Rise of the Triad: The Gameranx Interview – Reimagining The Classic FPS
I spoke with Interceptor Entertainment’s Dave Oshry at length about their upcoming FPS revival, Rise of the Triad.
If you're a die-hard PC gamer, Rise of the Triad is a name that will invoke your childhood memories to a time when first person shooters were bloody, non-linear affairs in complete opposition to the corridor shooters which spoonfeed us with enemies to gun down these days.
The days of open, unconstrained maps may have been relegated to the annals of history, but the Rise of the Triad revival may yet usher a new age of first person shooters—one that looks much like the FPS of yesteryear, minus the motion sickness-inducing controls with all the benefits of the modern day graphics engine.
In anticipation of the game's release, I spoke with Dave Oshry, a former Gameranx contributor who's now heading up the marketing for Rise of the Triad, about the game and all it has to offer.
(Editor's note: Patricia Hernandez contributed half of the questions in this interview.)
For the uninitiated, could you tell us a bit about Rise of the Triad?
Dave: ROTT is a gloriously bloody and over the top FPS that released in 1995 and went on to become a cult classic. It's remembered for its crazy weapons, maniacal modes, blood, gore and overall humor in its design.
What convinced you guys to do a remake (or reimagining?) of Rise of the Triad over other classics? Why not Blake Stone or some other game? Speaking of which, are there any plans to resurrect other classics beyond Rise of the Triad?
Dave: Interceptor needed a project that fit in with their love for old school fast paced first person shooters after Duke Reloaded was put on hold. Apogee needed the right team to reboot one of their most iconic IPs. It was a perfect match.
Sure, there are other great Apogee IPs such as Blake Stone and Raptor, but ROTT certainly stands out among the rest and was ripe for a reboot. Any other plans? Sure, Apogee has lots of other things planned, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them. 😉
Will Rise of the Triad feature any music by Lee Jackson and Bobby Prince? You've done a remix of the first level thus far—so what are the chances for the rest of the soundtrack to receive the same treatment?
Dave: Nearly the entire original iconic soundtrack has been reforged in the fires of heavy metal (I love saying that) You've already heard Goin' Down the Fastway (which you can download), but you can also hear our new versions of 'Suck This' and 'Havana Smooth' being played during our Quake Con Panel and level design Time Lapse videos we recently released.
We've seen traps, jump pads, and even gigantic elevators in some of the maps you’ve shown [you can see one of them here]. It's a huge change from the linear corridors of modern shooters—so how do you conceive designs like that?
Dave: It's all about old school design with a new school flow. We covered a lot of this in our panel during Quake Con. Our level designers looked at all of the old maps from a top down perspective and said, "Ok, what works and what doesn't work?" "What's iconic and what's forgettable?"
Back in 1995 people didn't design levels with critical pathing and heat mapping, they just made what they thought was fun. We're still doing that, but the levels have been re-imagined with new school design elements so that they will not only appeal to hardcore old school FPS gamers, but also stand up alongside games that this generation of players are used to.
We haven't CoDified ROTT, we've just brought it into the modern FPS era.
Are there plans for the gaming community to modify the game and develop their own content?
Dave: Abso-fucking-lutely. The game will be completely moddable and you'll be able to share those mods via Valve's Steam Workshop. We want people to have fun and go crazy with ROTT just as they did with the original.
Rise of the Triad featured a traditional single-player campaign, but the game always seemed like it could've been made for score attacks. Are there any plans for a score attack mode and a leaderboard for players to challenge each others?
Dave: Yes, in fact that's a key feature of our game.
Everything in the game will give you points – from your level completion time, to killing enemies, to collecting coins and finding secrets – the entire game is built around our scoring system which is based around our worldwide leader board and stat tracking system.
We're very proud of that aspect of the game and hope that it will add tons of replay value to the already lengthy single player experience.
Are any of the old bosses from Rise of the Triad returning?
Dave: All of them have been re-imagined, as have their boss fights. Remember good ol' FPS boss fights? You're toast.
Concerning the game's five protagonists—will they have any special abilities?
Dave: All five members of the HUNT team are back and just as before they have different stats that will cater to different gameplay styles.
For example, Tarradino is an all around well balanced character while Lorelei is a very fast character with less health and Doug is a very slow character with tons of health. If you're a speed run type of player you'll likely choose a faster character like Lorelei, but if you're in it for the blood and gore, you'll probably take a more tank-like character such as Doug.
Is there going to be multiplayer? Better question: What's it going to be like?
Dave: Yes. There will be multiplayer. It will be fast. It will be furious. There will be blood. It plays (surprisingly) a lot like the multiplayer in ROTT 95. Think Quake or UT but more ridiculous in every way.
Do you think modern shooters take themselves too seriously?
Dave: Absolutely. There's nothing wrong with that, but every now and again we need to be slapped upside the head with an Excalibat and have some mindless fun.
How does one become as cool as your CEO? We've seen his pictures.
Lots of swag and twice as much hair gel. Also, chicks dig European accents, so get one of those.
Some of your modes have fun, but peculiar names. What are things like shrooms mode, mercury mode or dog mode?
Shrooms mode is exactly that. It's not a power up, it's a power down. You'll feel like you're having a bad trip, man. Mercury mode (Hermes mode for the Greeks) gives you winged sandals that let you fly. Dog mode is also just that. You transform into a dog that can tear people to shreds. It's a lot like God mode since you're invincible, except completely back asswards, hence the name.
Who would win in a fight, the protagonist shown in your trailers or Duke Nukem?
Taradino Cassatt is a bad ass, but you always bet on Duke.
The shooter market is oversaturated. Where does ROTT fit in, what are you trying to accomplish with it? Do you think people will be receptive to the game, which carries a strong old school design sensibility?
Rise of the Triad fits in because it's an old school PC FPS for old school PC FPS gamers and we're putting it right where they want it, on Steam. However it's also a ridiculously fun, bloody and accessible FPS for newer players. Not only that but it has mod support, mod sharing support, 20+ levels of single player, tons of multiplayer, and it's only $14.99. That should be enough to appeal to old school FPS fans and new school PC gamers alike.
What are we trying to accomplish? The emergence of Interceptor, the resurgence of Apogee and the rebirth of ROTT – a cult classic FPS if there ever was one.