Questions are in bold and answers are in red.
< DC_Robert> I am Robert Stevenson at Dreamcatcher
< DC_Robert> I have been working with the PCF crew, producing for about 3 years now
<[PCF]Andrew> I'm Andrew Poznanski (actually its Andrzej here in Poland but who would know how to pronounce it, right?)
< DC_Robert> I am the producer on Painkiller Xbox ;-)
<[PCF]Andrew> I'm a co-founder, co-owner of People Can Fly, my field of work is graphics, I have been lead level artist on PK PC and for xbox I'm a project lead
< Jarrod> Was it hard taking a PC game and redoing the game for Xbox?
<[PFC]Andrew> You have no idea! On PC you never really care about memory requirements, so programmers are only interested in their code working, and don't care how much mem it consumes and then when you realize your game needs like 10 times as much memory as there is on xbox...it was really frustrating. We always heard about xbox being close to PC as far as architecture goes, but so what if you have to entirely rewrite code and redo all the graphics because of memory requirements. So it was a real nightmare, almost like creating the game from scratch. We could have taken a few shortcuts, but it would be at a cost of quality and we wanted none of that - hence long hours at work, lots and lots of recreating stuff from scratch and I hope the result is rewarding!
< Firebird> What was the biggest challenge working on the Xbox version vs the PC version?
<[PFC]Andrew> We were actually surprised to see that much slower CPU was not too much of an issue. It turned out Havok did a good job on xbox as well, so physics were not too much of a challenge, but that dreaded 64 megs of ram was...Fitting all the detailed gfx from PC into xbox without sacrificing quality was a nightmare. You really have to think clever on where to put detail where it is actually noticed and where to cut it and conserve some more mem.
< Pascal24> When is the game coming out and how many levels will there be in the xbox version?
<[PFC]Andrew> When the game's coming out? End of March I guess, right Robert? We are in Microsoft Certification right now, meaning they got the game and can't get enough of it. ;-) So depending on how soon they get tired of fragging monsters and baddies, it will go into production.
< DC_Robert> Yeah - that is the plan. The game is currently in Microsoft Cert, it just finishing Pre-Cert, and is transferring to full Cert just now. We pushed is back from late last fall. The game just wasn't ready then, but it looks sweet now. We have an entire testing group hammering Live! day in and out; quite good players at this point, i can't touch most of them.
<[PFC]Andrew> As for amount of levels, there are 22 levels in there; 6 arenas with huge freaky bosses! I love those, cant get enough of the giant Thor dude smashing an entire arena to pieces. Literally thousands of individual physics driven parts flying in all directions when he wreaks havoc with his hammer.
< Pascal24> Is the carnival level included in the Xbox version?
<[PFC]Andrew> Oh, that one was just too much for the console. You can see en entire level there and there was just too many polys to render, but maybe on Xbox 360... :) keep your fingers crossed!
< Baco> What sets Painkiller: Hell Wars apart as being anything other than a straight PC-to-Xbox port? Meaning what kind of innovations have you made to make the game appealing and enjoyable to veterans of the PC version?
<[PFC]Andrew> As for innovation... funny thing is, Painkiller was always a console game at heart so even on a PC the game had lots of things that usually are not in a PC game but often are present on consoles. Keeping that in mind, as well as knowing how much the game was appreciated on PC, we didn't try to be too creative on xbox, we didn't want to mess too much with proven formula. Of course we heavily redesigned whole gameplay. The pace of the game needed to be adjusted to console standards with computer mouse you can make quick aims, quick turns etc, on console with gamepad its not possible, so we tweaked game not to be frustrating when you play it with gamepad. I guess that there were mostly tweaks than revolutions compared to PC version. One of the bigger differences would be dividing levels into subsections so that you get a better sense of progressing through the game and of course Live! is sweet, all the friends lists, chats etc., its a lot nicer than Multiplayer on PC.
< Pascal24> Can we expect any secrets/unlockables?
<[PFC]Andrew> Oh yeah, the game is all about discovering and unlocking stuff! In each level you collect money, treasures, find secret areas, fill special objectives, unlock special powers...finishing game on different difficulty modes unlocks new levels, and maybe even an alternative ending? Oh wait, that was supposed to be a secret! Now I'm gonna have to kill you guys ;-) (on Live! Server)
< Jarrod> Can we use the custom soundtrack feature in Hell Wars on Xbox?
