Restricted Area Interview

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Can you tell us more about Master Creating and the development team working on Restricted Area? What other projects have the team worked on before?Restricted Area is our first big project. During the last years we worked on IRIS, it´s engine. master creating is a small development studio in Hamburg, Germany. It was founded in 1999 and currently employs nine individuals.What is the story behind Restricted Area?2083 – The world’s cities have been grown larger and larger until they merge together; nearly the entire planet becomes covered by one large city. The only exceptions are the oceans and the so-called Wastelands, contaminated deserts with ruins and shelters where only mutants live. The companies have become more powerful than the global government and the large organizations now rule the world. To protect their secrets from criminal freelancers who steal them for other companies, they build large fortresses far out in the Wastelands. Technology is now far more advanced – cyber implants and genetically enhanced organs replace most external equipment and can be bought to increase your abilities, going far beyond the possibilities of a normal human. The weapons didn’t change much, except for some powerful but rare energy weapons. Smog covers the atmosphere over the mega city so the light is always dim, but lots of colorful commercial projections and lanterns more than make up for the lack of light. This stands in contrast to the merciless, continuously shining sun over the Wastelands. Humans discovered a science fiction similar to a kind of magic – PSI. It is a form of para-psychological abilities like telepathy, psycho kinesis and clairvoyance. Also most buildings have an internal network called Cyberspace, and with the right skills you can hack into the security systems and travel there like in a totally different world.

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In front of this background your story starts…

You mention the game features four characters, a task Force agent, a PSI sorceress, a martial arts master and a female computer expert.What can you tell us >about each of these characters so far.

All four have to start a new life – for different reasons. They aren´t just “the PSI sorceress”, they will have names, ages – even birthdays. Each one plays totally different: While the ex-taskforce agent is a range combat expert, the PSI sorceress can handle some kind of futuristic magic, the matrial arts master close combat with Japanese swords and cyberclaws and the computer expert can enter some kind of second world, called the Cyberspace, and has a drone which guards her.

You are comparing the game to Diablo II. Is this comparison mainly the game’s style and look (isometric rpg) or have you incorporated other elements that you think worked in Blizzard’s title.I think the game looks very different. It´s mainly the basic gameplay which is similar.How will the game’s plot play out, will it follow a linear path?

There´s one non-linear storyline which also changes depending on which character you play, as well as an unlimited number of computer generated subquest.

Will characters achieve experience levels and then once the game is completed go onto replay the game on different difficulties?

Characters receive experience levels, but you don´t have to start over and play again once you finished the main plot, as there are unlimited new missions you can do. These missions are seperated into difficulties, therefore we don´t need different difficulties for the game itself.How will the characters develop as the game progresses. Will player a*ign points into certain skills for example?You can a*ign points to attributes and skills and enhance yourself with cyberware (technical implants), bioware (genetically enhanced organs) and weapons (everything from a pistol to a flamethrower). Additionally you can increase a skill by using it.

What can you tell us about the skills on each character and how many will there be?

There are 5 skill trees – one for each character type and one which can be accessed by all characters. Each one consists of 15 skills, so each character can learn up to 30. The types are very different, from “repair” over PSI spells to “aiming” and special close combat attacks there´s basically everything. However, it´s very important to us that there are no useless or nearly identical skills – we tried to find the perfect number of skills, not the highest.

How will the computer generated quests and sub-quests work in Restricted Area and will this add replay value?

The missions of the main plot are hand crafted, the subquests are computer generated. In both cases the actual places are computer generated, so even if you play the main story twice with the same character you will explore totally new levels. This, together with the unlimited number of subquests, will add a lot of reply value.What sorts of locations will the game feature? We noticed from the shots released there are both indoor and out door locations can you elaborate on what we >can expect.The game starts in a dark part of the megacity, where you take a look at your new home. From this place you fly to different locations, mainly large fortresses in the wastelands, were you fight in different enviroments. Although there are outdoor locations (like the Wastelands), you mainly fight indoor.What kind of enemies will be included in the game?There will be all forms of enemies you can imagine: From humans, robots and cyborgs to mutants and computer programs (in Cyberspace).How will players get around the game world?Mainly with a futuristic aircraft, but also by feet and with a handily teleporter.What can you tell us about the IRIS game engine you have developed for Restricted Area?

Instead of using C++ we wrote it entirly in a*embly language. Therefore it is much faster than any similar engine and can produce up to 1000 (!) frames per second. While we put most of these speed into great effects like dynamical lights and dynamical shadows it´s still so fast that it produces a frame each time the monitor refreshes – we call this TRUE VSYNC, and it results in smoothest scrolling you have ever seen. It also features it´s own movie codec, a resolution of 1024×768 with up to 32 Bit colordepth, a 3D sound system, weather effects and much more.

Will the game feature multiplayer and if so what have you got in the pipeline as far as game modes are concerned. Will there be PVP, co-op etc?

There will be a multiplayer mode for network and internet. Theoretically it´s possible to kill each other, but we concentrate on the co-op part. If you want to fight against a human player, games like “Tekken” are much better than action-RPGs. But if you want to kill lots of enemies with a friend, Restricted Area is a great choice.How long has the game been in development now?

The game itself has been under development for 10 months, however, we started work on the engine and the concept in 1999.Are you currently looking for a publisher?Yes, and we already have some deals on the table.Will you be showing the game at any of the up and coming conventions such as E3?

We have been at the german Games Convention last summer and we will probably be on the E3 this year – it has not been decided yet.

What do you think makes Restricted Area stand out from the crowd and is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about the game?

I think our dark future scenario, which is inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs like “Shadowrun” and “Cyberpunk” and movies like “Bladerunner” and “Matrix” brings some fresh ideas into the genre – we wouldn´t have made a fantasy RPG, simply because their are enough of them for now. What´s really unique about Restricted Area is the game´s engine: RA is the isometric action-RPG with the highest resolution AND the highest framerates. It also features characters which are 100 times more detailed than in “Dungeon Siege” and unlimited subquests for high reply value.

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