Developer inXile has taken it upon itself to bring the cool of Hollywood bank heists to videogames in its PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 title Hei$t. Set in the late 60s in San Francisco, you're dropped into the shoes of a leader of a crew that's out to bust into bank vaults and make scores, tangling with the cops in shootouts and high-speed car chases on the way.
We caught up with Sean Patton, senior game designer, to find out if it's be as good Point Break.
What movies have you watched for inspiration?
Sean Patton: Lots of action movies for the feel of the game and lots of 60s movies for the look and style: from Heat and Point Break to Bullit and Dog Day Afternoon.
Will we hear any Lalo Schifrin scores sneaked in anywhere?
Patton: Probably not, we are going with more of a 60s rock 'n' roll theme to our music.
Themes of crime, car chases and shootouts makes us immediately think of the Grand Theft Auto series - is Hei$t actually anything like GTA?
Patton: Well I hope fans love us as much as they love the Grand Theft Auto Series. That being said, we are definitely a different type of game. Our gameplay is focused around being an elite bank robber in charge of a crew.
You run with three members in your crew, using their unique abilities and personalities to take on a variety of banks and their security systems. Our combat also makes use of a cover system, so shootouts are intense.
Obviously we're expecting bank robberies and other scores to be, well, cool, we guess - how are you making these really stand out?
Patton: The period provides a high level of cool on its own. The music, the cars, the clothes and the movies had a very cool style. Ultimately though, cool comes from attitude and that's provided by the player. We give you the tools to be an elite bank robber who covers every angle or a smash and grab master who charges in guns blazing.
We're interested to know how the whole crew part of the game works... ?
Patton: You play as the ring leader of a crew of hand picked bank robbers. The way you control your crew is through 'Shot Calling'. This is like being the quarterback to your crew. You pick the play, assigning your crew responsibilities then they perform their role. If you want to change it, or assign a specific task you can through the 'Shot Calling' system.
The crew though, isn't a bunch of robots. They will interact with you as well. If they feel there is something better they can be doing, they'll tell you. If you tell them something they can't do or risks their lives, they will tell you too.
How accurate a representation is Hei$t's San Francisco of the real city in 1969?
Patton: We are using lots of major landmarks, so you will know its San Francisco, but it is a stylized version.
Is it just cops we'll be tangling with, or other crews as well? And are the cops all faceless entities, or are we going to have like an arch nemesis with a badge?
Patton: There are several people in the city that don't like your activities. They all deal with the player differently. There are cops, S.W.A.T., F.B.I., and even National Guard that may try to stop the player from succeeding. Each one will have different strengths and weakness and use different tactics.
There are also common street thugs who want to get in on the action, vigilantes that feel they can do a better job that the cops and organized crime that want their part of your take. Bank robbery ain't easy.