BeyondUnreal Interview - Glen Dahlgren, Project Director, Legend Entertainment
Unreal II: The Awakening Post-Release Follow-UpGlen Dahlgren BU: Do you feel that the finished game does justice to the expectations you and your team had for it during the development period?Glen Dahlgren: That's a difficult question to answer. The design changed significantly during development due to technology concerns, schedule considerations, and simple design maturation-but this isn't an uncommon story. A development team is rarely entirely happy with the final product; there are always things we would want to add. That said, the final game delivers a compelling experience, albeit a little different from where we started.BU: What are you most happy with in the finished product? What would you have wanted added or improved upon?Glen: I think we succeeded admirably on a lot of fronts. Unreal II indisputably pushes the graphics envelope. The game also delivers significantly more character development than you'd traditionally find in a FPS. And we packed in a fair amount of game play variety, including the highly praised defend missions. On the flip side, I found the loss of multiplayer to be particularly significant. I'm hoping we can revisit that aspect of the game at some point, in some form.BU: Do you feel the storyline gets enough attention in U2:TA?Glen: The story was originally designed to provide as much mission variety as possible, allowing the player to visit lots of alien worlds in the search for the artifacts. Character interaction between those missions reveals that the player is adventuring alongside real people with real histories, relationships, and opinions-although all of that exposition is optional. And the plot wraps up in a controversial ending (I won't reveal it here) that some fans absolutely adored and others railed against, but was an important comment on the story's theme. For an FPS, Unreal 2's story definitely takes some risks.BU: What feedback have you gotten already from the gaming community on U2:TA?Glen: There's no question that people love the graphics. Our art/level design teams deserve a ton of praise. Of course, with those cutting edge visuals come steep system requirements and some people have reacted to those. U2's AI has received a lot of great comments; enemy intelligence and behavior is pretty advanced, especially when given orders and within the defend missions. The weapon variety has been lauded as well, especially the flamethrower.In contrast, people have found the game to be on the short side. I'm glad that players enjoyed Unreal 2 enough that they wanted more, although I suspect that this is as much of a comment on the lack of multiplayer as the size of the single-player experience. Many SP-only games have received the same criticism, and maybe in today's market, that's fair. Once the SP game is over, it's over, and that's not a feeling that any MP game ever delivers.BU: Will Legend be providing patches to keep the engine current as with Unreal Tournament 2003?Glen: We will be providing a patch shortly that addresses a few established concerns and anything that emerged from public feedback. Future patches will depend upon need.BU: Are there any plans to offer bonus levels/missions or documentation on Golem and/or the particle system in U2:TA?Glen: We're gathering material and documentation together for modders right now. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the talented community of content creators can do with the tools we've provided. I'm also hoping to create some kind of avenue to get these guys some real attention and recognition for outstanding work. Check back with me to see how that goes.BU: Thanks, Glen, for taking the time to answer our questions.