Just Cause is Eidos' free-roaming action game for Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. We spoke to Odd Ahlgren, Content Director at Avalanche Studios, about what players can expect from the exciting looking game.
Pro-G: So, from what we've seen, the game opens with you parachuting down to a tropical island. What's happening in the story to require such an entrance?
Odd Ahlgren: Rico Rodriguez, our guy, is a black-ops operative and suave secret agent for the top secret organization known as the Agency. He is deployed on the island dictatorship of San Esperito to make a "surgical intervention" and take out the WMD-harbouring Presidente before something bad happens. This being a top-secret mission, he naturally can't land on San Esperito International Airport and just swagger in, now can he?
Pro-G: The game will carry an M-Mature rating. Is this violence for the sake of including violence, or is it directly tied to a mature storyline?
OA: Well, it's pretty hard to start a revolution, kill cartel gangsters and blow up an insane amount of strategic hotspots without getting a little violent. So the story is kind of mature... in a very tongue-in-cheek way.
Pro-G: The main character seems to be somewhat of a super agent, mixing the style of James Bond with the action of Max Payne. Did you pull ideas from existing characters when designing the game?
OA: You know what? Rico Rodriguez is the child of one thousand comic books and action movies. He is James Bond, Mad Max, El Mariachi, Wolverine, Punisher, Rambo, Tony Montana, Jack Bauer, Han Solo and Vincent Vega all rolled into one. With a touch of Enrique Iglesias to top it all off!
Pro-G: Would it be fair to describe the game as Far Cry meets Grand Theft Auto? Do you ever venture off the island?
OA: No it wouldn't. This game stands on its own two feet. Our constant answer to this question is: comparisons always arise. In the olden days someone first invented a club made from a rock and a stick, later on someone invented the wheel. People around that time probably went: "Oh the wheel? You haven't seen that? It's pretty cool. It's like a club but it rolls on the ground and makes it easier to pull stuff".
About venturing off the island. Why would you? Everything you need is right there: the greatest landscapes, a hundred different vehicles, loads of guns, loose women, loud explosions and tons of cool missions and side missions. If I was a computer game hero, I wouldn't leave that paradise for a million bucks.
Pro-G: The main character clearly has a death wish. Aside from free-falling, parachuting and leaping out of moving vehicles and onto their roofs, can he perform any other insane stunts?
OA: Yes, indeed he can. For instance, he can hitch rides with different vehicles using his grappling hook and his 'chute to paraglide across the island; a convenient way of getting around. He can also jump out onto the wing of a moving airplane and hijack other planes midair. Or jump between moving cars, hijacking them. Rico has so many impressive stunts up his sleeve it's ridiculous!
Pro-G: We've seen that you can drive cars that you find on the island, but is this the best way to travel?
OA: It is up to the player. Some like to take it a little mellow and enjoy the beautiful scenery: cars and motorcycles are optimal for them. Others like to travel at breakneck speed: the jet would be suitable for those types. While others want to enjoy San Esperito from the deck of a sweet little fishing barge, a water scooter or a speedboat. Some like to swim underwater even! Plus there's the aforementioned method of paragliding from the back of moving vehicles. The optimal would of course be to mix all these ways of travel depending on the mission at hand.
Pro-G: From what we've seen, the game is heavily slanted towards action, with plenty of guns, explosions and vehicles. Can we expect plenty of variety in the final game?
OA: It depends on what you mean by variety. The game is clearly a free-roaming action game. It is not an RPG, an FPS, an RTS or a fantasy adventure. It will be focused on things that go boom, rat tat tat, ker-pow and bang!
Pro-G: The Avalanche Engine seems capable of rendering a huge environment. How do the current-gen versions compare to what you can do with the PC and Xbox 360?
OA: In terms of gameplay and size of the world all platforms are identical, but obviously there is a lot more eye-candy in the PC version, and even more so in the 360 version. For example we've added more animations and detail to the main character, and we've also done a lot of extra work on the lighting and shadowing techniques used in the game.
Pro-G: Being a free-roaming game, can you travel from one side of the map to the other without ever seeing a loading screen?
OA: Yup. That you can! A fact we take great pride in.
Pro-G: The gameplay seems like it would be well suited to competitive online play. Do you have any plans to include any online functionality?
OA: Nope. Rico is Rico. There are no other guys to steal his thunder in the game!
Pro-G: Is there one cool thing about the game that people might not be aware of?
OA: There are plenty. But, let's not spoil the surprise huh?
Pro-G: What stage is development at right now, and when can we expect the game on store shelves?
OA: Right now we're doing final polishing and testing, which is a great feeling when you worked on a game for over three years! The game will hit the shelves in September.