New Q&A for The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

March 19, 2009

New Q&A for The Chronicles of
Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Atari has released a new Q&A for
their upcoming game The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. In the
Q&A, Starbreeze developers answer questions about the game as well as what
Riddick fans can expect from this new release which hits shelves on April 7th
2009. Questions about why Starbreeze decided to remake Butcher Bay, information
on the Multiplayer, and various gameplay elements including close- quarters
stealth and gunplay will be answered along answers to many other questions. The
developer Q&A can be read in its entirety below.

Riddick Q & A

The highly anticipated release of
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is quickly approaching, with
gamers everywhere getting ready to return to the Riddick universe. We had the
opportunity to ask Starbreeze, the developers of both Assault on Dark Athena and
the original Riddick hit title Butcher Bay (released in 2004), about the game as
well as what Riddick fans can expect from this brand new release.

Q: We understand that you
initially decide to remake Butcher Bay because it wasn’t backwards compatible
with Xbox 360. What made you also decide to add the Dark Athena content?

A: That’s right. We made a
lot of effort to get that game to run on the Xbox 360, but eventually realized
it wasn’t possible. Additionally, the first game was never released on
PlayStation, so there was a large audience that never had the opportunity to
play the game. In the end it became a great excuse to do a remake and even
enhance the quality of Escape from Butcher Bay.

So as we went into development on
Assault on Dark Athena, our immediate goal was that reimagining of Escape from
Butcher Bay for the new consoles. But as we were working on the game we all felt
that it needed to deliver even more for Riddick fans. That eventually led to us
extending the Dark Athena campaign. Assault on Dark Athena is a brand new game,
with 10+ hours of gameplay, new characters, and a new story. The Chronicles of
Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena also includes multiplayer for the first time!

So at this point we’ve poured our
hearts and souls into something that we really hope makes gamers happy, and for
anyone that’s a fan of the Riddick universe, we’re quite sure they’ll enjoy this
return to those adventures.

Q: You mention the Multiplayer.
Can you tell us a little bit more about it? We know that this is the part of the
game that many Riddick fans are excited to check out.

A: We have been working on
the multiplayer throughout the development of the game and we’re hopeful that
gamers get a thrill out of our approach! We are featuring six modes—four classic
modes and two that are completely new, “Pitch Black” and “Butcher Bay Riot.”
“Pitch Black” is a seven player mode, where six players take on the role of
mercs who hunt Riddick. Whoever kills Riddick, gets to be him in the next round.
Riddick has the advantage of being able to see in the dark, while the mercs can
only see what their flashlights spotlight.

Meanwhile, “Butcher Bay Riot” pits
three teams of four against each other: prisoners, mercs, and guards. As a team,
you’re fighting for control of a power cell that you are trying to plant in your
enemy’s base. The winners of this mode score UD credits (currency in the Riddick
universe) that can be used to purchase ammunition or weapons for the next round.

Q: Cool. Is the new game co-op
supported?

A: No. We’ve always talked
about it, but the idea never ends up working out because Riddick is too much of
a loner and we often feel that he’d rather kill that “buddy” than fight
alongside him. We’ll see. Maybe someday it will make sense but for now it would
just feel tacked on.

Q: It seems that it has been
especially important to you to create a game that was one-hundred percent true
to the Riddick character and universe. How did you go about developing a game
that fits with the established Riddick cannon, even while creating a new
storyline?

A: With Vin Diesel involved
in the game, not only committing his voice to the character, but also his
creative ideas to the new campaign, developing a game and storyline that fit
with the Riddick universe as fans know it turns into a really inspiring
collaboration and fun problem to tackle. So for example, in Assault on Dark
Athena we introduce the Ulaks (a set of curved knives) that you’ve seen in The
Chronicles of Riddick movies, but here’s Riddick’s first encounter with this
weapon, and it makes a connection to those films. That’s just one example of the
kind of thing we’re doing all over the place.

Q: Why will gamers who have
already played through the old Butcher Bay want to play through the Escape from
Butcher Bay remake? Is it possible to just play the new Dark Athena campaign
without playing through Butcher Bay?

A: It is possible to jump
straight into Assault on Dark Athena, but we believe that even those who have
played the original game are going to want to play the revamped Escape from
Butcher Bay because the game has been extensively enhanced. Every environment,
texture, animation, sound, and character has been recreated, taking advantage of
new technologies we’ve pioneered for next-gen consoles. It’s actually quite
amazing to see the difference!

Q: You guys are known for
combining various gameplay elements in the campaigns you’ve developed. Butcher
Bay was commended for its awesome mix of close- quarters stealth and gunplay.
How have you incorporated this style of gameplay into the development of Dark
Athena?

A: I’m glad you asked about
that. For Dark Athena we have tried to bring together multiple elements of
gameplay, as we have in the development of our previous games. We have an enemy
in the game called a Ghost Drone. These Drones have their weapons attached to
their arms. When the Drone dies, the player can then pick-up the body and use it
simultaneously as a gun and human shield. This is an example of how we have been
able to combine gunplay and close-quarters stealth.

Q: What about achievements in the
game?

A: The game will have 50
achievements total, 25 for Escape from Butcher Bay and 25 for Assault on Dark
Athena. For Athena, about half of the achievements will be for multiplayer,
ranging from easy to very difficult to get.

Q: Thank you for your time. Is
there anything else you would like to say to Riddick fans?

A: We really feel that
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault of Dark Athena is an amazing game and our best
effort at Starbreeze to date. We certainly hope you enjoy the improved Escape
from Butcher Bay Campaign, exploring the new levels of Assault on Dark Athena,
and of course our new multiplayer. For everybody that loves the Riddick universe
and for everybody that’s experiencing it for the first time – this game is our
love letter to you!