Hey, Jamie from Roll7 here!
Did you see us? We were shown at the E3 Sony Press Conference! How cool is that?! We’re incredibly excited about bringing our next game to the fantastic PlayStation Nation. Not A Hero is looking better and better every day, and it wouldn’t be possible without John Ribbins, Not A Hero’s creator and lead developer.
Now, tracking down John can be hard sometimes – especially in the midst of pre-E3 craziness – but we really wanted to reveal some exclusive Not A Hero news for you guys, so we sat him down for a few minutes and grabbed what we could before he flew out with a skateboard under his arm to hook up with Devolver and their carnival of E3 delights.
ON NOT A HERO’S CHARACTERS…
Not A Hero, in a way, is a very character-driven game because all of our playable characters come from different backgrounds, feel distinct and play very differently. In some cases, it’s brought on by special abilities; slow reloading, different guns, speed etc. We want to make it so every character brings something different to the table.
The first playable character you meet is Steve, and he’s a standard issue, balaclava-wearing, pistol-wielding dude who is designed to teach you the core mechanics of the game – such as; slide, cover, shoot, then timing reloads, and working out slide tackles – stuff like that.
From there, you can unlock Cletus. He’s our loveable, shotgun-shooting Hillbilly. We introduce the first big change to how things play with him. He has a shotgun, which means he has less ammo, but his bullets are somewhat more effective. You have to really think through your shots, because you will almost certainly die if you just started blasting off bullets everywhere.
Cletus also adds a couple of Special Abilities in a major way. For instance, if you fire at an Enemy, they get blown backwards. It’s kind of awesome because you can essentially start bowling with bad-guys. You can shoot one guy, and then use him to knock over everyone else, then run in and execute everyone while they’re on the floor.
ON NOT A HERO’S STORY AND WORLD…
The world of Not A Hero is a mess. Crime runs rampant, gangs have taken over entire sections of the City. Basically, it looks like all hope is lost. It’s Gotham without Batman. We don’t own Batman though, so it’s up to Bunnylord, our weird little bunny-thing in a suit, who wants to win the upcoming election and save the City. How does he do that? By hiring Steve as his campaign manager/murderer to clean up the streets, naturally.
In the truest sense, what we’re really saying is that you’re simply not the hero in this game. There’s very little that differentiates Steve, or Cletus, or anyone else from the Enemies. You’re never a character who can run in and murder everybody with ease.
So, what is Not A Hero? It’s a game where you murder people and clean up a City using a variety of characters all because a Bunny asked nicely.
THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE GAME…
Cover, cover, cover!
While lots of 3D shooters use a cover system, I’ve played very few 2D games that use similar mechanics. In 2D shooters, you’re usually jumping over bullets or ducking under them. Very few have parts of the environment that you can hide in. So that’s the single, biggest feature, I think. Every character of the game uses cover, and if you don’t use it, you’re going to die.
It’s similar to our last game too, in a way, where there’s a pattern to the movement. In OlliOlli, it’s ‘Trick, Land, Trick, Grind, Trick, Land.’ In Not A Hero, it’s kind of ‘Slide, Cover, Shoot, Cover, Slide’.
ON THE DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS…
In the City, there are four Districts: Vodkaville, Sushi Central, Barrington Court, Bredrin Park. All of the Districts are colour coded. Vodkaville is like the Russian-Mafia district and it’s all purple, and then you move over to Bredrin Park – which is green, Sushi Central, which is red. And then the fourth District is Barrington Court, which is blue. Of course, all our demos are purplely-pink right now but that’s only because we’re only on the first of the four Districts. Once we move onto the others Districts, they will all have their own colour scheme. So, at some point everything will stop being quite so pink!
ON PROGRESSING THROUGH THE GAME…
Every stage, there is one overall objective that you have to beat to finish the level. There are also three bonus challenges that are optional to complete. We’re trying to cater to both types of fans – the ones who want to complete everything 100%, and the others who just want the variety and flux of the different challenges, different maps and different gameplay.
As you’re working for Bunnylord, and you’re helping him go on his election campaign, you will see Bunnylord’s Poll Rating rise after you complete every stage. The more Challenges you complete, the higher the District percentage will be.
In terms of character unlocks, you can play through the game and do most of the challenges with any character, but there are certain levels where you might need to unlock a certain character in order to go back and beat previous challenges.
ON PERSONALLY MAKING ADDICTIVE, ARCADE-STYLE GAMES…
I don’t know if I consciously chose to make addictive arcade-style games, but somehow it has turned out to be something I’m quite good at. I fell into it by accident though, because the stuff I like playing is quite narrative-driven. Bit weird, really.
ON BRINGING IT TO PLAYSTATION…
It’s awesome to build for Sony. There’s something really nice about designing for console because anyone can make a PC game and put it out. I realize anyone can make a console game and put it out too, but there is more of a process for the consoles. You have to go through Sony’s QA. It feels like quite a ‘grown-up’ process. I can’t quite explain it, but it’s just really nice to have a game on consoles. It has helped us grow up as a Studio.
ON THE RELEASE DATE…
Early next year… I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say any more than that!