Interview

Cos Lazouras on Terminator: Salvation

We train our sights on Halcyon's exec

Terminator: Salvation is expected to arrive alongside a new movie come May, and given the standard of previous Terminator games we were less than inspired. Warner, Grin and Halcyon however seem to be pulling out all the stops in a bid to ensure this game can stand on its own and rival the very best of the third-person action genre. Let's hear what Halycon development VP Cos Lazouras has to say on the matter.

When did you begin working on your new Terminator game?

About six months before the movie went into production.

What have you learned from past games based on the IP?

Don’t make a terrible game!

How closely will the game be linked to the new movie, which is due out in the spring?

The game is set two years before the next movie and gives the player insight into characters and events they will see in the movie.

Why do games based on films have such a bad reputation, and what measures are you taking to buck the trend?

A lot of games based on movies suffer because of short development times and a wrong approach to the game design. Instead of focusing on designing a game that does not need an IP applied, they are often approached from an opportunistic perspective, basically to take advantage of the hype surrounding a movie release. Because we owned the license we could kick-off development much earlier than normal and we could engage a triple-A developer (in this case Grin) to create a game that could stand alone.

Visually, the game looks very detailed and visceral. What have been your aims here and how have they been achieved?

Again because Halcyon games is owned and located by the producers of the movie we worked hand in glove with the filmmakers throughout. This led to visuals, tone and atmosphere in the game that mirrors the film exactly.

No multiplayer mode is planned - why is this?

Although we had a longer development time than normal for a movie based game, we also decided early on to drop this feature and design within schedule. It is my opinion to do less, better than more but mediocre. We did get local co-op in which is incredibly cool.

You face some stiff competition in the third-person action genre from rivals like Gears of War 2. What have you learned from these games and what will you do differently?

Although there are similarities between many third-person high octane action games, we were really guided into certain design directions by the IP itself. Our enemies are very difficult to stop or kill and often relentlessly pursue. The combat situations therefore take place in a diagonal progression, but combat is in a 360 degree arena. The player needs to constantly move, flank, cover and utilize their squad to progress.

Does this game represent the beginning of a new gaming series - or will this be a stand-alone, movie accompaniment?

Terminator Salvation is the first in a trilogy of films so watch this space.

We've heard rumour that an MMO was considered. What can you tell us about this and the richness of the Terminator world that makes it possible?

We have explored many different mediums to expand the Terminator universe in, and if it makes sense and isn’t just a marketing tool, we’ll consider it. At this point in the franchise’s story the world has really been opened up, it’s not just one enemy relentlessly chasing the lead character. The war is on!

Lastly, what element of the new game makes you most proud?

I think the passion and dedication of Grin the developer, has really humbled me on this production. From a gaming perspective, the feeling of interacting in a Terminator universe as John Connor is fantastic and played against the cover mechanics and the strategy of intense combat is really a pretty awesome experience.

Thanks for your time.

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