Gamasutra recently interviewed Derek Littlewood, creative director of Haze, being developed by Free Radical.
The interview is fairly enlightening as Littlewood discusses the underlying anti-war message he wishes to communicate with his game. I am particularly intrigued by his concept of a ‘videogame war’ fought by Mantel soldiers, who are shielded from the truth of war by their full-body suits. It remains to be seen how successful and effective this message is and how it is communicated. Littlewood states he wishes to communicate his messages through actions rather than cutscenes: “[We intend to communicate the] core message of the game through interactive sequences rather than with narrative; the narrative elaborates on that message rather than delivering it.” Again, action (Littlewood’s ‘interactive sequences’) is the language of games; while narrative (i.e. cutscene) is the language of old media (film).
Also of note is Littlewood’s discussion of other upcoming games dealing with contemporary political issues: Army of Two and Blacksite: Area 51. Both games deal with the war on terrorism. Army of Two specifically deals with the ‘business of war’ and mercenary companies. Blacksite: Area 51 deals with the war on terror and contemporary American foreign policy. This is incredibly interesting as many science fiction films of the Cold War used aliens as metaphors for the Russians (just look at Body Snatchers). I do not know how many other contemporary games or B-movie sci-fi are essentially equating aliens with the war on terror, but I do find it interesting the first case of this I heard is in a game rather than a sci fi B-movie – particularly because games aren’t exactly the medium we think of when we think of mediums that push cultural commentary.
While I unfortunately won’t have the money to get a PS3 (and Haze), I’m sure there will be plenty of videos up on YouTube in the next few months.
Gamasutra has a companion article interviewing Rob Yescombe, Haze‘s writer.
Both interviews are recommended.