Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Harker Interview


Bram Stoker's novel Dracula remains one of the most influential and adapted pieces of literature of all time and now game developer The Collective takes one of the novel's supporting character and put him in the spotlight with Harker, an upcoming vampire themed action game that is early in development. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with the game's senior producer Nigel Cook to find out more about their plans for Harker.

FiringSquad: First, The Collective has been very busy this year with two games (The Da Vinci Code and Getting Up Contents Under Pressure) out earlier this year and it was recently announced that it would merge with Shiny Entertainment's team. How do you feel about the current state of The Collective's team?

Nigel Cook: The Collective is now stronger than it's ever been. We've had steady growth over the years, and this is especially important recently given the increasing size of teams to reach the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms. We have fully made the leap to these consoles, and are prepared to make great games!

While The Collective and Shiny will do a lot more collaboration in the near future, and will be co-located, we will remain as separate development teams, each with our own personalities and our own strengths. Our two groups have a lot of respect for each other, and feel we can both benefit from this collaboration.

FiringSquad: How did the idea for Harker come about?

Nigel Cook: As a successful independent studio we reached a point in the growth of the company where we wanted to try something new. Rather than working on another movie license, which of course has its own challenges, we chose to develop a series of internal game ideas for next generation consoles. Out of the top few, Harker stood out from the crowd, not only as a title that has its own segment; being a Survival Horror game with a heavy Melee combat, but also is a game that has Action Game content that is something the Collective Studios has gotten really good at.

FiringSquad: Of course, comparisons will be made between Harker and an early Collective game Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Was there a worry that the team was doing something that was the same as the earlier title?

Nigel Cook: Buffy was developed many years ago and has a combat system that was an excellent mix of ranged and melee combat in a very action orientated game from which we have learned a lot and enjoyed developing in the process. What we learned from developing Buffy does not mean we will replicate any content directly into Harker. Rather, we are taking our knowledge and learnings from Buffy to create an all-new combat system for Harker that heavily focuses on the up-close brutal punishment and execution of Vampires.

FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline for Harker and its main character?

Nigel Cook: Harker is a character from the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. In the novel, Jonathan Harker is written as an attorney who, though ill equipped, is forced to battle evil. In Bram Stoker?s novel, Jonathan Harker is portrayed as an ordinary man who in spite of himself, manages to survive. In Harker the game, we?ve taken our inspiration for our main character from the novel, but we are casting him in an entirely new light.

For the game, the motivation for Harker attacking and killing Vampires is still in an attempt to save his wife Mina; however, we?ve decided that the forces he faces have made him into a hardened, ruthless hunter, a flawed character.

Harker?s sole reason for living is to kill every single last Vampire. His poor wife Mina is hovering somewhere between life and death. The actions of the Vampires have literally thrown Harker into a rage, an all consuming passion for vengeance.

The story revolves around Harker?s search for each and every Vampire involved. During the course of the game, there will be a number of surprising twists to the plot that will keep the player guessing just what the motives of the enemy are and, indeed, who can be trusted.

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