Bulletstorm: 'Fun doesn't mean shallow'

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

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CB: Adrian likes to use the example where you come over the hill and there's a conveniently placed RPG, then the rocket launcher magically shows up.

AC: If it's well written into the fiction, [that's best]. For example, we have this moment where you fight a chain gunner and right after that you use his weapon to fight off the sub-baddies following you. That's written into the fiction, it makes sense, it's not magical.

But sometimes you have these sequences when you fight against hordes of enemies wishing you had a rocket launcher, but it's nowhere to be seen. Then suddenly a guy appears saying "hey, I have a rocket launcher", and you know what's going to happen next.

I don't want to mention the name of the game but there was this moment when I played [a certain shooter]. I entered a room and there were just guns everywhere, I just thought 'right, I'm going to be stuck in this room for a while', and that's exactly what happened.


CB: It's the same thing with the RPG where there's loads of mana about and then it's like 'here you go, run to the boss buddy'.

Bulletstorm feels quite a lot like classic fast-paced PC games such as Quake and Duke Nukem. Do think gamers have come around from the heavily scripted, directed games to want those types of games again?

CB: Those games were classics. They had heart and soul and I think it's that heart and soul - with a sense of unabashed sense of fun - that Bulletstorm embodies.

AC: Before, we had fun right? Things started to slowly switch to storytelling, being serious and crafting experiences - the 'escapism' factor of gaming. But it started to lose that element of owning the game, feeling the fun of it. It started to be like as a gamer you're an actor in a script that somebody else has written.

We wanted to keep that. Good storytelling and writing is important for the triple-A experiences that people pay $60 for, but at the same time we said that doesn't mean that you can't just have fun and laughs.

We started to have a bit of both, the memories of the past when games were just focused on fun and story was, well just an excuse for all of that - who really remembers to story of Quake?

It didn't really matter, gameplay was king. So we took that fun and married it with good storytelling.

These days FPS gamers tend to have a laser like focus on one product, such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. Do you think this kind of 'fun' focused experience can break through and exist alongside against something like Call of Duty?

CB: I think the fact that Bulletstorm is a first-person shooter, but a slightly different one in regards to that is what will make it exist. If we had just set out to make another military shooter we'd be potentially... who knows, with our execution maybe it may have been amazing. If you look at Medal of Honor getting market share, Call of Duty owning that space; with your first game out of the box maybe you'll be number 3, maybe you'll be Dr Pepper you know, or Snapple.


Creatively, People Can Fly set out to do the kind of game they wanted to make - and it just so happens that it is in the lineage of that classic unabashed fun area of games. But with that said, all those military games have got to wear down at some point as far as [gamers] taking a break from them and trying something a little different. I hope that when they try it, they like it.

You've got Bulletstorm running in 3D on the PC. Why did you choose not to offer the same for the console experience?

AC: It wasn't really a matter of choice, it was basically the fact that if you decide to go for 3D you have to sacrifice something. It basically requires double the frame rate, you would have to have a really really fast game, there would have to be some sacrifices, especially in the visual department.

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