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Building and Battling: Dylan Jobe Discusses Starhawk

James Gallagher's Avatar + Posted by James Gallagher on May 17, 2011 // Blog Manager, SCEE

My first job when I joined PlayStation in 2008 was a piece of copywriting for Warhawk – if you received an email newsletter about the Operation: Broken Mirror expansion pack, then that was me. So it was with some nostalgia that I watched Dylan Jobe announce Starhawk – the spiritual successor to what is still a very popular online game, more than three years on.

The key innovation is Build & Battle, which lets the player place towers, launchpads, turrets and more wherever they like on the battlefield and in real-time, without ever taking their finger off the trigger or leaving the fray. This applies to both the full single player campaign and the 32 strong online multiplayer, the tactical implications on which are huge.

After the announcement, I sat down with Dylan to flesh out some more detail on one of the most exciting PS3 exclusives of 2012.

Starhawk for PS3Starhawk for PS3

How has the online shooter landscape changed since Warhawk was released in 2007?

Warhawk was timed great because PlayStation Network was relatively new; it was online multiplayer only, which was rare; and our approach to games was fun and novel at that time. I’d describe it as the lovechild of Unreal Tournament and Battlefield.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the landscape is different, with a tonne of shooters out there. I wouldn’t say the genre is bloated because I love shooters, but it’s competitive and that was both a concern and a motivator for Starhawk. It certainly forced us to be original and come up with genre innovations. Ask any gamer out there and they’ll say that they want to see something new. Too often, the only difference between one shooter and the next is the visual style of the gun and the scene that it is pointing at.

What were the best things about Warhawk?

Two core elements spring to mind: multi-dimensional, fast-paced action, where you’re running and then driving and then you’re flying and it’s all seamless. A lot of other shooters relegate vehicle use to compartmental sections where you come down a tunnel, drive a tank from point A to point B, get out of the tank… that’s not what our game is. You can summon a Hawk on a launchpad wherever and whenever you want.

My second favourite element is the huge landscapes and a vehicle, in the Hawk, with which to get around very quickly. At one moment you could be creeping around a base on foot and seeing great detail close up, and at the next you can fly miles down the road at mach 2. We’re glad to have carried that scale over to Starhawk.

What other Warhawk qualities have you carried over to Starhawk?

Warhawk players like that addictive, fast-paced gameplay and Starhawk has it too – you can have a great experience in 20 minutes if you want or you can sink months into the multiplayer. You should never second-guess your fans but I hope that they see Starhawk as an improvement that serves them proud.

People were expecting us to announce something like Warhawk and the rumours about Starhawk have been doing the rounds for a while, but I think people will be surprised by how much of the game we have shown to media and, having spoken to many journalists, nobody predicted the Build & Battle gameplay.

Starhawk for PS3Starhawk for PS3

Warhawk was multiplayer only but Starhawk has a full solo campaign with a story. What is the LightBox storytelling philosophy?

There’s a whole bunch of ways to skin that cat: there are many great ways to go about game storytelling and there are a few ways that, in my opinion, are recipes for disaster. If you have a story that is too grand then you might not be able to execute it properly. Our approach is to give the player a series of exciting and flexible combat challenges that are strung together with a tale about Emmet Graves and his brother, with missions blending into really cool 2D animation sequences.

It seems like every connected game comes with a set of ‘community features’, but what exactly is a game community and how should it be supported?

I think that there are a lot of people out there who think that if you create a bunch of features then you have a community and that’s just not true. Publishers need to know that if you don’t have a vocal fan base and a game that people are passionate about, then you don’t have a community. Sony understands this.

Our take on community is to listen to those passionate players to discover the kinds of things that they want to do, and develop those features. We develop community features that the players want and need; we’re not just saying, ‘here’s a bunch of community features… go be a community!’ That’s not the way to do it at all.

Starhawk for PS3

The in-game tournaments sound exciting. How do they work?

The tournament system in Starhawk is rad. In Warhawk we had a lot of people co-ordinating their own tournaments with third-party websites and gaming leagues, and they were successful, but we want to make it way easier for anyone playing the game to create a tournament. It’s completely integrated and allows players to choose from a variety of options.

To give an example: you want to have a tournament this weekend with your buddies to see who is best at flying a Hawk. You go in and create a private tournament and set it so that sign-up is on Wednesday but it’s going to begin on Friday, and it’s going to be based on Hawk kills in one particular environment. That sets up the server for the players you’ve selected as eligible and that server will automatically track results during the time window that you have set and then post the results afterwards. We also have the ability to create central tournaments that pay out little rewards, so you can go to your trophy room and see all the stamps that you got for participating or finishing in the top ten, and so forth.

Starhawk for PS3

As a new development studio, what is the LightBox ethos?

We’re a fun crew! We were originally a part of Incognito out in Salt Lake City and we wanted to have our own studio in a new location, so we moved to Austin, Texas, which is a really hip, fun town. We’re all very liberal and open-minded; we love music and, crucially, we’re all big gamers. We care deeply about our craft. A journalist asked me earlier about the Starhawk sales projections and, as the president of the company, I do care deeply about all that stuff. But truthfully it is Sony’s job to make sure it sells a lot of copies. My job is to make Starhawk a great game – the kind of thing that my colleagues and friends want to play.

