SiN Episodes Interview: Fan Questions

Following on from our own in depth interview on the first Sin: Episodes release, Emergence, Ritual's Michael Russell invited an array of questions to be posted in one of his famous 'question of the week' threads on our forums. Lots of our community members jumped at the chance to pose questions to the development team, ranging from topics from the gameplay on the Source engine to the delivery of the game on the Steam platform. Carry on reading to find out the responses in an interview created by the fans, for the fans...

SiN Episodes will throw several new mutant designs into the mix.
In your own words, describe the most noticeable changes coming from Sin to Sin Episodes.

The game obviously looks a ton better than the original SiN, sporting high resolution textures and models, as well as more detailed environments. SiN Episodes also has a fully fledged physics engine, so when the player (or any of the NPCs, for that matter) interacts with objects or machinery, everything reacts physically correct. Compared to SiN, this takes a huge load off the level designer’s back, since this kind of stuff no longer has to be scripted. That also allows us to have many more objects in the levels, which in turn makes them more realistic.

Overall, things have definitely evolved a bit, but at its core, the game still feels like SiN. The combat is as tight as ever and our characters are still the driving force behind the story. SiN fans will feel right at home.

Can you describe further on how much interactivity we should expect with the environment and how it plays into the game itself?

We’ve tried to adhere to the interactive standard set by SiN. We’ve got many “useable” objects in the world – Lockers, Cabinets, etc. That’s just the start of things though; we go a step further in many cases, giving “useable” elements a direct tie to gameplay. We didn’t forget the “play factor” in interactivity either. We’ve created a cool in-game GUI system that allows the player a deeper level of interactivity with things like display kiosks, elevator panels, control terminals, and phone booths. The GUI system operates as our updated analog for the consoles found in the first game. We have more of a foundational implementation at this stage – it’s in and it does some cool things, but count on us expanding on it significantly in upcoming episodes, though. We’ve really just begun exploring the possibilities that the system provides us.

Of course, being on the Source engine, we’ve got a very powerful physics system to take advantage of as well. Sin Episodes: Emergence is very combat focused, so we intentionally did not include a lot of “physics puzzles,” however, we have tried to incorporate physics into the combat. The levels have been constructed so you can shoot down supports and knock down shelves. You can catch an enemy’s grenade in-flight and toss it back at them (or if you’re really good, simply shoot it back at them.) Where we really pushed this though, was the “explodable language” we developed. We have the usual exploding barrels, but we also have oxygen tanks that will take off from the point you shoot them, bouncing around and taking out whatever they collide with; and Acetylene tanks which operate like rocket propelled grenades. We have rooms FULL of these items. A strategic player can take his or her time, pick up and maneuver objects how they want and set up elaborate ambushes; a more action focused player can just enter the room with guns blazing and let things fly where they may. The cool thing is that these objects react to enemy fire as well as your own, so you might begin an intense fire fight and realize you’re standing in a very very dangerous place. It really keeps the intensity up.

Lastly, we have antigen and mutagen containers. Antigen can be picked up and used in health dispensers – Or you can just shoot them and run into the cloud and get healed up. Our health dispensers (called Medstations in the game) actually allow you to eject a partially used container and take it with you if you want. We really wanted to allow for a sense of freedom there. The mutagen containers are set up with multiple chambers, so they can each be triggered multiple times. As for their effect, well… Let’s just say it’s awesome; a real double edged sword. I won’t give away any more than that though; I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

A squad of grunts gets ready for action.
Have you been able to implement Action-based outcomes (ABO's) as planned? What if there is more than one save file with different outcomes on each? Will you require a save to be loaded from Episode 1 when starting Episode 2 to ensure that they do not conflict?

Emergence contains several ABO hooks that will be picked up in future episodes. An episode 1 save will not be required to play episode 2, since that would negate one of the advantages of episodic delivery, namely the gamer being able to choose how much and which parts he wants to play.

Will you be able to control any vehicles or will you always be a passenger?

Although it's technically possible to have the player drive the HardCorps patrol car we have in the game, Jessica will be controlling it during the first episode, while the player gets to focus on Blowing Things Up™. Future episodes will likely put the player behind the wheel.

How many difficulty levels are there and is there an insanely hard difficulty level? Playing call of duty on hardest was great; you'd die from a single hit from all rifles and head shots of other weapons.

SiN Episodes utilizes a dynamic difficulty system, which takes into account a huge number of variables, such as the player's accuracy, the headshot ratio, how many times the player is getting hit, how fast enemies are dispatched, and many more. It then adjusts the number of enemies, how many health packs and ammo packs are dropped, and how accurate enemies are with their weapons. We also have a number of other things that adapt to the players' skill. For example, if the system notices that the player is landing a lot of headshots, more enemies will start wearing helmets, which require two headshots in order for the enemy to be killed.

Next: Elexis, Technology and Future Episodes! >>