror’s Edge getting sequels that revise and improve on the original design, taking a concept that proved itself worth-while and making it into something more palatable and complete as a game and thus more likely to sell for more money. Where it becomes a problem is at the Call of Duty step, where the developer decides to do it again after the attempt that gets it mostly right and continue to produce minor revisions as full-blown products rather than updates and expansions. I don’t expect the industry never to repeat itself, never to make sequels, and never to cash in on something that can make loads of money. But I do expect the end-game of such activities to be a lead-in for new and exciting games … something I see from very few companies. I think the Valve business model lends itself very well to this, even if it leads to some prominent fan disappointments: disappointments that speak to how unready we as an audience are to give up the comforts of the very derivative, cash-in sequels we complain about when we aren’t fans of the series.

  27. zergrush says:

    Is this the one with Live JPG girls?

  28. Coriform says:

    Very shaky!

  29. Daryl says:

    Looks cool, and I hope it turns out well. They really need to release a demo first though.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Hypocee says:

    Lightning autoshotty. There’s your bullet point.

  31. Iskariot says:

    I absolutely love cyberpunk themed games, but if this is a game in which everything that moves is automatically an enemy that has to be shot, then I’ll pass.

    I would like to know more about the gameplay.
    Can I upgrade/mod my character and weapons?
    Are there neutral NPC’s?
    Is it linear?

    etc.

  32. Cryotek says:

    I think I need new underwear.

    Does the environment remind anyone else of the UT3 “Samaritan” tech demo?

    God I cannot wait to learn more about this one.

  33. Cryotek says:

    HD Version of the gameplay trailer here:

  34. TychoCelchuuu says:

    But will it have explosions?!

  35. Qazi says:

    Gameplay footage with jam on screen damage indication… interspersed with images of his eyeballs bleeding out then exploding?

    Oh. I see what they did there.

  36. Tergiver says:

    Wow!

    A PC-only, first-person, single-player-only shooter!

    I haven’t been this excited in a very long time. If there are no QTEs, this is my dream game.

  37. Cryotek says:

    I assembled some screenshots from Facebook, PC Gamer, and Ripten. I also went through the teaser and the gameplay trailer and took some (lower quality) screen grabs with FRAPs.

    http://www.cryotank.net/gallery/pc-game-screenshots/hard-reset/

  38. pupsikaso says:

    “Old-School” FPS? Without multiplayer? What a bunch of pompous asses. What kind of “old school” FPS focuses on singleplayer?

    This game will fail.

    • Vinraith says:

      Old school FPS’s were single player, what are you talking about? Modems didn’t exactly support high speed, actiony multiplayer.

    • Khemm says:

      Umm.. MOST OF THEM? Who remembers Duke 3D or Blood for their multiplayer?
      Seriously, those “waaah, no MP!” comments are ridiculous.
      I’m certain that people who want MP oh so desperately would play MP for a day or two and then return to their favourites – CS, TF2, Battlefield, Quake, UT anyway.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Quake and onwards were multiplayer games… what are you talking about? Games like Doom and Duke3D aren’t exactly very representative of what made “old school” FPS so freaking good.

    • Vinraith says:

      Games like Doom and Duke3D aren’t exactly very representative of what made “old school” FPS so freaking good.

      Stating opinions as fact is fun. Personally, I enjoyed the genre far more before it became about deathmatch modes, and I’m certainly not willing to concede the term “old school” to the Quake generation. Get a more accurate label.

    • InternetBatman says:

      They’re not being pompous asses. They’re making a smart design decision. Multiplayer is hard to make, causes just as many bugs as the single player game in it’s own right, and creates bad word of mouth when it fails. They probably don’t have the resources to cover it, so they shouldn’t. Overly ambitious companies make great but buggy games and then go out of business. Realistic companies create a good name for themselves and do steady business.

    • Premium User Badge

      BathroomCitizen says:

      @Vinraith: just out of curiosity, which game would get your ‘oldschool’ label? :)

    • Vinraith says:

      The founding titles of the genre, obviously. Wolfenstein, Doom, Duke3d, and equivalent titles from that era.

      I’ve really got no stake in this, I don’t play FPS’s much anymore and doubt the subject of this article will be something I’m interested in, I just thought the claim that started this subthread was very strange.

    • killmachine says:

      quoted “doomers, quakers and painkillers”

      doom for inventing deathmatch, quake for evolving it, painkiller for competetive?!

      those games defined multiplayer shooters (except painkiller). i dont see how one can be so stupid to develope an oldschool shooter without multiplayer either. in fact, i dont know why one would release an oldschool shooter with singleplayer. even though all the old games have singleplayer, but thats not what made them popular.

      sadly, i just lost all interest in this game when i read it has no multiplayer.

    • Mman says:

      “even though all the old games have singleplayer, but thats not what made them popular.”

