On Dec. 1, Square Enix and Avalanche Studios are going to take the holidays by storm when Just Cause 3 launches on PS4 and Xbox One. atombash.com recently interviewed Omar Shakir, Content Producer on Just Cause 3, and Francesco Antolini, Principal Designer on Just Cause 3, about the title’s adrenaline pumping gameplay, its inspirations, the level of destructibility the game shall offer, and how the PS4 and Xbox One allow for new gameplay possibilities.
The Just Cause franchise is about epic moments, and Avalanche Studios looks to continue this trend with Just Cause 3. Thanks to the inclusion of social sharing options on PS4 and Xbox One, gamers can now share and relive their most epic moments in games. When it comes to Just Cause 3, the developers will give players complete control of the camera so that the best moments can be captured with the perfect camera angle.
“We’ve tried to design the game and the camera around the fact that the player may want to manipulate as soon as possible. For example, players like it when the camera automatically realigns behinds the vehicle, so this is what happens in the game, however, we make sure to give you the option in the menu to override automatic realignment. If you want to explode something and then keep your camera looking at the explosion you can do that,” explained Francesco Antolini.
Omar Shakir added, “The game is never about creating one particular moment or a series of checklists for what we want to happen. It’s about creating these systems that react to the world in a certain way, and then the player becomes the emergent point that creates the spectacle people expect with Just Cause.”
Some of the awesome moments that people will want to capture or share will surely be the epic and massive explosions that the game features. Using the game’s tether system, you’ll be able to create some insane combinations of vehicles and environmental objects that may lead to huge explosions and destruction.
“I play the game differently than a lot of the guys do. I’m very much a leap first and think later kind of player. I’ve duel-tethered a spherical tank to a giant assault chopper over a base and then dropped it like a nuclear bomb. That’s a pretty big explosion, and the reality is what’s exploding has a particular effect and what you’re exploding it with also has an effect. When they mingle, they create something just a little bit new and diverse. Dropping a spherical tank into a refinery gets a huge explosion. You literally take out one side of the entire base,” shared Shakir.
Freedom and choice are key aspects of Just Cause 3, and the wingsuit and tethering grant the player with vast possibilities. While discussing the wingsuit and open-world inspiration for the title, Antolini explained how the wingsuit serves a grander purpose in Just Cause 3 than it does in other game – citing Far Cry as an example.
“Let’s take Far Cry, it’s an FPS, which is fantastic and there’s a lot of love and effort poured into the shooting experience. The function of the wingsuit in Far Cry is very different in our game. The wingsuit in Far Cry is used primarily to cover large distances, whereas for us, it’s a trick you use on the second-to-second gameplay. It’s not that you need to open the wingsuit to travel to the canyon, no, ‘I jump from this tower in the military base to get to the enemy so I can kick his ass’ (laughs), then I grapple there to get to a vehicle and get away, so it’s very different,” said Antolini.
Another use for the wingsuit is to board a monorail and use it as a weapon of carnage.
“Sometimes our monorail is a weaponized carriage. If you manage to get onto the monorail, you can hack the weaponized carriage and the moment you hack it, it will work for you. Say you are being followed by enemies and you manage to land on the monorail and from the moment you hack it, it will begin to shoot at the enemies coming after you. It’s pretty cool.”
Though players won’t start the game with the wingsuit, it will become available rather quickly. When asked when players will get the wingsuit, Antolini said, “15 minutes (laughs). It takes 15 minutes, maybe 20 if you want to take things slow, and after that you have everything you need to have fun with it.”
While the wingsuit allows for quick travel, infiltration and escape, the tethering mechanic also gives the player tons of options and creates for unique scenarios. According to Antolini, multi-tethering becomes available within “15 minutes”. What kind of craziness can you create with a tether? Well, how about connecting a monorail with a helicopter!
“The monorail is a force on a track. Your imagination of what happens when I dual tether the monorail to a helicopter is what creates the moment. What’s supposed to happen? It’s being pulled, it’s physics and that’s how I viewed these guys approaching the game. Systems in every direction and the player converge to create a spectacle out of all these systems,” Shakir shared.
It is quite clear that destruction plays a big role in Just Cause 3, but there are certain limitations in place. Not everything can be destroyed in the game, and somethings can be destroyed permanently.
Antolini explained that, “Not everything is destructible. There is a set of design considerations that backed this decision. It’s very easy to begin designing a game like this and say, ‘everything is destructible!’ However, think about the grappling hook, the grappling hook needs things it can grapple to in order to propel you into the sky. If I let the player destroy everything then that would cut their feet and not have any actual points to grapple. Some things that get destroyed are destroyed forever, so the more you destroy the world, the more beautiful it becomes. Then there are buildings that can be destroyed at will like bridges, fuel stations, and other things can be destroyed again.”
With the game running on PS4 and Xbox One, we were curious as to how the jump to this new generation of hardware benefited the game. Antolini told us that the whole engine was rewritten from scratch for Just Cause 3 so that it could use the potential of the PS4 and Xbox One. Doing so opened up new possibilities.
“This means more things like more animating in the explosions or tethering at the same time. It means that each and every bit of destruction that you see is procedurally programmed on the fly. Everything is made of parts, which are all physicalized, and then are attached together through real, physical constrains. This also means that each way you choose to destroy something, you will use a different type of destruction,” said Antolini.
As for how this translates into the gameplay and player experience, Omar Shakir shared a moment he experienced during a play of Just Cause 3.
“There was a particular moment when I was liberating [an area] and a chopper in one of the spike events (something that happens after the player has laid waste to a good amount of the facility, Di Ravello calls in some reinforcements that are customized for that particular base). In this particular case, there was a giant assault chopper that came after me, so I shot down the chopper while dual tethering a guy to it. The chassis of the chopper exploded and the guy who was tethered must have gotten off a bullet because there were a bunch of barrels near me, and then everything started exploding on the ground.”
“As the destroyed chassis was falling to the ground, because it’s physicalized, I actually sort of twitch grappled to it and wingsuit catapult myself off of it and get away from all of the explosions. That kind of thing probably wouldn’t have been possible on the last-generation of consoles,” concluded Shakir.