Harker Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: What can you tell us at this time about the combat system that you are developing for the game?
Nigel Cook: Harker is a survival horror game with a heavy melee action content. This is not about a one-shot kill like other games, this is about causing suffering and pain to all vampires in a very up-close personal way.
Harker’s combat focuses on the up-close punishment and execution of vampires in the most brutal way possible. Cameras will be much closer than other games, bringing the detail and vibrancy of the characters to life. Highlighting the ‘Struggle’ mechanic, as Harker slowly drives a stake through the vampire’s heart, only to have the Vampire fight back with its last remaining strength. Pull an arm off a vampire and watch as it attempts to skitter up a wall, only to loose its grip and fall back down. In Harker the AI changes depending on the type of punishment you unleash on your prey.
Overall Melee is approximately 80% of the combat system, with the smallest portion being Ranged Weapons. Ranged Weapons are used to slow-down fast moving Vampires and knock them down from ceilings and walls. For example, use a heavy duty crossbow to pin creatures onto the surface they are climbing on. Once you have a vampire pinned, move up-close to punish them with Melee combat moves, but be quick about it! Our vampires have dynamic healing and a pinned vampire will begin slowly pulling itself off the stake and heal itself.
Unlike all other vampire games, which often make it easy to kill a vampire, Harker, will take the time to breakdown an enemy, causing them as much pain and suffering as possible, before executing them. But be careful when you do this, the stronger vampires can enter into a ‘rage’ state where they dynamically transform yet again. Firstly from Human to Vampire Form when you unmask them, and then later during combat, when causing them enough pain and suffering they can suddenly transform into their feral form. While in this animalistic form, they become less intelligent, but much more direct and lethal, like a wild animal. It will give you much more satisfaction killing say 1-2 vampires in our game, vs. a large group of weaker enemies that die with one hit like so many other games.
FiringSquad: What sort of vampires and other enemies will the player face in Harker?
Nigel Cook: Harker will be squaring off against a considerably more diverse set of vampire demons varying dramatically in anatomy, abilities and sheer size than ever before in a vampire game/fiction. We have approached the design of Vampires from the standpoint that all creatures have the potential to become twisted vampire versions of their normal selves.
An example of this is Jack the Ripper, an influential character from the Victorian era. In Harker, he is the first person bitten by Dracula when he arrives in London, turning this intelligent and well educated serial killer in one of the most difficult Vampires to hunt and kill in the game due to his ability to transform into multiple human variations, making him difficult to track and locate.
FiringSquad: What sort of missions and locations can we expect in Harker?
Nigel Cook: We will be using some sections of the game with a Hub format, giving the player the ability to choose which segments of the game to tackle first. Other sections of the game will follow the more traditional sequential linking of missions. The locations will not be limited to those found within Bram Stoker’s novel. We will be interacting within an 18th Century World; visiting places such as London, Paris, Budapest and the Carpathian homelands.
We are also exploring other areas to use that will allow creation of an appropriate setting specific to the atmosphere we want for Harker. For Harker, it’s not sufficient to simply find Vampires whilst blindly exploring likely lairs. Harker must hunt the hunters. In doing so, Harker is exposed to great risk; Vampires are deadly prey who can kill the unwary with ease.
Hunting involves deciphering clues in the form of evidence, such as forensics taken from the sites of recent victims, ancient documents that trace bloodlines back through history, and even using ancient alchemy to a Vampire's identity and location. These elements form part of the hunting process. The climax of hunting is the alchemical process that involves using the blood of a recent victim and mixing it with a powder that takes Harker on a vision quest. This quest creates a temporary link between Harker and the Vampire responsible for the corpse lying at Harker’s feet. During the vision quest, Harker can witness the last few moments of the victim from the eyes of their killer.
The hunting is designed to lead into the combat, providing the player with the survival-horror tension before Harker is finally able to confront the demons.
In the process of killing Vampires Harker is ‘Purging the Bloodlines’ of the infestation of evil. This forms the larger framework of the games structure. A twisted genealogy tree of the infestation of evil represents the breadth and depth of the Vampires hold over man. Harker slowly uncovers through his hunting, just who and how many Vampires there are. As each Vampire is killed so the numbers on the family tree dwindle. Harker is purging as progresses.