      This is utterly incorrect; most people never even played the multiplayer on early FPS; I can’t recall where I read it as it was years ago, but there’s a stat that said something like less than 50% of the people who bought Unreal Tournament ever played it in online multiplayer (and that’s just going on it at least once, let alone playing it for any length of time), and that’s a game that doesn’t even have SP in the traditional sense. Given that the games listed here came out earlier and had a dedicated SP campaign it can be safely assumed the amount of MP players was even more dire.

      That’s not to say early MP wasn’t important for developing the genre, but the idea it was anything more than a developing niche at the time of the “old-school” FPS is pretty much wrong. Plus the last thing FPS needs right now is more MP focused games that die within a month.

    • Premium User Badge

      Herzog says:

      I was skeptical at first too because they dont include any multiplayer. But maybe they learned from Painkiller. The mp of Painkiller was terribly bad when it was released. Worst netcode ever. Only was surpassed in badness by Wolfenstein 2009.

      Still looking forward to it. Though I wont get it on release day ;)

    • Lemming says:

      You’re right, old-school FPS DID have multiplayer and very fun it was too…HOWEVER most people didn’t get to play it as it only really shined on LAN set ups, something which isn’t accessible enough for everyone.

      The reason multiplayer used to be fun, was because you were usually playing with people you knew in the same room (For me, this was Quake 2 at college).

  39. porps says:

    hmm this could be good, sure looks more interesting than another bloody modern warfail or blac kocks.

  40. InternetBatman says:

    That just looks awesome. Frenetic in a way that modern shooters aren’t. Too bad about multiplayer though.

  41. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    Yeah, I would have liked some fast-paced multiplayer too.

    Anyway, this is looking lovely. We already have too many FPS with too much stuff added on top of it. A return to a simpler (and maybe at the same time deep) gameplay can only benefit the genre.

    And heck yeah, finally a shooter where I can haul around all my weapons!

    If only people gave Quake 1 another try, they would remember why it was/is so great (and Doom too, obviously). Newer generations are missing a lot, though it’s still all available, even with modern ports that make these classics look quite good even for their age.

  42. Daniel Is I says:

    This makes the gamer in me happy and sad at the same time.

    Why sad? Somehow, I don’t think 2gb of RAM and 2 GeForce 8600 GT cards are going to cut it. Plus, no money for upgrades.

  43. Tretiak says:

    You Are Empty!

    • ZIGS says:

      Believe it or not I love that game, finished it twice

    • Navagon says:

      I also quite liked that game. Maybe not enough to finish it twice. But certainly once.

  44. fuggles says:

    Makes sense to me – the MP market is pretty saturated with the big games, so without the budget to even think of challenge MW3 and BF3 then just make a great SP game that can stand out on its own merit and people will play.

  45. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    Nobody bitched about lack of cover in Doom. Or Quake. Or Quake 2. Or, uh, Mario.

    • gwathdring says:

      Except for Mario. Damn I hated that game. I kept thinking … if only there were a chest-high wall here that goomba would be toast. But no. Damn you, Nintendo!

  46. silverhammermba says:

    Having just replayed Duke Nukem 3D and loving it, I am glad that this attempt is being made. I hope it turns out well.

    Regenerating health and cover-based shooters have their place and may be the “evolution” of the FPS, but it’s also important to remember the long, successful history of FPS games that have come before.

    The general hatred of regenerating health and cover-based shooters by PC gamers isn’t only because “different is bad”. The real criticism is that game developers don’t seem to be learning from the successful designs of the past – instead figuring out more and more ways to make their jobs easier while satisfying the lowest common denominator of gamers.

    • gwathdring says:

      I think, to be fair, it’s the publishers are the ones pushing the easy development strategies more than the developers. A lot of people in the industry really want to make games. There’s a ton of energy involved. So many people make games for free, or next to nothing, that take enormous investments of time an money. This is a hobby people yearn to design content for, people with an enormous talent for it. Developers, though, also want to be heard. I’m sure they include ideas from popular games as much because they want the massive audience that enjoys the more popular games to enjoy theirs as because it is more expedient. The emphasis on quick production and sloppy sequels, though, doesn’t come as much from the designers and developers as the corporate leadership in publishing and the largest development firms. Games with budgets allocated less on engine power and marketing and more on design and idea production probably turn out better. I can certainly say the Valve model has a higher success rate even if I can’t prove that’s as big a part of why as employee satisfaction.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The issue with regenerating health, I think, is that it actually removes some of what was interesting about health management in combat games, particularly when you were at very low health and still managed to pull off the series of kills necessary to get you through to the next medkit or whatever.

      In design terms, of course, regenerating health looks like a smarter solution: there’s none of the irrational weirdness of hoovering up first-aid kits, and from the angle of accessibility it means that players never get themselves into a corner because backing off for a bit puts you back at full health.

