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Bulletstorm: 'Fun doesn't mean shallow'

Epic's Cliff Bleszinski and PCF's Adrian Chmielarz discuss 2011's most controversial FPS...

Excitement amongst FPS fans for People Can Fly and Epic's Bulletstorm is growing every bit as fast as the outrage it inspires in the reactionary press.

But has the recent controversy surrounding the game left the two studios behind it keeping a low profile? Perhaps they're running scared from accusations of corrupting our tiny little minds?

Are they frag. They're proud of the game they've made - especially its fresh, if brutal, take on the crowded genre it's entering.

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We caught up with PCF founder Adrian Chmielarz and Epic design lead Cliff Bleszinski to talk about the game and its deliberately outrageous content.

Despite the offended rhetoric pouring out of Fox News - and Bulletstorm's propensity to upset a whole lotta sensitive types - the pair seem mainly interested in something called "fun".

To those of us who've become a little jaded by same-old shooters, that sounds like music to the ears...

Bulletstorm doesn't tip toe around the violence or pull any punches - it seems like you put pretty much every idea that came to you in. What was the process?

CB: It was pretty much a case of "build the kind of game you want to build". There wasn't any sort of process where we considered ripping off someone's head and shitting down the neck or something like that, it was all in the name of fun.

AC: The goal was always to make a photorealistic version of Roadrunner. So when you see that violence, sometimes you think "I can't believe this just happened", but then you'll laugh instead of being shocked. I don't think anybody could really confuse Bulletstorm with a murder simulator. It's all so crazy and over the top that it is just for fun.

Still, it seems like a good target for the anti-violence in games crowd...

CB: You know the violence in games, the language and all those issues are issues that on one hand I've always found very scary - that people are attacking the industry. Yet on the other hand, I have found it somewhat flattering, because it's one of those situations where the fact that people think "ooh, big scary video games are ruining the world", I guess, means that we're the new rock and roll, the new Elvis, the new Dungeons and Dragons, the new moving pictures.

It means we're clearly hitting a nerve somewhere. I could talk all day about the tone of the violence in Bullestorm, the fact that it's very tongue in cheek.

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What was the motivation behind Bulletstorm?

CB: That's a tricky question, boiling it down to one phrase. I guess from my hip it would be to have fun, not be too serious with it but at the same time not be too shallow when it comes to story, characters and gameplay.

AC: Yeah. I love playing very well directed experience, I honestly do. However, what I'm missing is the ability for me to actually matter in a game and feel that I own the game, feel like it was up to me to solve this problem.

So the system we're offering is a mix: on one hand you have a linear story, but every single combat zone is a little sandbox where it is 100 per cent up to you how you want to deal with the enemy. It's your playground and you choose your own way.

That is why, for example, you don't have that progression. You do find guns over the course of the game, but as soon as you find it you can exchange it for whatever you want every few minutes at the drop pods. We don't tell you how to play.

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