Jonathan Morin Creative director
What effect did broken systems have on the game you were about to ship in November?
There were some areas or missions where the wires connected in the wrong way. And it’s not really the mission itself, it’s the emergence it can create. So once you have cops showing up in a certain situation with this and with that on top of it, and it starts getting out of control in a good way, it kind of collapsed. In certain combinations, the AI didn’t react at the level of quality we wanted.
Are you certain the final game will be rid of those bugs?
I’m sure in the end we’ll find YouTubers who, you know, find such examples… and it’s arguably all part of the fun to find the limitation of systems. But since we’ve sold precisely that [high level of experience to players], there’s a level you need to achieve. If you do a car crash, it needs to feel like a car crash, not a Burnout version of it. You don’t want to cheat so much to make it possible that it becomes cartoony.
What makes the focus on realism and giving everyone a story worthwhile?
We’re really good at the awesome car crash in videogames, but not the “Oh my gosh, is he all right?” afterwards. We put ‘Combo x2’ next to a car crash and we don’t even think about the poor person behind the wheel. So when we started to define a serious tone as a pillar, it impacted everything. If there’s someone hurt, you can get them out. If there’s a car crash, it means something for the people inside. If you take cover behind their car and they get shot, it’s your fault, because you took cover behind that particular car. But we don’t go in a judgemental direction because of the serious tone. I’m not interested in having a game that says to you that stealing from a poor person is worse than if you stole from a criminal.
What’s the biggest difference about building for new consoles from scratch, rather than the older systems?
I think the distinction is the amount of different AI reactions. And when actually looking at the data, it wasn’t that good, because it’s in the polish phase you can really deliver the full system. The extra time gave us the luxury of executing it well, which is a lot harder. Back in November, people could have appreciated that we’d tried it, but we didn’t want that. We wanted people to just enjoy the systems without thinking about them.