The only problem with ditching the HUD is that, as we've noticed, a lot of fine details in the game that replace the HUD - like the light on your gun that blinks when your ammo is low - are very small. Aren't you worried that they won't be easily seen for gamers with standard-definition TVs?
Josh Austin: We're still focus-testing right now, and that's one of the points that we're definitely bringing up. This version [on display] is from December, so it's already gotten better since then - we've been working on it like crazy. We have some really cool features in there now, like the little DNA scanner that's on the side of the troopers' weapons. You pick it up and it'll start bleeping and then it'll fizz out. There'll be a lot of touches like that in the game.
But it's really important to have progression and pacing - that's a huge thing with us - balancing and polishing the game so that the enemies run out at the right time, and you grow as a character.
In so many games, you start out as a certain character and you're still the same at the end. That's one of the things we wanted to avoid. We wanted to take what Zelda does and evolve the player throughout the experience.
It seems you guys took a lot of influence from Zelda...
Josh Austin: Yeah, and one of the big design philosophies we read in a lot of design books is: "when the learning stops, the fun stops." So one of our big things is progression - first you start off with a gun and get familiar with the game. Then you get the glaive, then electric powers - we're pacing it so every level is based around the new powers that you acquire as you evolve. It really gives you the opportunity to learn more and find out what those powers do for you and how they affect the enemies. So you really feel powerful as you go through the game.
And will the acquisition of these new powers and items allow you to revisit areas and explore them further?
Josh Austin: You will be revisiting some areas, and others you'll just pass through. We're doing our best to make it feel like this is a fully connected city. There are already some great areas in the game where you can see a later level in the background.
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