PC Interview

Hooligans: Storm Over Europe

We chat to Jason Garber, about this controversial RTS...

1. Hello Jason! Firstly, thanks for participating in this interview, it would have been lame were I answering my own questions! Secondly, what was the inspiration for the game? It is somewhat controversial to say the least…

The inspiration came from the endless games that we played that were about trolls and ogres collecting mana (I have never seen mana in real life but hey… collect it, nonetheless!) and space marines saving earth from yet another alien race that wants Earth as their next breeding haven. The inspiration came from this because we were fed up about these games. We were looking for something contemporary in a wargame as well as humor and sarcasm. We looked at several subject-matters and ended up with this metaphor for a wargame which was called Hooligans. We felt that we could do it with humour, strategic thinking and gameplay as the most important ingredients instead of just using it as a gimmick, we could get a good game going.

The controversial bit came later when we realized that a lot of people were scared by the fact that we were doing a game about this. We did not want to create a sim of being a hooligan, we wanted to make a game in a contemporary setting and have lots of strategy and black humor in it. I think we got pretty close to what we set out to do from the beginning.

2. I gather the somewhat unseemly topic of the game has made it hard for you to find a publisher for Hooligans. What is happening on this front?

We decided that after months of talks with running against red tape and corporate walls to do it ourselves. We have never done it before but it was born out of necessity. When you have a finished game and the audience wants it but the retailers will not stock it…. You have a problem. The regular publisher will not take your title up because they are afraid that it will not ship. So, a natural idea was, if we are going to take all the risk and no one is going to help us, we might as well go all the way.

So in September, we decided to postpone the release of the game with a month due to the tragic events that took place in NY, we will release the game ourselves and work with distributors in the territories around Europe and the world. That will cover some of the audience, although when big chains do not take up your title you will miss out on a large audience. We will compensate with selling it over the internet as well, www.hooligans-thegame.com Maybe when people have seen the title and actually understand what we have done with it, there might be some acceptance and we will be able to reach a bigger audience with the help of the large chains.

3. What style of gameplay will Hooligans employ: we gather it is an RTS-style game. Tell us more!

It is an RTS game with the backdrop of hooligans. Like all strategy games you need to collect money, manage your troops and make strategic decisions. Except we changed the rules a bit. You collect money by looting shops for instance. You buy your troops not in a barrack but in a pub, where you spend beer to get supporters or hard core units. The untis have special characteristics that you can use. You got a strong guy, a guy that handles cars etc. Also you have drugs. You can buy drugs to influence your troops as well as give them plenty of alcohol to get them motivated to do something.

Interesting enough you could compare it between commandos which has a 1 on 1 feeling (1 guy is what you control) and Starcraft where 1 unit resembles a bit more. We are somewhere between that. You do control 1 unit but you have supporters hanging around it. They are oppurtunistic and will not attack in a loose situation.

4. How realistic a recreation of the world of the football hooliganism is the game? What research have you done?

As far as real hooliganism is concerned, we are nowehere close. The recreation of that world is not what we set out to achieve. I don't think any Hooligan will get pointers from playing this game on what to do next in a riot. We may have invented the riot genre in gaming but recreating realism in this game was not the aim. I mean as far as reseach is concerned, we didn't go out to meet the hooligans. We just looked at all the stuff that is available out there. If you make a wargame you do not go out to war yourself. So as far as research is concerned, we read a couple of books, watch some footage and checked the libraries and internet on references.

5. Back to basics now, what is the aim of the game, and how do you go about completing it?

The aim of the game is to become the most notorious group of hoolgians in Europe, and you do that by completing the mission we have devised for the player.

6. What sort of tasks will the 'hooligans' need to carry out in their battle with the authorities, and is there any plot that runs through the game.

The missions have objectives like, entering a stadium, wrecking vertain parts of a town, destroying the other firm's group. And yes there is a plot, but we are not going to give that away in an interview. We feel that everybody should just play the game and discover it themselves.

7. What exotic locales will Hooligans see players destroying? How accurately have these places been modelled?

All the major european countries will be visited, and they are not accurate in the sense that it is a copy of a town. What it will give you is a feeling of that town in that country.

8. I'm guessing you're anticipating some form of response from retailers over the content of the game. What are your thoughts on this, and will the game carry any form of certification?

We understand their point of view and respect that. It will go through all the right and lawfull channels in regards to certificates.

9. What brand of lager will the thugs of Hooligans be consuming; we rather enjoyed the generous portions of Grolsch you so kindly provided at this years ECTS.

They will be drinking large amounts of the one and only XIII brew. Our home brew.

10. Finally, controversial content aside; what will set Hooligans apart from the field of other such strategic offerings.

The feeling of humor throughout the game. The entertainment value we offer is great for someone who likes wargames with black humor.

Thanks for your time, Jason. Best of luck with the game.

E3 Trailer