      It’s one of those trends that absolutely makes sense, but nevertheless prunes away some of what made FPS games interesting to play, particularly for experienced players.

    • gwathdring says:

      Good point.

      I sort of feel like the health-pack system sacrifices elegance of level design for elegance of pacing. It feels wrong to place a giant, magical healing box in the middle of your painstakingly crafted room, at the end of the super-intense fight you just set up … but it allows the player to experience a much more custom-tailored combat pacing where based on the amount of health available near the site of battle and where it is located relative to the action, you can haul through the battle in one go or be forced to duck out and take a breather every so often (but you only get so many) or you can be forced to struggle through the whole encounter carefully, slowly, and using as much cover as possible to get through without the help of any nearby health-packs.

      Hmm. Now that I think about it from that perspective, it makes me like portable healing like health potions and Far Cry 2’s syrettes even more. The designer controls location, availability, and expediency of use. The player gets to control how those resources are managed, and with enough skill, can earn the opportunity to use them where they were not intended to be of assistance. So consumables used properly can reward skilled players, reward exploration, allow more customizable pacing (designer can choose whether to have instant health, charging health, or multiple types of consumables), and bring resource management into the game in a more tangible way. A combination of portable and non-portable creates the most customizable flow of play, but as with health packs can seem ungainly and undesirable from a fiction and aesthetic standpoint. With recharging health you can interpret it as something other than actually taking bullets in vital organs–losing control of the battle, taking shots to the armor and bullet grazes here and there … and when you take a break, you’re resting and pushing through the minor injuries, and getting your confidence and awareness back. Calling it Ego, in that sense, actually has some logic behind it. The design philosophy is more easily abstracted to create immersive fiction even if the gameplay is not also more immersive as a result.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      To play advocate for re-gen health, the “problem” with traditional health systems is that you’re either invulnerable or you’re fucked.

      (Unless it’s a game where you die with a couple of shots, which changes everything. Traditionally, you’re not.)

      In other words, the action is either pretty much pointless or hyper-punishing. Damage doesn’t matter in the former or removes any give in the latter. It creates situations where it’s better to re-load rather than press on. It even creates situations where it’s better to reload than take any damage whatsoever.

      Re-gen health tightens that loop so that in an individual fire-fight you move between periods of vulnerability and strength, offence and defence. It lends itself to modular games with bubbles of interactivity with wide levels of expression – ideally with AI who pursue the player rather than wait statically for you to heal – in other words, Halo more than CoD.

      I would more argue the problem comes with damage not being damaging enough rather than regenerating health-per-se. If you’re as invulnerable as you are in the trad system AND you regenerate, that’s where it starts to fall apart.

      KG

    • edit says:

      I feel like health packs can work fantastically if the game is designed so that it is possible for a skilled player to potentially make it through the whole thing without taking damage. Some of my most thrilling moments in the Half-Life series, for instance, were when I found myself with few (or even 1) HP but with challenges ahead, making the fight for survival all the more tense. If a game is designed in such a way that it’s pretty much impossible to proceed without soaking up bullets, though, the player can certainly get stuck in some frustrating or impossible situations without regenerating health, but the trade-off is that those particular kind of tense moments will never occur.

    • Premium User Badge

      BathroomCitizen says:

      Those kind of tense moments are what was worth about Doom and Quake. You really had to give your best to succeed if you’ve been sloppy in the previous fights! Also, what was cool about Doom and Quake was that the majority of monster didn’t have hitscan attacks, so with a masterful knowledge of strafing their shots you could really fight an horde of them without a scratch.

      Couple this with the monster behaviour of Quake and you could nearly predict every movement. Fighting three fiends was very very fun.

      Every mistake against those monsters counted because you didn’t have any regenerating health. This let you strive to always better yourself. Yeah, kind of an unorthodox method, but very effective!

      Also: yeah, non-regenerating health leads you save and reload very frequently.
      With this matter I try to restrain myself as much as I can and deal with the consequences.

    • gwathdring says:

      I find I really like the hybrid solution: games where you regenerate segments of health, but have to use consumables (portable or otherwise) to regain whole segments. It forces you to be careful, and to manage your consumables but it also means if you had a rough fight, but still performed admirably you might be able to just take a breather and then get on with things. That “critical injury” state is sort of the high-speed game’s version of a downed state. You’re limited in what you can do without dying and have to restrain yourself and be exceedingly careful until you can get patched up.

      The hybrid system also means that you can hunker down and recharge a bit … but there’s a certain point at which hiding doesn’t help you anymore and you need to get through your enemies to find more substantial aid.

  47. alilsneaky says:

    ITT half the commenters for this article never played quake or are downright horrible at it and want their console baby familiarity.
    Go away, this game is clearly not for you.

  48. porps says:

    oh, no multiplayer? Instant fail.

  49. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    edit: reply fail!

  50. Cunzy1 1 says:

    Looks dull.