Back at E3, our own Tamer Asfahani sat down with Avalanche Studios’ Peter Johansson (lead game designer) and Daniel Willfor (producer) to talk about Just Cause 2. You can check out the video here, but if you have problems with playing videos online, we’ve transcribed the entire thing into this article.

Just Cause 2 is the sequel to Just Cause, and you guys have expanded the open-world sandbox. You’ve got 400 square miles! That’s a bit of an achievement.Peter Johansson: Yeah, it is. It’s similar in size to Just Cause 1.Daniel Willfor: Exactly the same size, I would say, but there’s much, much more to do in there.It’s very well populated as well. We just saw a presentation and we saw that there are main story missions to do – 60 missions, did you say? Do they vary a lot more than they used to?PJ: Yeah. I mean, size has never been a priority for us in this game because we knew that we could do big worlds. The main priority for us now was to really make sure that this world was filled with stuff for you to do, and there’s a lot of variety between these different missions. We also make a lot more use of Rico’s abilities: his stunts, his parachute, his grappling hook; all of these different things to get more variety into these missions as well. So content was the main priority this time around.Some might say “I’ve got Mercenaries. Why the hell should I buy Just Cause?” It’s a difficult question, I’ll give you that, but some might say…DW: One thing that we have that other games in this genre don’t have is the parachute and the grappling hook, and the combination of them together. It’s kind of amazing and really addictive.PJ: The versatility of Rico, the way you can move around – we play around so much more with our main character and we’re doing it just for the fun of it, so we’re really not too fussed about realism. As long as it’s fun, we can do it, so we have a lot of features that are in there simply because we thought it would be fun.DW: There are things that the player can do that we didn’t imagine when we started working on it. Things that the guys in the team discover when they play around. It’s really amazing to see.Give us an example?PJ: The dual-hook really started out “Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to tether two things together?” and then people started experimenting and finding all sorts of different ways to use it. For example, tethering a guy to a gas canister. Shoot the gas canister, and it’s going to fly away and take the guy with it. Stuff like that… lifting a Jeep with a helicopter and using it as a wrecking ball. Stuff like that is really fun, and stuff that I think people are going to really like exploring and trying out to see what they can do with it.The story is quite compelling as well. That’s something you guys are obviously quite proud of – the way that you’re following and trying to find Sheldon, your ex-boss, and you’ve got a whole host of accessible vehicles, weapons…. How does that work in the world? How do you upgrade your weapons? How do you get your vehicles? Where do you have to go? Do they get dropped off, do you have a black market trader? What’s the story?PJ: Quite early in the game you get in contact with this black market contact, so what you can do with him is you can order black market weapons, black market vehicles, and you can have them heli-dropped at your location anywhere in the world. So you can actually order stuff coming to you instead of having to go to a shop, and that’s all part of keeping everything fast-paced. Because it’s such a huge world, that’s something that we’ve thought about all over the place, to make everything adapt to this huge game world – to work with the size instead of against it.{PAGE TITLE={Just Cause 2 Developer Interview Continued}Influence is another thing that you guys are quite happy to push. When you talk about Influence, you’re talking about a circle of influence when you cause chaos, and this unlocks more missions. Is that right?DW: You do stronghold missions together with the different factions, and when you take over a stronghold, the influence around the stronghold grows and that also reveals some new missions within that stronghold. When you get further into the game, the influence increases even further, and more and more missions are discovered.PJ: And all that is linked to the chaos system. When you cause chaos, the influence grows. When it grows over the location of a mission, that mission is unlocked, so that gives you even more opportunities to cause chaos.So chaos isn’t the currency in the game – you’ve got money, but you’ve got chaos as well, and chaos is currency in a different sense?PJ: It’s like the currency for progression in the game. It doesn’t work like money, but it works to unlock new stuff in the game.And when you’re unlocking new stuff, is there any kind of progression tree that you can follow within that if you want to become a more – I think, effectively, what I’m trying to say is: how many weapons have you got?PJ: I think it’s around fifteen? Twelve to fifteen, something like that. There’s a wide variety of different weapons, and after you’ve unlocked them, you can use weapon parts to upgrade them. You find those weapon parts all over the game world, you can track them all over the game world, so it’s a choice that you have. Maybe I want to upgrade my submachine gun to its fullest, and it’s really fun. I know that George [Wright, associate producer at Eidos] who did the demo, he really likes to upgrade and have two sawn-off shotguns – one in each hand! And I really like to use the submachine gun and the grenade launcher, and that’s really fun, so it all depends on the style – what kind of player you are. It’s really cool.As the producer I want to ask you a question. I don’t really want to know about the protagonist; I want to know a little bit more about Sheldon. What’s his favourite food?DW: (Grins) Barbecued food, of course!Any particular meat? Or is he a vegetarian? I can see him as a vegetarian.DW: No, he’s a big meat fan. This time around the game takes place in an Asian country, so Kobe Beef! (Laughs)Presumably there are different factions that have different takes on barbecue? How many different barbecues can there be? Or how many different factions are there in the game?DW: There are three different factions, but the amount of barbecues is infinite. (Laughs)PJ: (Laughs) There’s complete freedom. You can barbecue anywhere you want – you just have to throw a grenade for a great barbecue.Let’s talk very quickly about multiplayer. What’s the multiplayer aspect to this? Is this something you’ve thought about? It’s obviously something that’s quite important.PJ: It’s definitely something we’ve been thinking about a lot, but at the end of the day, we really wanted to make the best single-player game that we could, to really make sure that was as good as it can be. So multiplayer’s something we have to leave for the future.When you say the future, have you discussed or thought about DLC? It’s one of the big words of videogames at the moment. People now expect post-launch support – what’s the DLC situation?DW: There will definitely be a lot of DLC in this game, but we can’t reveal any more details at the moment. You’ll hear about it later this year.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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