StarHawk Developer Interview

StarHawk Developer Interview 

There were many high-profile PlayStation-exclusive games this year, and none even come close to the hype and excitement drawn by StarHawk, the exciting new sequel to WarHawk on the PlayStation 3. I had a chance to talk to Jay Van Beveren (HawkStar Jay), the Community Manager for StarHawk about StarHawk’s storyline, gameplay, features, additions and refinements to the WarHawk formula.

Hit the jump to check out the full interview.

JTM Games: Could you tell us a little bit about StarHawk’s story?

Jay Van Beveren: In a futuristic universe, the human race runs low on resources so we start to expand out into the universe. Sort of a frontier effort where we’re creating and terraforming new planets. As we do that, we come across a new energy source called Rift; and although Rift is very powerful, we find that out that it’s corrupting people and turning them into these mutants who are defensively protective of this energy source.

Emmett, the main character in the game is the only person who gets exposed to Rift who doesn’t turn into one of the “Outcasts” and as a result, he’s on a quest to find out why and learn more about himself, Rift energy, and what’s going on with this corruption.

JTM Games: One of StarHawk’s biggest selling point is it’s multiplayer component. Could you tell us about the different factions that players can choose from in the game?

Jay Van Beveren: We have Rifters and Outcasts as you saw today on the PAX show floor; Rifters are the miners and the Outcasts are the mutants.

JTM Games: What lessons did you learn from WarHawk that you applied and that made StarHawk a better game?

Jay Van Beveren: One of the things we noticed is that we have a lot of people who are very, very dedicated and have a huge affinity for WarHawk. They even still play today.  We still see tournaments and servers running populated with ultra-dedicated players.

But we had a lot of complaints about the learning curve; of how to adapt into the game, how to figure out how the game works. And we realized over time that as much as we were a hardcore game, we were losing out on an opportunity to connect with people early and introduce them to the concepts of the game.

So what we’ve done with StarHawk is made the game more approachable: we’ve made sure that people have a chance to actually understand the root concepts of things like building battle, the way structures work, the way objectives work, so that when you’re coming in for the first time, you don’t have a huge disadvantage to someone who’s been playing for two years. You actually have a competitive foothold in the game.

JTM Games: Could you elaborate more on StarHawk’s multiplayer component?

Jay Van Beveren: Currently It’s a 32-player multiplayer game.  There’s a chance we may go larger. Our big thing is, we could go 64 or huge numbers, but we need to maintain a quality experience. So we’re not gonna increase the player count just to make a higher number on the box. We want to make sure that it’s a fun experience for everyone playing. We want to make sure that it’s running well; that the graphics look great. But if we had to sacrifice those for a larger player number, then we’re not going to do that.

We also support split-screen. Today we’re actually showing off one of the game modes; Capture The Flag five on five. It’s really amazing stuff and I’m really pleased. I think a lot of people really like it.

JTM Games: Many players’ favorite part of WarHawk were the Hawk ships. Will there be pure space battles or is it just going to be ground and space battles?

Jay Van Beveren: Our focus right now is ground and space battles. I can’t say if we will or we won’t have a dedicated space-only match where it’s all Hawks. It’s possible but we’re so far off from release that nothing can really be confirmed at this point.

One of the things that we want to make sure of is that as part of building battle you have an option to play how you want to play. So if you can’t drive vehicles and can’t fly hawks we give you a turret to play. We give you the option of driving a RazorBat (which is our buggy).

We try to make sure that we have a little bit of something for everyone so that rather than tell you “this is how you should play,” you can tell us “I want to play this way.”

JTM Games: Could you talk about the new vehicles that you’ve added to the game?

Jay Van Beveren: I already mentioned the RazorBat which we’re showing off here (at PAX). We’re also showing off the jet pack today. As far as any other vehicles, anything is possible. Like I said, We’re always looking for new ideas.

JTM Games: When can players expect StarHawk to be released?

Jay Van Beveren: StarHawk is coming in 2012, our philosophy with the game is “it’s done when it’s done.” We don’t want to rush it to a release because then if we do, we may miss features, we’re gonna try to hit a deadline and we’re gonna come up against a wall and say “oh we can’t get this game the way we want.”

The nice thing about our window is that we have the oppurtunity to make this the best game possible. So we’re gonna take the time that we need to make the game right and if it takes an extra couple of months then it does. We want to make sure that when it does come out, people love it.

People always remember when a game is bad, but they never remember when a game is delayed.

JTM Games: Thank you very much for taking the time and talking with us Jay.

Jay Van Beveren: My pleasure. Thank you.


About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming.

Posted on September 7, 2011, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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