What do you get if you take devs from the Bulletstorm, The Witcher 2 and Painkiller teams, slamming them together into a new studio? You get HARD RESET, an exciting new FPS from Poland – and we’ve got the scoop!
One day, the machines will take over. That’s been a prominent paranoid theory for as long as modern technology has existed, and it seems like the theme’s still going strong. Today, Polish studio Flying Wild Hog announces its debut: a dark, science-fiction FPS going by the name of Hard Reset - and in it, the robots are very much in control.
This is a PC-exclusive shooter from a studio which, while new, contains some exquisite talent. The development team’s individual CVs list credits such as The Witcher 2, Bulletstorm, Painkiller and, slightly less impressively, Sniper: Ghost Warrior. Together, they’ve spent the last two years working secretly towards a single goal: to create a game with old-school FPS values, but with a compelling story to get stuck into if you want.
That story isn’t necessarily top priority, and it certainly won’t be forced upon you. The developers at Flying Wild Hog are keen to emphasise the game’s pure blaster heritage, and a narrative that you can read into as much as you want. “There is an intriguing and non-trivial story told through animated, comic-style cutscenes in between game levels,” explains Klaudiusz Zych, the company’s co-founder. “It’s not something you have to pay attention to if you don’t want to – you could just storm through the levels.”
But to Zych’s mind, it’s unlikely that people will do this then leave the game for dust. He thinks Hard Reset’s narrative is engaging enough to demand return visits. “From our experience,” he says, “if they skip the story on their playthrough, won’t players want to play again to find out what was it all about?”
Rage against the machines
So what is it all about? Well, players step into the shoes of Major Fletcher, a citizen of the city Bezoar and an army veteran. He finds himself caught up in a battle between the world’s major powers: the robots, who dominate; and the humans, who are putting up a valiant last stance against their mechanical enemies.
At its core, it’s a traditional, balls-to-the-wall FPS. “It’s a classic first-person shooter with loads of physics, destruction, and hordes of enemies,” says Zych. What he hopes sets it apart, though, is an experience-based upgrade system, which Flying Wild Hog reckon will add some depth to your action plans as you progress through the game. “It’s a Painkiller-meets-Diablo kind of game,” Zych smiles.
The crux of this is a weapons upgrade system, which – for the moment – the devs are keeping tight to their chests. But they’ve also yet another trick up their sleeves: a dynamic environment that will bring this sinister, future universe to life. The game boasts a strong and prominent physics system – and although we’ve yet to see it fully in action, the prospect of a changeable, cyberpunk world sounds enticing.
Keeping an eye
The game’s singleplayer-only, which is almost a shame in this game world: it means definitely no stomping about in big mech suits en masse, for one thing. But Flying Wild Hog seem entirely focused on their aims: to create a classic first-person shooter with an oppressive atmosphere looming over it.
That will be helped by the proprietary engine, certainly. Hard Reset looks gorgeous – with full dynamic lighting and some incredible, high-future art design. The city seems to stretchout spectacularly, while the effects – fire, electricity and the like – look to be frankly stunning. Meanwhile, the mix of concrete and metal feels properly authentic. Beozar looks like it’ll be a very palpable place in which to stay.
The little we’ve seen of it suggests a game that knows what it wants to do, and has set about doing it well. Whether its minor innovations will form the basis of a wonderful videogame is yet to be seen – but for the moment, I think it’s safe to say we should be keeping our eyes on this one.
Hard Reset is due for release on PC this September.