Timesplitters Rewind Interview: Re-Developing A Classic For PC And Consoles
Well here it is folks, the Big Kahuna, the grandmaster bass, the throat choker, the hole plugger, the money maker... the barn breaker. The interview with Pantheonyx project lead, Michael Hubicka, contains everything you could possibly want to know about Timesplitters Rewind, and this here is basically the Holy Grail of information for Timesplitters aficionados.
Just a little backstory right quick: Timesplitters Rewind is being designed by the community and former members of Free Radical, who are now a part of Crytek UK. The game is running on the CryEngine 3, features bots and will aim for split-screen on consoles. The project will be free when it releases due to copyright reasons and the game will be multiplayer only for now. No sense wasting precious moments... it's time to split!
Gaming Blend: When did the project originally get underway and how many people are currently working on Timesplitters Rewind?
Michael Hubicka: 35 people currently working on the project and we got started about half-way through November of last year.
Gaming Blend: So is the game playable?
Michael: Yep. Sean released some unreleased screenshots of training grounds, and even those aren't necessarily finished. But we are making a lot of progress working on the game part time. We're still not at a point where we're like 'Everybody on the internet, go ahead and play Timesplitters'.
It's playable but not in the sense where we're comfortable saying this is a product that players should be playing. We don't want to release it too early, unpolished and people see it as an unfinished product and they go back to some other game they were playing, or something like that. We really want to aim for an initial release after we pool in select people for an alpha test, and then later on closed-beta test and then open beta. Once we get to open beta we really want people to see the hard work we've done with the other players and what we've accomplished and see this is why it's taken so long.
Gaming Blend: Mhm
Michael: Like, developing a game is not easy. It's not like you can snap your fingers and this model is done or snap your fingers and that map is done. We don't really have concept art or anything – our concept art is the original [Timesplitter] game[s]. We all own the games and we're constantly those games and trying to figure out, like this is this and this is that and this is how this feels. I think for us, we spend more time playing the original games than actually spending time developing the games because we're trying to make sure we nail everything.
Gaming Blend: Working on over 300 models... what is that process like and for most fans it sounds like a lot of work. Could you walk us through that process and explain how long it takes to finish a model for Timesplitters Rewind?
Michael: The longest it's taken us to finish a model was three months. That's because some of the developers are actually – they're spread across the world. So there's different time zones and stuff like that. We also have our own jobs; some of them are doing crunch time at their jobs, because we have a few who work in the gaming industry and stuff.
For example, the longest [character] was in fact Duckman Drake and that included creating the model, animating the model, texturing the model and all that stuff... getting it into the game... all that stuff roughly took about three months.
And when I say that game development is difficult... well, it's easy for us... [but] nailing every aspect of the gameplay is difficult. We have to kind of sit back and say 'we need to make sure this feels like a Timesplitters game', without throwing in our own ideas or anything like that; making sure we nail things like characters and stuff like that. It takes a while because we're all perfectionists.
We have this system setup so that it goes through a couple of passes – so like a model goes through an assembly line, essentially. And at the end of the assembly line it gets to me and I'm like 'Okay, I agree with everybody else but let's try doing this'. So everybody works together in getting stuff done. So we have an interesting system using what resources we have because we had to adapt as quickly as possible.
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