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Red Faction: Armageddon - "We're motivating players to destroy everything in sight"

Volition talks destruction in the new Red Faction...

Red Faction: Guerrilla was a mixed bag. While it was one of the most chaotic, destructive shooters on the market, its open world elements - especially the endless driving between missions - didn't work too well.

Now, in Armageddon, the team at Volition are giving us a more streamlined, story-focused shooter, but with the same destruction, vehicles and side-quests that we loved in the last game.

We sat down for a chat with former Olympic Games camera man and current production lead Dan Sutton to talk about the studios destruction heavy Red Faction: Armageddon.

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The destruction is the centrepiece of Red Faction. What technical secrets does Volition have to make it possible?

It takes a lot of time and money to give players the ability to destroy anything they want. It was actually a five-year process getting the engine in place. But we have some really smart programmers and artists here.

It must be quite a design challenge to know that players can freely tear through all your lovingly created scenery. How do you prevent players from utterly trashing the level and getting stuck?

In Guerrilla there was a kind of moral issue. When you were destroying buildings, you thought, "Should I really be doing this?" But in Armageddon we've completely thrown that out and we're basically motivating players to destroy everything in sight.

This works especially well now that we have the repair tool. Not only can you tear everything down, you can also build it back up.

If you see a destroyed bridge, you can rebuild it and maybe reach a secret area. And if you get trapped, you can always repair the path that you destroyed.

The bad guy, Adam Hale, wants to destroy the machine that generates Mars' breathable atmosphere - why?

The Marauders and the colonists are now living in peace after the events of Guerrilla. Then this radical, Adam Hale, comes out and rallies a bunch of Marauders to overthrow and destroy the colonists. So they want to make Mars their own by bringing down the terraformer.

But that's only the first step: they've also released this plague of aliens that were hidden beneath the surface of the planet.

What's Darius Mason's motivation?

He goes from being this Red Faction soldier to a kind of loner. He's a miner, and he releases the alien plague by accident, and decides to follow in his ancestor's footsteps (Alec Mason from Guerrilla) and save humanity.

The alien creatures have very interesting AI and are very mobile. What can you tell us about them?

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It's cool because not only do we have 360 degrees of destruction, but also 360 degrees of combat. Some of the aliens will come at you on the ground like traditional enemies, but others will jump on ceilings, jump on walls and try to destroy your cover, or take out explosive barrels that are near you.

So you'll fight regular human enemies in Armageddon, but also these new creatures that react so differently than anything you'll be used to. It was a challenge but we're really happy with how it turned out.

The environment seems to be more varied compared to the landscapes of Guerrilla...

Oh yeah. That's one of the things we wanted to improve. We had this planet, and we'd only ever explored the surface in previous games. So we wondered, what would it be like to go underground? So now we have all these cool environments.

Twenty per cent takes place on the surface, and the other 80 per cent takes place underground. You'll explore ice caves, lava caves, crystal caves - all sorts of really cool, diverse environments.

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