Project lead Brian Eddy offers his thoughts on the late-term development of the madcap John Woo-inspired shooter. Don't miss our exclusive new trailer inside.
Famed Hong Kong action director John Woo's classic films are so ripe for video game translation, it's a wonder nobody's done it before now. But if it was going to take this long, at least it looks like the team at Midway now hard at work on the Unreal Engine 3-based Stranglehold is doing everything it can to get the first game based on a Woo film right. The game marks the triumphant return of Hard-Boiled's tough-as-nails cop inspector Tequila, brought to life for the first time with the voice and face of action star Chow Yun-Fat. To get the straight dope on Stranglehold's development as it nears completion--and to find out more about the new trailer you'll find linked to the right--we went straight to the game's director at Midway, Brian Eddy.
GameSpot: Start off by introducing yourself. Tell us what you're doing on this game, and also briefly give us an idea of what you've worked on in the past.
Brian Eddy: I'm Brian Eddy, the director and project lead on the game. In the past, I worked on Psi-Ops, and then before that I did arcade games, like the arcade version of Arctic Thunder. And if you really dig back, I did a bunch of pinball machines.
GS: Can you tell us when Stranglehold takes place in relation to the movie Hard-Boiled and run down the storyline of the game?
BE: It takes place soon after Hard-Boiled, and the basic storyline is that [inspector] Tequila gets pulled into this adventure by a cop getting killed. And along the lines of investigating why the cop was killed, he finds out that it starts to involve his family. He actually has an ex-wife that has been estranged and sent to Chicago for safety, and he finds out through investigating what happened to the cop that it actually starts to get personal. And then Tequila gets pulled into the other side of the law and has to cross the line in order to save his family.
GS: Most of the footage in the gameplay demos you guys have shown so far has just been set in that one teahouse area, but this new trailer is showing off a lot of new environments. Can you elaborate on what we're seeing in the trailer and talk about some of the new features that are being introduced here?
BE: Yeah, there's a couple of different snippets in there. One, there's a museum level in Chicago based upon all the local museums, and it's a great place to be because it has tons of stuff to break and explode when the battle's going on. So you see one little clip of Tequila running up the dinosaur exhibit, and that's really cool because he can use the environment and the things in the environment in different ways. So one of the things--the dinosaur tail--you can run up the side of it, leap off of it while you're taking out guys and stuff. Or you can just blast it away and destroy the whole skeleton, as it crumbles down and falls and kills people all around it and such. There's another little snip of an exhibit of the terra-cotta soldiers, they're kind of famous from China, and there's a whole exhibit of them. A great thing to have a battle in between, with them shattering and breaking all around you.
Then there's a little bit of the penthouse in Chicago. This is a very opulent palace--this is the [home of the] Russian mafia boss who runs the Chicago-area syndicate, and you have to go there and basically take him out and all his guys. But this is a really opulent house, multiple levels and floors, and he's got it decked out, and you get to just trash the place. And being at the top of a high rise, it's all glass windows all around, and you know, you're blowing people out the windows and having them fall to their death and stuff. It's a great place to have a big battle in.
There's one more different level, the boat hanger that's part of the dock area. There are two giant hanger areas with dry docks, where they bring boats in. Multiple levels, you know, scaffolding climbing all over the place, so lots of areas to do cool interactions--sliding down railings, diving off--and there's a giant boat in the dry dock, too, that you fight on. So there's a big variety, a little bit of outdoor and indoor on that one.
GS: The environmental actions are the one thing in the trailer that stood out the most to us. How extensive are those going to be? How many different options will you have for doing different things, and how automated are they?
BE: Yeah, we really want to give players as many options as we possibly can squeeze into it. We're really big on the whole emerging gameplay thing, just throwing a bunch of little [gameplay] tools out there and letting people play with it and kind of work their way through the game the way they want to. So you'll see a lot of that. We're really focused on making sure that you can do those things, and you can do them really easily, and they'll lead to really cool events as you use them. So I mean, the control is just as easy as it was in the teahouse, you see something highlight and you just press the interact button and he does it.
GS: OK. So it's basically a matter of hitting one button and seeing something cool happen?
BE: Yeah. And most of them, you direct them along, too. When you start using it, you kind of put together little movie scenes yourself when you're playing, as he dives off in the slow-mo, as he's running up railings and sliding down them. And you're kind of making these little moments, which are really cool.
GS: So even when you're having these specific interactions with the environment, you're still given some kind of free reign over what you're doing?
BE: Right. So you can jump on banister rails, and you can still move left and right--you're attached to it, but it gives you a better vantage point and allows the camera to go into the slow-mo automatically for you.
I just watch the trailer, this seems to be a very interesting game. Chow Yun Fat is in the game, I'm sure my mom will be happy to see it.
Well, I have seen the presentation at GC, graphically, the game was next gen but still, the textures could use some more layers and it could be a bit more colorful, or more bloom effect, just to make it a bit more atmospheric or more diabolic. the gameplay is part Max Payne2 part a next gen revolution... they should try to reduce the max payne stuff. Compared to the interactive action sequences, it looks rather dump
Ok so the bullet time is getting old. And maybe the auto slow mo may not be what is expected. So what. You can change it to manual ok. And bullet time is still a favourite. This game does have more to offer you know. For one, the moves you preform are wicked. See if max payne can run on a banister or dive on a dinner cart and still blow the S hitakimushrooms out of people. And the eviroments look beautiful, and shooting the crap out of them is even sweeter. Remember the tea house? Looked like a bomb hit it. Even if this game is for all the consoles (exept the Wii, hehe) and PC, the graphics are for sure going to better on ps3. So logical choice to buy this game? Hell yer.
about the time slowing down everytime you perform an action...wouldn't that get boring/annoying after a while?
i was following this game from the begining and i hope it gets at least an 8 and that alot of people buy it i cant wait
It looks pretty, nice lights but i fail to be amazed by its gameplay...bullet time doesn't cut it anymore.
cool ... been awhile since i saw chow yun fat's face in something so action packed ... missed john woo too!
Hard Boiled meets Face/Off meets Next-Generation Oh yeah, I remember Arctic Thunder at the arcades when I was in high school. Shazzam!
Don't care much for the game, but if they were to use the Ted Nugent song by the same name and play it on a neverending loop, that would be awesome!
Dude, so many people have made stupid comments about the game. I cant even begin to think they have watched any of the gameplay vids. This game will be FUN. And thats what i care about the most.
Stanglehold reminds me of max payne and dead to rights. So i think this game is going to be awsome!!
I can't wait for this game. The graphics, which utilize Unreal Engine 3, look absolutely spectacular.
Yep, I saw Hard-boiled, and it's a pretty kickass movie, that is, if you don't mind reading subtitles (or if you understand Chinese). If this game can do the movie justice, then we might have an instant hit on our hands.
Oh man. This game will be M rating, so I can't play it!!!!!!! I have to wait about 2 more years! (but I've tried Max Payne, but this game looks more "adult problem" than Max Payne 1) PS: Chow Yun Fat looks awesome with two pistol
i like the sound of this game, but i have my doubts about the automated bullet time. it might cause some inconvienence. i might play with it on the first run through and not after, to see how it is.
- Release Date: Sep 14, 2007 (EU)
- PEGI: 18+
- Release Date: Sep 28, 2007 (EU)
- PEGI: 18+
- Release Date: Nov 30, 2007 (EU)
- PEGI: 18+