During E3 2003 the polish developer "People Can Fly" presented the 3D-Shooter Painkiller and the audience was quite impressed about the phenomenal PAIN-3D-Engine. But behind the graphics, there are some interesting gameplay parts and Andrzej Poznanski (Lead Graphic Artist/ Co-Owner) tells us nearly everything about Painkiller in our detailed interview.
4Players: How did the idea for Painkiller come about?
Andrzej Poznanski: We have been die-hard fans of QuakeWorld (basically Quake I online) for years, and even though many FPS appeared since 1996, QW is still unparalleled in terms of gameplay, despite its stone-age graphics and, well, average single player experience. We felt gamers would appreciate it if we could bring back that intense, heavy and yet incredibly dynamic gameplay, and further improve on it thanks to great graphics and original ideas.
4Players: What`s about the storyline?
Andrzej Poznanski: Our hero, Daniel Garner, a guy with the past, dies with his wife in a tragic accident, she ends up rightfully in Heaven, while he, instead of going into Heaven (or, more probably Hell) finds himself a pawn in an unholy war in Purgatory. Stuck in this infernal battle he tries to purify his soul and uncover the truth behind all this that is happening to him.
4Players: Can you describe the game-design in the levels? Are there perhaps some Jump-&-Run parts, are there quite a few puzzles, is there a stealth mission, is the game completely linear or is there a focus on the shooter-part? Perhaps you can give us an example how a typical level in Painkiller works.
Andrzej Poznanski: We wanted to avoid situation where there are around 20 different levels in the game, and yet the player feels like he is playing basically the same level throughout the whole game, in similar style, with similar textures, same ideas and gameplay tactics. __NEWCOL__Therefore levels in Painkiller are extremely varied. They differ in looks, size, atmosphere and preferred gameplay style. You will find quite large outdoor levels (i.e. abandoned military base, docks) as well as small, claustrophobic levels (i.e. asylum, catacombs). On some arenas you will be forced to fight on large areas on big distances, while on others you will mostly engage in close combat.
Some levels will be all about frantic action, while others will be all about fear and suspense. Most levels will provide a mix of both, so you will have to concentrate on action in some areas, and then there will be time for exploration. The game will not be completely linear, but we felt that the linear levels give better sense of progression through the game, so we didn`t strive to create non-linear, RPG-like environment.
As for puzzles and stealth missions, we decided to tune those down to minimum, because we felt they would slow down the gameplay too much. But nevertheless, players will be able to find tricks that will allow them to progress through the game in more clever ways than in full-frontal combat, for example they will be able to use explosive items (barrels, TNT boxes and such) and set traps to dispose of enemies safely from the distance, they will be able to slow down enemies by stacking obstacles on their paths etc. Interaction with physics objects in the game opens the whole new world of possibilities for players.