Interview: Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter
12th Mar 2003 | 17:58
Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter, the game that aims to seamlessly blend space flight combat with first-person shooter action, is coming along in leaps and bounds on next-generation consoles. Set in the distant future, and jailed 'for a murder he didn't commit' our man Mace heads off collecting the bounty for bad guys and settling a few scores for losing ten years of his life in the slammer. We cornered Robert Irvine, who works for Black Label games, who was having far too much fun playing Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter by himself, so we demanded a demonstration. It's good to see the publisher of the Warthog-developed combo platter space-shooter and first-person blaster Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter give such an enthusiastic demo to us. "You want weapons? You'll get weapons..."
Give us a brief overview of the Mace Griffin story.
IRVINE: Mace Griffin is a ranger, he's in the space police force essentially. He goes with his men on a mission, they all get wiped out, he escapes but they blame him for it. Basically it's a set-up, he gets framed for it and he goes to prison for 10 years. When he gets out he's going to hunt down all the people that set him up.
How does it play?
IRVINE: The key elements of this is that it's a combination space flight and first-person shoot-'em-up game. Controls are almost identical for both types of play. In your ship you fly around, you land it and you go!
One of the things we really like about it is that it looks good enough to do the cinematics really well. So here I am running around my ship, I pop the triangle button to sit down and fly it.
What's the balance of the game between first person shooting and flying?
IRVINE: About a quarter of it is space flight, that's about the right number. We've definitely concentrated on the ground missions but there's enough space flight to keep the adrenaline going. So I walk out the door here and I'm in the first-person shooter.
There's a deep involved story with some interesting twists in it, none of which I can talk about [laughs].
There are 12 different weapons for first-person shooter mode, and most of them have two different fire modes. It's got a pretty smooth control system, it's easy to get used to and when you do, it really feels good.
This is my facvourite gun, not only is it fast firing, it's also a grenade launcher. The thing about this game is that it feels really satisfying, all the weapons are pretty darned satisfying. We're going for a real gritty and intense feel to it, and it makes it just plain satisfying...
What stage is the game at?
IRVINE: It's about 80% complete and we're due out... Where's my weapon... that's it, nice and juicy...
You notice that the AI is pretty sophisticated. They use cover, they aim well, they throw grenades at you in the later levels, and some of them have shields and everything - so it's never easy at the end.
You get good feedback - see the screen shake when you use this gun? It's great.
At the end of the day you're just going to have a good time making things blow up... Let me show you some weapons... I like to start with my favourite weapon - it involves things blowing up and clouds of red, and chunks of... Well, it's cool when you use it well. There's two types of grenades. One is just the 'throw it away and wait for it to go off' type, and the other is the 'throw down, and blow it up when you want to.'
So that was neat. This is the green gun, I don't know what it's actual name is, it has one but I really have no idea what it is. Now the green gun makes spots on the wall, and the reason it shows little spots on the wall is because it's bouncing. You can bounce this gun around corners, you play the trajectory to just pick guys off who's hiding behind the corner and think they've got away - they love the little green dots. It's also got a super shot it fires off too.
Here's the Sound Gun - I love the sound on this - let me torch these civilians for demonstration purposes. This is a one-shot weapon but it also has a second mode when you hold it down and charge it up - it makes this really cool sound burst that makes people stand around and hold their heads
When you play a different weapon - you beat them up with it. You have a stick, but nobody uses a stick in combat if you have things that makes things blow up, but you have it in case you need it.
You have a sniper rifle, with a really cool zoom mode. A rocket launcher, nobody really complains about the rocket launcher. This has a tracking mode too, so if you hold the button down and fire it, it'll follow things. Oops! Another civilian bites the dust, it's a shame really that we have to harm civilians just in the interest of demonstration.
The very last weapon, sort of a secret, but not really - it's just that you don't get it until near the very end. You can think about it all you want but you don't get to play with it until later. This is the only weapon not to have two fire buttons, and the reason for that is that one's enough!