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Restricted Area Interview
(hx) 09:40 AM CET - Mar,25 2005

GGMania got a chance to chat with Jan Beuck of Master Creating, the creative director on Restricted Area, their soon-to-be-available third-person action role-playing game. He provided us with both pretty interesting information and eleven exclusive screenshots. Restricted Area will be released in April 2005 through publisher Whiptail Interactive.

GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little bit about what you do on Restricted Area?

Jan Beuck: Hi, my name is Jan Beuck and I'm the Creative Director here at Master Creating, a game devlopment studio located in Hamburg, Germany.
My job is to supervise all creative areas like game design, art, sound, music etc. It's pretty great as you have to look into a lot of different things and aren't cursed to do a certain thing all the time. ;-)

GGMania: Can you give us a little background on the development team working on Restricted Area?

Jan Beuck: Restricted Area is our debut project, but all of us worked on other games in the past. For example, the game track record of our concept artist Andreas even goes back to C64 classics like Giana Sisters and Katakis! However, don't judge us by what we have done in the past - we spend the last 30 months on Restricted Area so it has to speak for itself.

GGMania: Can you give us an overview of Restricted Area, telling us what the game is all about?

Jan Beuck: Restricted Area is an action RPG, but unlike most others, it takes place in a dark future scenario. The gameplay has often been compared tp Diablo II, but the concept is older (1999). Major influences came from pen and paper RPGs like Shadowrun and Cyberpunk and from movies like Bladerunner and the original Matrix. We try to capture the cold, dark atmosphere of these scenarios and combine them with the typical action-RPG gameplay.

GGMania: How much choice and what kinds of choices will the player have in the starting player character and in how it develops through the course of the game?

Jan Beuck: The characters all have totally different gameplay - in fact they play nearly like different games. As the story builds up the character's background, it's not possible to change them at start-up, but as each one has to start a new life, you can customize them totally during the game.

Johnson is a hitman
for hire
Kenji is proficient
at close combat
Victoria is futuristic

GGMania: What can you tell us about the enemies in Restricted Area. Can we expect some mutants?

Jan Beuck: Some? Your main enemies are different sorts of mutants! But you'll also meet robots, humans, cyborgs and many more...

GGMania: Will there be friendly NPCs, and what kinds of roles will they play?

Jan Beuck: Of course. In the city were the game starts are many different people. Take a look at some of the NPCs on the offical homepage.

GGMania: The press release claims that the game will feature "Uncountable number of weapons, Cyberware and Bioware to boost your abilities". Could you provide us more details about it? Could you describe the combat system?

Jan Beuck: There are more than weapons - without cyberware or bioware! I guess that can be called uncountable. ;-)
The combat system is realtime and plays much like Diablo 2, but faster.

GGMania: How will the quest system work, how much variety will there be in terms of different types, and how will you keep them from becoming repetitive or even stale?

Jan Beuck: We invented new types of quests and adepted some ideas from other genres, mainly ego-shooters. Instead of always having to kill someone or to find something, you have to escape from prision, defend a special place against waves of enemies or blow up a building with time bombs. This way Restricted Area offers much more different quests than what you know from other action-RPGs.

GGMania: What other gameplay elements does the game have?

Jan Beuck: Too much to get into details.

GGMania: What sort of interface have you guys prepared for the game?

Jan Beuck: I'd like to answer with a quote from the test, which sums it up very well:

"The polished interface is Restricted Area's true highlight. It's fast, stylish and unobtrusive. Combat options can be bound to 3 mouse buttons, as well as "activate skills or "use medikit". Skills can be assigned to the number keys 1 - 8, which are then used to select the desired skill. You can not only shoot a target, you can also shoot in any direction you desire, with or without walking there.
Inventory handling is comfortable, due to "pick up everything" and "auto-sort" buttons. Item infos are displayed on mouse-over - thankfully clicking is unnecessary. Buying and selling is done with drag & drop, item enhancements are ordered with a single mouseclick.
Other convenience functions include keyboard short cuts for just about everything, a button to auto-equip the best implants, mousewheel zoom and a minimap in the top right corner. Money is automatically collected, which is a good idea - can there be any reason not to take it? Restricted Area offers two save options: quicksave & quickload and "save & exit". The game automatically quicksaves when you enter a new level. Missions can be aborted at any time, so getting stuck in dead end is impossible. Control 95%"

GGMania: What can you tell us about the graphic engine for the game?

Jan Beuck: Master Creating's programmers worked two years to create IRIS (Isometric Rendering and Illumination System), Restricted Area's unique engine. For the first time in game history, an isometric game is powered by an engine that has been created with an effort that is usually reserved for shooters. As the main advantages aren't necessarily visible in screenshots, this week, I'll try to tell you something about the power behind the scenes. The game takes advantage of a mixture of pre-rendered graphics and real-time 3D effects. As the characters and environment are highly detailed - up to 100,000 polygons per character - but pre-rendered, we can put all the power of today's 3D accelerators into the countless stunning graphical effects we wanted to include, and which are rare in the genre or even unseen yet: dynamic colored lights, figures that throw multiple dynamic shadows, fire, dust, smoke, reflections, soft mirroring in glass and marble, environment in front becoming transparent, shooter-like sliding at walls and pixel-perfect movement and collision, weather effects like rain and fog, distance darkness, great explosions and spell effects, particle system, marks in walls, realistic physics and much more.

As all time-consuming effects can be disabled (at runtime), the system requirements are relatively low.

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Pentium III 800 Mhz
384 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
2,1 GB of free, uncompressed harddisc
DirectX 8 compatible sound card
DirectX 8 compatible 3D accelerator with 32 MB VRAM (64 MB recommended)

GGMania: Could you tell us what kinds of multiplayer modes are planned for the game's release?

Jan Beuck: The game is focused on the single player experience, but there's a cooperative multiplayer mode were you can play missions together with a friend, either over LAN or internet.

GGMania: We've already had plenty of RPG games on PC and there are a number in production, how will Restricted Area stand out from the crowd?

Jan Beuck: Most important through the scenario and the changes that result from it: Focus on range weapons, cool characters, modern equipment.
An important point is also that the four totally different characters (each with unique skills and a detailed back-story) progress independently through the same narrative while the story is revealed from various angles. And there are unlimited generated subquests and unlimited generated levels, so you can play as long as you wish.

GGMania: At the moment, what is the current status of the game's progress and when do you expect the game to be released?

Jan Beuck: The game is completed and I think that the release will be in April. :)

GGMania: As you've probably guessed, we're all itching to see the game in action. Will there be a video or demo so we can see a bit of the action?

Jan Beuck: Just download the international trailer

GGMania: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Finally, is there anything else you wish to say about Restricted Area?

Jan Beuck: If you think it can be interesting for you, take a look at the website to learn more about it: Thanks for reading!

Related links: Planet RA (fansite), forum, movie trailer (18MB), homepage

genre: action RPG
release: April 2005
developer: Master Creating
publisher: Whiptail Interactive

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