The Club Interview

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posted 10/2/2007 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: PS3 360
While Project Gotham 4 is hitting streets this week the folks at Bizarre aren’t resting on their laurels. Instead they are fast at work on their next title, The Club. We were able to score an interview with Bizarre to learn more about their upcoming game.

Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project?  How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
I’m Matt Cavanagh, lead designer on The Club. I’ve been in the gaming industry for 15+ years and started out working for Psygnosis. I’ve been fascinated by games from an early age and to this day involve myself with games of all kinds, not just computer or console games.

I know you get this question a lot but how does a developer that is indelibly tied to racing games come up with a third person action shooter?  What was the impetuous for doing so different from everything else you've done and how did you come up with the concept for the game?  How long have you been knocking around the concept for the game? 
We’ve made 3rd person shooters before (Fur Fighters) and there’s a lot of passionate shooter players here. We wanted to branch out and make something aside from racing games. The Club was developed with a ‘gameplay first’ approach and while we prototyped our ideas, we used graphics which intentionally would not be used in the final game. This approach let us develop gameplay ideas without being tied down to a particular IP, character or subject matter.

What experiences from your previous games did you utilize for The Club?
With the exception of some prototypes which didn’t make it to become ‘full games’, The Club is quite different to anything I have worked on before. Our inspiration has been taken from genres which I don’t think you’d expect – skate boarding games, old school shooters and beat-‘em-up games and our own beloved PGR series have all inspired The Club.

Is this a brand new engine or are you re-using bits and pieces from other games you've worked
on? 
It’s all new tech. However, the technology is shared between The Club and PGR 4.

Any chance we'll see any cross platform game play (i.e. PC gamers taking on 360 and PS3 gamers) or are people going to be limited to just fighting people on their own platform?  Will there be any major differences between the different versions of the game? 
Nope, there will not be cross platform play. All versions of the game will be pretty much identical.

You've got a pretty good arsenal of weapons in the game, how many can you carry at one time and how do you acquire new weapons during the game?  Are there any melee weapons in the game or are you preventing people from bringing a knife to a gunfight?  Do the weapons impact how fast you move?
You can carry as many weapons as you can get your grubby hands on! We did initially experiment with a limited inventory, but that lead to players having to swap out weapons for ones they found. And because of the fast paced nature of the game, it’s something which we found didn’t work as well as the ‘magic pockets’ inventory which we have now. There are no specific ‘melee’ weapons in The Club, as such…although you can pistol whip and smash enemies with the butt of your weapon. Some weapons do affect the speed which your character can move, for example when using rocket launchers or the mini gun you can’t sprint.

How big are the levels in the game and how long will it take to play through the average level?  Are the levels completely linear or do you have some options?
Our levels are short and focused – a few minutes each but action packed adrenaline fueled firefights. Some levels are linear, some are not; it depends on the game mode.

Can you talk about the point scoring system a bit?  Is it strictly kill based or are their points for pulling off moves?  What's the highest scoring kill you can pull off?  Are there environment kills (i.e. blowing up conveniently placed barrels) or not?
There are points for pulling off moves. However, they are all kill-centric; e.g. ‘death roll’ is granted for performing a roll then killing an enemy, ‘snap shot’ is granted for using the fast turn and then killing, etc. You can get the ‘multi kill explosion’ award for killing 2 or more enemies by shooting an exploding barrel, but if it’s a single enemy you’ll score more for simply shooting him, which means you’ll have to think fast to use the right method for the situation if you want to score high. 
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