The game takes place on the 400 square mile island of Panau, is it all jungles and beaches or will there be some variety? What areas of the world did you look for inspiration for Panau?
Panau is a much more varied game world. The setting for the first game was basically just jungles and beaches but the new Avalanche Engine has allowed us to create several different climate zones such as arctic, desert and tropical. So you can stand on one of those tropical paradise beaches and look past a jungle towards snowy mountains in the distance. You can then catch a helicopter and fly over the jungle and actually travel to those mountains without any interruption for loading. There are also gradual transitions between all climate zones and each is filled with settlements with their own distinct architecture.
Panau has influences from many different Asian cultures and since it’s run by a dictator who doesn’t care much about spending the tax income on healthcare you’ll find some truly magnificent architecture and installations… and then blow them to pieces.
Could you talk about some of the inspirations behind Rico Rodriguez and explain how he's changed since the first game?
Rico has learned many new tricks since the first game that have really transformed how you traverse the game world and battle enemies. You have a lot of freedom to develop your own style and learn to get a great flow of movement.
Your main tools are the enhanced parachute and grappling hook. The grapple is mounted to your left arm at all times and can be used to for example quickly reel yourself around or pull enemies off their feet or down from guard towers. It attaches to pretty much anything in the game world so there are no predetermined grapple points.
The parachute is now much more fun and controllable and it can be opened not only while freefalling but anytime you’re travelling above a certain speed, for example while driving a vehicle, climbing around on a vehicle and even while reeling in with the grappling hook. You can also use the grappling hook while parachuting to slingshot your way around.
Rico can now climb around on vehicles while firing his weapons so you’re going to see some really insane car chases.
But perhaps the coolest thing is the new dual hook that allows you to tether any two objects together. You can for example drag enemies behind vehicles; lift objects, vehicles or even enemies with a helicopter. You can also smash enemies together, suspend them on a wall or from a lamp post. The possibilities are endless and this is something you can really experiment and have fun with.
What lessons did you learn from the first game that you are applying to Just Cause 2? Where there certain limitations you had to deal with the first game that you don't have to now?
There are of course a lot of benefits in being able to develop the game without regard to last generation consoles but I think the most important lessons we learned is how to design a sandbox game in such a huge game world. How to fill the world with fun and meaningful content? How to give the player a lot of freedom to form his own path through the game? How to create missions that make better use of Rico’s many abilities?
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