What does a game developer do for an encore when their last game was a funny fantasy action-RPG? For Bard's Tale developers inXile Entertainment you go 180 degrees and create HEI$T, a adult crime action game set in 1969 San Francisco. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with the game's senior designer Sean Patton to find out more about HEI$T which will be released by Codemasters.
FiringSquad: You guys developed The Bard’s Tale before this game. Why did you want to switch from a fantasy RPG to a more modern day crime game?
Sean Patton: Simply, because its fun. We don’t really have a “style” I don’t think. If anything defines us it’s really our irreverence for convention. We did Bard’s Tale to kind of say, “Hey, RPG’s don’t have to be stuffy affairs about elves and dwarves.” We thought bank robbery would make a cool game, so we did HEI$T. We thought Line Rider was an awesome game too, so we are also working on that. We do what makes us excited.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline and characters in the game?
Sean Patton: HEI$T begins with the main character Johnny being let out of prison. He gets together with some of his old crew, sights set on taking down the San Francisco Mint. Of course, nothing ever goes as smoothly as the original plan, so Johnny has to work out a few issues along the way.
FiringSquad: Why did you wish to set the game in 1969 San Francisco?
Sean Patton: The 60’s was for rebels. The music, the cars, the clothes, the movies, etc. all had a rebel style to them. Bank robbers, from Jesse James to Willy Sutton have had a cool, rebel attitude about them that society respects. It’s not like thug crimes. Bank robbery and the 60’s are very cool, and so was our idea for a bank robbery game, so it was a good match.
FiringSquad: What are the main goals of HEI$T for your playable character(s)?
Sean Patton: Well, ironically, HEI$T is always about the heist. The player is set up with a series of obstacles and chooses how to overcome them: brute force, developing alliances, improving the skills of his crew. Whatever means the player chooses, it’s always about taking down the score from the elite banks of the game, building up the skills and means to take down the Mint.
FiringSquad: What kinds of locations and missions will the player have to accomplish in the game?
Sean Patton: HEI$T uses the whole city and a lot of locations, including warehouses, shipping freighters, strip clubs, diners and more. The player can choose to take missions that have an immediate gain, or they can explore the city, utilizing these locations to improve crew abilities and allow the player to practice particular tactics.
FiringSquad: Since your character is a bad guy, is it safe to say there will be a lot of confrontations with law enforcement in the game?
Sean Patton: Well, first off let’s define the term ‘bad guy’. Yes, in HEI$T you are going to rob banks, but the player has a choice on how they handle it. There are benefits to going in guns blazing and benefits to running a clean heist. So it’s up to the player how they build their reputation. A bad reputation will have more “confrontations”. There are also other elements in the city that may create conflict. Local thugs, vigilantes, and the mob all want a piece of the pie.