//Add Your Own

300 Comments   76 Replies

151

+ Kavewoman48 on May 17th, 2011 at 2:26 pm said:

@ lablueeyez04

I understand your frustration to the fullest. You have my sympathies. I’m just waiting for another blog update and hopefully it will address these new issues with the PSN and our accounts.


152

+ IKILLYOURFACE357 on May 17th, 2011 at 2:44 pm said:

by chance will there be trenches because trying to defeat a tank head on is never easy or smart if the with the rpg is in a hawk…
just wandering


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 12:58 pm said:

    With Build & Battle, you can build yourself a bunker for protection as you fight that Tank! You don’t have to hope that the game designer put a trench right where you needed it, you can build structures where YOU need them.


153

+ D-Squad3 on May 17th, 2011 at 2:52 pm said:

One word…beta


154

+ skyvoltz1 on May 17th, 2011 at 2:58 pm said:

this game lookz dopeee.


155

+ Curbcheck on May 17th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

Build & Battle, WOW!


156

+ TOOHIZZY334 on May 17th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

This is a great game n all but how dare u try n brush us off like nothin happend their are still unanswered questions!!!?? And ps store still doesn’t work !! Grrrr what good is that announcment if u can’t even use the playstation store duhh cmon Sony u need step up here! I luv my ps3 but can I trust it? Why should I stay with this ??


157

+ Curbcheck on May 17th, 2011 at 3:07 pm said:

I need to know when the redeem codes feature in account managment will be usable again. I purchased Fight Night Champion & Mortal Kombat during the outage but i can’t play them online till i redeem the online passes!!!!!!!


158

+ shadow_rose88 on May 17th, 2011 at 3:08 pm said:

would have much preferred something about the upcoming inFamous 2

and would have also liked an update on the store and how far it is from being up


159

+ Curbcheck on May 17th, 2011 at 3:15 pm said:

so really im still without psn service


160

+ RJ49-8HBG-LDB3 on May 17th, 2011 at 3:19 pm said:

What is this gonna be a Upcoming games:

starhawk
Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension the video game
ratchet and clank all 4 1
No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise
Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Resistance 3
Uncharted 3
Battlefield 3
inFamous 2
Final Fantasy XIV
Sorcery
Sonic Generations

and other upcoming games


161

+ jonny2010 on May 17th, 2011 at 3:20 pm said:

star hawk looks bad ass….


162

+ Kryshalis on May 17th, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

The blog is going to be a big yawn fest until E3, I fear.


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 1:00 pm said:

    Hopefully Starhawk was a bit of excitement for you.


163

+ ImProdigyChild on May 17th, 2011 at 3:24 pm said:

Looks like an awesome game .


164

+ Curbcheck on May 17th, 2011 at 3:27 pm said:

sorry its been weeks no online multiplayer im frustrated. i could go play another (older) game online but its not the same as playing a game i just recently purchased for over 60 bucks. So please can we get an update other than were sorry, we don’t have a timeline. After all ps3 the systems purchased and then sent back 6 months later for reairs and the money we (psn users) spent on games, add-ons,etc. deserve details and insight into what’s going on.


165

+ Kryshalis on May 17th, 2011 at 3:27 pm said:

Although, I am interested to try StarHawk. I never played Warhawk. By the time I was aware of what it was, the player base had dropped off. Now it seems pointless to get it. I’ll just wait for Starhawk. Nice to see some shooters that aren’t COD clones.


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 1:01 pm said:

    We really didn’t want to be another shooter clone and its good to see people are picking up on that!


166

+ bigredbdfg on May 17th, 2011 at 3:39 pm said:

Is there still going to be tanks in this game? Tanks were a very fun part of Warhawk and I hope they carry over to this game as well. I wouldn’t say no to quads or helicopters either.


167

+ jhmichael on May 17th, 2011 at 3:42 pm said:

that game looks awsome


168

+ quanghawk on May 17th, 2011 at 4:03 pm said:

ADDDDD MEEEE


169

+ Rebelis on May 17th, 2011 at 4:04 pm said:

Come on what about Mortal Kombat id trade that whole welcome back package for all the klassic costume and fatality promo codes in a second and MK players should get something because we cant redeem online passes and the 2 day pass ends before u can even enjoy yourself. MK players stand your ground Sony is doing what they can but i don’t think its much to ask at all considering all the promo codes were free aside from the ermac code or anything you can do Sony would be amazing because it sucks when black ops with the extra double xp weeks, dc universe with free game time etc all get compensated we should too. i know its not the end of the world but a bummer none the less


170

+ Kryshalis on May 17th, 2011 at 4:08 pm said:

@168

I’ve got some spare commas and periods if you’d like to use them.


171

+ usmanshafiq55 on May 17th, 2011 at 4:12 pm said:

ADD ME!!


172

+ EdwardDG- on May 17th, 2011 at 4:13 pm said:

This game looks great! Can’t wait to see more at e3


173

+ AUG209 on May 17th, 2011 at 4:19 pm said:

WEIRD GAME BUT STILL LOOKS PRETTY GOOD, IVE SEEN WORSE….


