|Stubbs Q&A With Wideload's Alex Seropian|
October 29, 2004 | Kevin Goetz
Late yesterday Wideload Software announced its very first title called Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel without a Pulse". The game, which uses an updated version of the Halo engine will be published by Aspyr Media in the summer of 2005. IMG recently sneaked in a few minutes with the ever-busy Alexander Seropian to talk about Stubbs, his new company, and more.
IMG: The game is about Zombies, how do you want the game to play out. Will it be an action game, or something else?
Seropian: Yes, the main character, "Stubbs" is in fact a zombie. But this is not your father's zombie game. It is all action, not survival horror. We asked ourselves early on what it meant to play a zombie in a videogame and came up with some cool game mechanics. For instance, a big part of the game is what we call "conversion". When you eat a dude's brain (as zombies tend to do) they die but then get back up as a zombie. Now that zombie is on your "team". So with this conversion idea, you can turn an enemy into an ally. Plus zombies in your horde can kill other people and turn them into zombies too. We made our own zombie AI system that controls your zombie horde and the resulting behaviors are really interesting and hilarious. You can use your zombies as meat shields - or use them to outflank enemy units. You can even stick them with one of your gut-grenades and have them march it straight at the enemy.
IMG: What sort of time frame are we looking at until it hits the shelves? Will Mac, PC, and Xbox have the same release date?
Seropian: We are targeting summer 2005. We will be shipping the Xbox, PC and Mac versions at the same time.
IMG: How much have you altered the Halo engine? Is this game basically a MOD, or did you alter the code at all?
Seropian: We've done a lot of work to the AI system, the animation system, the control schemes and the pixel shaders. We are using the Halo engine as a starting point and a general game architecture. But I think it's safe to say that "Stubbs the Zombie" is a very different game from Halo.
IMG: This is going to be a Macintosh game (as well as PC and Xbox). Will Wideload do all of the work, will you bring in another company to do the Macintosh work?
Seropian: We are already working with a separate Mac team at Aspyr to ensure a simultaneous release.
IMG: How's life at Wideload, is it much different from Bungie?
Seropian: Life is good. We have the creative freedom of a small team, with the resources needed for a large project through all our contracting partners. There are eleven of us in the office full time and over thirty independent contractors also working on the title right now.
IMG: Do you want people to compare Wideload to Bungie, or are you looking to make a new name for yourself?
Seropian: That's a flattering comparison - but we are trying to do something completely different. Both creatively and process-wise.
IMG: At Bungie, you and Jason Jones were the "head honchos". Did you start the company on your own, or with someone else?
Seropian: I started the company on my own - but I'm lucky to have been joined by such a great crew - all of whom are my partners in this and many of whom also came from Bungie.