Red Faction: Armageddon producer Jim Boone has told Eurogamer that Dead Space definitely numbers among the sci-fi shooter’s influences – and that once the team settled on a storyline involving dormant aliens the comparison was perhaps inevitable.
“Oh yeah, definitely, that’s a big one,” Boone told us when asked about the Visceral Games’ shooter’s possible influence on its red-planet competitor. “We’re big fans of the game – just loved the game to death, and we’ll play the second one.
“We talked about parallels. We’re saying the aliens have gotten loose, they’ve gone through and just killed everything… In some ways it was almost accidental. I don’t know how else we could have done this world other than to make it look very horrific and bloody, because if it happened in our world it would be pretty horrific and bloody.”
Red Faction: Armageddon is a different beast to Guerrilla in many ways – action takes place in linear, underground environments, and the main enemy is no longer the oppressive EDF but an alien force accidentally unleashed by protagonist Darius Mason.
Despite the change in style, however, Boone said that the game is not going down the same route as Dead Space, retaining its focus on big, exotic weapons and mass destruction courtesy of the series’ vaunted GeoMod technology.
“We tried to get a little bit of that vibe into it,” Boone said of Dead Space’s spooky goings-on. “We don’t go too over into it. We talked about it early on – like how horror-centric do we want it to be, and we don’t want it to be too horror-centric. We want the flavour of certain scenes to be very horrific, to reinforce it.”
A bit like the way that BioShock began with scares and then changed up? “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
Other areas of focus include the storytelling, which is now more intimately woven into the mission structure, and of course the decision to go for linear environments – something Boone said was down to a desire to exert more control over pacing and eliminate long, featureless drives across desolate terrain between pockets of fun.
Armageddon will also interact with its downloadable cousin, Red Faction: Battlegrounds, which is due out on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade before the main game’s May release. Players who pick it up will get some bonuses when they play Armageddon.
“What we’re doing is we’re giving two full upgrades based on how far into Battlegrounds you’ve played,” Boone explained. “Say you get Battlegrounds first and play through it, right off the bat when you start Armageddon you’ll immediately be awarded two upgrades when you get to the first upgrade station.
Battlegrounds players will also get a new weapon. “I won’t tell you what it is, but there will be a specific weapon you’ll only get by having completed Battlegrounds. It’ll appear in the weapon locker.”
And with Red Faction clearly a high priority for THQ – it’s also the subject of a SyFy TV-movie pilot that is due out at the same time as the game – what of plans beyond Armageddon?
“We’ve started talking about that, but at this point it’s way too early to start talking about [with the press]. We definitely talk about it and think about it because it’s a franchise very close to our hearts.”
Earlier Boone had admitted that Armageddon was in pre-production during the final stages of Guerrilla’s development, so it stands to reason that a fifth Red Faction is happening somewhere within Volition. When we put this to him, he laughed and declined to comment.