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 1:02 pm said:

    uhm, thank you?

    :-)


174

+ Rebelis on May 17th, 2011 at 4:32 pm said:

@169 do you have a spare life available? <- Your wasting this one trolling psn blogs yapping about grammar. <- And I'm <- pretty sure I didn't <- insult you or anyone so whats your excuse for being a pompous jerk ass? <- parents not love you?<- No friends? <- Whatever the case don't start an issue because your life sucks when there doesn't <- need to be one. <-

I took the liberty of pointing out my commas, <- periods and etc so you don't <- need to leave another pompous ass comment. <-
Have a good one :D


175

+ g_e_z_a_d_o_n on May 17th, 2011 at 4:34 pm said:

Although i’ve never really played warhawk other than the demo version, starhawk is no doubt a must have game to add to my vast collection of shooters an action games. The build and battle online should be well entertaining.


176

+ RoarykillELMO on May 17th, 2011 at 4:38 pm said:

Starhawk cool game seem like a game i would play alot can’t wait :)


177

+ Thane_of_Fife on May 17th, 2011 at 4:56 pm said:

i feel bad for the two proper gaming blogs getting people who don’t even care about the game just about their problems this isn’t the place for ur worries.


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 1:04 pm said:

    Playstation fans are very passionate and that’s a great thing. It doesn’t bother me to have a mix of comments here.

    We all just love our online gaming.


178

+ big_chris114 on May 17th, 2011 at 4:59 pm said:

Wow this looks like a grate game i just might get it !


179

+ KILLA_4rm_NY on May 17th, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

chocala chocala chocala diz game i must buy


180

+ hostility-T on May 17th, 2011 at 5:33 pm said:

when is the new black ops map pack 2 coming to PS3 it’s on xbox


181

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:36 pm said:

I want to play online games I’m in China and what does not have a contact reason Please Answer


182

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:37 pm said:

I want to play online games I’m in China and what does not have a contact reason Please Answer
:(

:-(


183

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:39 pm said:

What is the Problem؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟

Please Answer


184

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:40 pm said:

I want to play online games
:-(


185

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:40 pm said:

I want to play online games


186

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:46 pm said:

I am a good customer please help me
:-(


187

+ gatech2 on May 17th, 2011 at 5:47 pm said:

looks cool


188

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:52 pm said:

Online OnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnline Why does not function in East Asia????????
please help me
please help me
please help me
please help me
please help me
please help me
:-(


189

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:53 pm said:

Why?

Why?


190

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:54 pm said:

Why?


191

+ weeeed_good on May 17th, 2011 at 5:54 pm said:

I want to play

I want to play

I want to play

I want to play

I want to play

I want to play

I want to play


192

+ Bubaroo on May 17th, 2011 at 5:59 pm said:

Just wondering if you guys were going to have a rough estimate when the store is going to be back on. Really wanna play Honest Hearts, and really don’t want to have to buy it for the PC. Sorry, but I just don’t want to wait another month before I can play it, same goes with Mortal Kombat. Won’t buy it because it’s pointless. Can’t redeem the code to play online.


193

+ hckyPr3dator on May 17th, 2011 at 6:04 pm said:

PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STOREPS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STOREPS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE PS STORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


194

+ Alyyse on May 17th, 2011 at 6:09 pm said:

the game looks awsome!!!!


195

+ xFroxx on May 17th, 2011 at 6:15 pm said:

add me at xfroxx to play some brink!!!!


196

+ Kavewoman48 on May 17th, 2011 at 6:17 pm said:

Mr. Sid Shuman,

First I’d like to say THANK YOU for responding to my post! Unfortunately, I’ve already done your suggestion. I didn’t just sit idly by and complain. I have received the email from James G at the Knowledge Center advising me to collect certain information and call customer service. I spoke with Drew from customer service and although Drew was able to ease my fears about the vulnerability of my account he couldn’t assist me with resetting my password. (They can’t do that over the phone because it’s not very secure.) I will have to continue to wait for another email, it’s already been past the 24 hours wait time suggested. Again thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment at least I now know I’ve done everything possible to take care of the problem.


197

+ GEMINIVice on May 17th, 2011 at 6:23 pm said:

I had so much fun with Warhawk when I use to play it….lookin’ forward to this when it drops next year.


198

+ TrApBoY_AnTMaN on May 17th, 2011 at 6:26 pm said:

Hey sony when is the playstation store gonna be back up so we can download are stuff.?


199

+ Levi_Stum on May 17th, 2011 at 6:39 pm said:

awww, this game looks awesome. I cannot wait. But I do really hope that they add a variety of maps. Personally that looks very dull(but I bet it’s still awesome.) I hope they can fit maybe some tropical planet or snowy terrain in there. And it better have split screen. o_O


    James Gallagher's Avatar

     

    + Dylan Jobe on May 19th, 2011 at 1:10 pm said:

    There *ARE* a variety of cool environments and yes, there is split-screen.


200

+ prophetoffools on May 17th, 2011 at 6:44 pm said:

Build and Battle!? Eff Yes!


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