<[PFC]Andrew> Jeez, you got me there :) I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think that's possible. I'm not a sound guy so not sure.
< DC_Robert> No - there isn't one included on Painkiller Xbox, but certainly we considered it closely. We just liked the soundtrack already. The soundtrack was released in Europe, I am not sure if it ever came out in North America, but we have some copies - I'll see if we can put it up.
< Kater> Are you afraid that due to the mature content and lower age ranges for console players in comparison with PC, you may not get as good a response?
<[PFC]Andrew> Well... gore and violence, doesn't it always sell well? ;-) but seriously...I think that the game has always been targeted towards older audience.
< DC_Robert> Yeah - i would second that. It would be impossible to change PK in any way and not make it something else. I hope that console gamers will indulge in some of the gore and craziness that is true to Painkiller.
<[PFC]Andrew> I guess you could think of PK as a Tarantino movie... it's supposed to be freaky violent, it is a vital part of what it is.
< Baco> With the glut of FPS games that continue to come out, what areas do you feel developers should/must pay close attention to in order to differentiate themselves in the market and how has PCF taken those into account?
<[PFC]Andrew> I think that most FPS makers around there are forgeting about key factor: F U N. There are more and more tactical shooters, realistic shooters, and when you play them you may go through half of the game thinking you're still playing same level, killing same mercenaries; of course you play in a different warehouse or killing baddie wearing different camouflage, but basically nothing changes throughout whole game. While your typical console game provides 10 times the variety and 10 times the fun of the typical shooter, so I guess the key to creating entertaining FPS is variety and intensity of experience... in Painkiller there are more than 60 different enemies! And all the levels are very very distinctive... you dont get bored playing PK. Most important for me is keeping things a bit over the top... I mean when you watch action movie there is not much realism going on because it would be boring and not spectacular. When you shoot a rocket at the feet of five zombies and you see them flying in the air thanks to explosion, you see spraying blood across the screen, you know its not too realistic, but it looks damn cool and is fun. Fun is key :)
< Baco> How does the AI in PK measure up to other games that have recently received accolades in that department. Intelligent AI seems to be a trend; F.E.A.R. for example.
<[PFC]Andrew> We went a different road than F.E.A.R - we wanted intensity and excitement instead of tactics and camping around corners. I mean it's not that hard to create an enemy that can for example kick back the grenade you throw at him...but you DO want the grenade to explode in his face, right? So we didn't try too hard to create ultra-smart enemies, we wanted them angry and determined to kill you and thats how they are. Having said that, some of the enemies do try to work in groups, some of them seek for shields, even live (or not-so-live) shields. There's this one enemy that often grabs other nearby undeads, snaps their neck and carries before him as a human (unhuman?) shield. So there are enemies that actually think while attacking, though most of them just think "kill! kill! Kill!
< Jarrod> Will Painkiller: Hell Wars be playable on the Xbox 360 later on?
<[PFC]Andrew> We did some tests and xbox 360 is a great machine for Painkiller, but to have official compatibility you have to jump through some hoops.
< DC_Robert> Let me add on that. Basically Microsoft has an approval process for 360 titles and they are going through title by title and updating the emulation along the way. So we don't know have a date on official compatibility.
< Christos> What was the main inspiration for some of the creepy scenes in PK? Horror movies? Survival-horror games?
<[PFC]Andrew> We took inspiration from almost anything scary evere imagined in human history ;-) From mythology, through fairy tales, classic horror novels, movies, urban myths, you name it! With more than 60 different enemies, we had to look for inspiration everywhere we could. I guess we only skipped asian horror, that one's just too freaky ;-)
< Baco> What main things would you like someone to take from their PK experience on the Xbox?
<[PFC]Andrew> I often observe our testers playing PK... they spend hundreds of hours playing it over and over, and still they occasionaly scream "Holy S&*@#" did you see that? I just love it. People get A LOT of fun playing Painkiller, there are so many cool things going on...the totally unpredictable physics, crazy gore, there is a lot of entertainment in there. So I guess I just like everyone to relax and enjoy Painkiller as much as possible. It's not about life-changing experience, not about lerning life lessons from the game - its about FUN :)