Eric Holmes, Lead Game Designer for Radical Games, Talks about the New Hulk Video Game
Friday, December 17, 2004

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The Incredible Hulk
By: Chris Leyton

The Incredible Hulk Q&A

Shortly after its announcement, TVG chats with Radical to get the low-down...

Coming just days after Vivendi-Universal confirmed the development of The Incredible Hulk for the Playstation2, Xbox and GameCube, TVG was fortunate enough to have a short chat with the guys responsible at Radical Games.

Promising a title that offers more choice and variety to the character, whilst removing aspects that didn’t work from last year’s pseudo film tie-in; The Incredible Hulk looks likely to impress and offer the most authentic adaptation of the green hulking brute to date.

So without further ado it’s on to Eric Holmes, Lead Game Designer Radical Games, to answer our questions:

TVG: You must have been impressed with the success of the first Hulk title, but with the lack of a movie sequel to help generate hype do you believe that this game will be as popular?

Movies can be great at giving coverage to lesser known licences. One of the great things about the Hulk is that he endures. Hulk has been around for over thirty years, and everyone knows at least three things about the Hulk; he’s huge, he’s green and he’s very angry!

Just like Madonna and Pot Noodles, the Hulk is reinvented for each generation. The key is to make him easy to relate to – who can’t relate to the idea of the release of repressed emotions, repressed until they explode? Everyone has experienced some moment of anger in their lives, and Hulk is a vehicle for turning that rage into a guilty pleasure.

TVG: What will be the inspiration behind The Incredible Hulk; could you please perhaps give us a brief explanation of the story behind the game?

Hulk’s unique biology is often the root for the larger stories in the Hulk universe; Banner’s unique genetic makeup somehow made him what he is – and if you could repeat that process, what a wonderful weapon you would have! At the beginning of our story we see that Emil Blonsky, head of a secret government organisation known as “The Division” has an interest in capturing the Hulk.

Through our story his reasons will become apparent – and I guarantee, they are not what you expect. Our story also features realisations of several of the classic Hulk characters, such as Doc Samson and General Ross; all reinvented by the pencil of none other than “Ultimates” artist Bryan Hitch.

TVG: Will you be implementing any major changes to the gameplay of the original Hulk?

Of course! As a studio, Radical is not interested in resting on its laurels; we want to progress the superhero genre.

We’re playing the strengths of the original game in that we have some great fighting action, but we’ve taken it to the next level and beyond. In the first Hulk game, Hulk could jump what – 3 meters high? This one allows you to jump at least three hundred meters. Hulk’s mobility and combat power are all scaled up by a similar order of magnitude; Hulk isn’t in a collection of rooms anymore, he’s in a city! He can run anywhere, climb anything, jump everywhere! The level of control is unprecedented – it’s a true power fantasy. Hulk can run faster than a sportscar can drive, jump faster than a helicopter can fly. He can wall run the entire city, climb any surface, smash anything – even knock down entire buildings!

We’re also removing all the Bruce Banner content from our game; Banner was good for a break in pace in our previous game; due to the breadth of Hulk experience in this new title we felt this was unnecessary, and not really what players wanted to play. Hulk customers are buying the game for the title character – Hulk! – and that’s what they’re going to get in abundance.

Back with Hulk - if you see anything in the game and think, “I wonder if I could…” – you CAN. That’s the sort of change we’re talking about here. The game is a guilty pleasure – it leads to a lot of players finding themselves do things that make themselves feel irresponsible but their inner gamer feels gooood. Plough through traffic, running at 100mph and send cars flying everywhere, tires screeching and pedestrians screaming? You bet. This game brings out the worst in you and puts a smile on your face.

TVG: One of the main criticisms of the previous Hulk was over repetition; will this game feature more depth and variety to keep the gamer entertained throughout the game?
This is not your father’s Hulk. The sheer breadth and depth of Hulk’s abilities make for a tremendously varied experience.

Place Hulk in real world. Allow him to do anything he wants. Layer gameplay on top of this. This is way beyond the previous Hulk game’s combat in relatively closed, linear worlds. This is ultimate power, player-directed chaos and total freedom – the freedom to lose control!

An example of this would be an ongoing metagame when roaming the world; as the Hulk wrecks the world, the military begin to get a fix on his position; wreck enough and a specialised team will be dispatched to attack you. Lay the smackdown on all of them and you’ll be walking away with a healthy reward paid out in smash points. Hulk’s “Smash Points” are his currency for buying moves and abilities – more smash points are more moves, more moves allow for more effective smashing…the system feeds on itself.

Our game has a huge number of unlocked moves. They’re scattered throughout the experience the player to buy all manner of new moves through the game and really customise his Hulk. This adds a lot of variety to the game; a new move every ten minutes means you’re never playing with the same toy; your Hulk is pine-fresh every time.

TVG: Will the cell-shaded technique be employed in the game; what improvements can we expect in this area?

We decided early in pre-production not to use a cel-shading technique as we did in the first Hulk game. We wanted to take a more detailed and sophisticated approach to the graphics which will give us a more consistent visual style. Our Hulk character should look and feel both real and massive in his environment. We want to show just how large and powerful he is so we built his surrounding world to scale and matched the lighting to help demonstrate his awesome size.

By applying this realistic visual style we can create scenes with large scale destruction and immerse the player the destructive experience that is the Hulk. By changing art direction from the first title we found that creating art content was much more flexible and had wider appeal; gamers like the new direction. Our goal is to draw the player into the Hulk's world, make him feel that he’s there. Our art style achieves that goal.

TVG would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions; we look forward to checking out the game in more detail soon.

Scheduled for release in Summer 2005, TVG will have more information on The Incredible Hulk soon.

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