Interview: Executive Producer Randy Greenback on Friday the 13th: The Game
When the Friday the 13th: The Game Kickstarter project appeared online, loads of fans rushed to back the game and help the team reach the $700,000 goal. The project has created numerous stirs among the series' fans and gaming fans in general. Anticipated to arrive around October 2016, it is being developed by Gun Media. The project's funding period ended Friday 13th of this month -- after 32 days and more than twelve thousand backers, Gun Media has raised more than $800,000 funds.
A game like this has huge expectations and quite a few questions as well about the final outcome. In order to get answers for some of these questions we reached out to Randy Greenback, Executive Producer of Gun Media, to get some inside information about the game and what to expect from it.
Kickstarting the project
On the first day of the project launch on Kickstarter, Friday the 13th: the Game managed to raise over $200,000 and attracted more than 3,000 backers. The project met its goal on November 10, but the game raised $823,704 in total, overshooting the goal by almost 18%, which means some stretch goals were also be met by the developing team. To read more about them, you can visit the Kickstarter project page here.
Friday the 13th: The Game is a third-person survival-horror game where players take on the role of a teen counselor -- or, for the first time ever, Jason Voorhees.
"This is a dream project. It’s an immense responsibility to do this right, for the fans. Every detail must be perfect."-
-Wes Keltner, Co-Creator
The game is an asymmetrical multiplayer, where one player overpowers others. You might remember this mechanic from Evolve, another asymmetric online multiplayer title. Like others of the sort, it will limit the number of players per match.
The game is based on the same plot as the movies, and will have many murders recreated from the series. Aside from recreating fan-favorite scenes, the game will also feature scores of new ways to kill. Feel the rush of excitement yet? Not quite? Here is pre-alpha gameplay footage to pump some hype in you. Go on, take a look, but do remember to come back and finish reading this.
You now know about the game, but what about one of the faces behind it? Here's a brief introduction for Randy Greenback. Randy is a well-known developer with over 21 years of experience -- mostly with AAA titles from companies like Westwood Studios, EA, Red Storm/Ubisoft, & Insomniac Games. Now he's the Executive Producer for Gun Media.
He has worked on huge franchises like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, America’s Army, Ratchet & Clank, Command & Conquer and many more. Most recently, he was the Executive Producer on Breach & Clear: Deadline. He's fascinated with, tinkering with, and pitching designs for asymmetrical multiplayer games since the late 90s. The opportunity to fully realize such a game has now come with Friday the 13th: The Game.
Randy is huge fan of retro games and also a collector. He is the proud owner of a Turbografx-16/PC-Engine. He says:
"The TG-16 just had so many bizarre games that were very unique and it was an underdog in the 16-bit console wars."
His top 5 favorite games are Dune 2, The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Pixel Junk Monsters, and X-Com. Apart from gaming he enjoys raising his 3 children, mentoring others to help them break into the gaming scene, and painting (quality of a gentleman, I think).
A furiously trending topic like this demanded quite a few answers from the development team. And we tried to get some of those for you.
GameSkinny(GS): How and when did the idea for the game sprout?
Randy Greenback (RG): The original idea to make a game like this sprouted a few years ago and turned into Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp. Summer Camp was designed as an homage to Friday the 13th. We wanted to make a Friday the 13th game but didn't (at the time) have the license to do so. We wanted to pay respect to the Friday the 13th series as possible in our game, and hired on Harry Manfredini (composer for the F13 series), Tom Savini (VFX Legend who worked on Part 1 and IV) and Kane Hodder (who played Jason Voorhees in Part 7, 8, 9 & X) for our game. Once we had them involved, we were as legitimate a Friday the 13th experience as you could get without having the license to do it.
We announced the game and it started getting a lot of press, and that attracted the eye of Sean S. Cunningham. Sean was the Director of the first Friday the 13th film and owner of the IP. Once he saw the game we were making, the passion we were putting into the project and who we had already secured, he reached out to us to see if we wanted to use the license. The rest is history.
GS: Controlling a serial-killer is something players are inexperienced with. How does the studio plans to capture the killing style of maybe the biggest, most bad-ass of them all?
RG: We have Kane Hodder on board to help us motion capture the style of movement and the brutal kills for Jason. There is no one better to ensure that we nail the feeling of playing as Jason than Kane.
GS: Jason Voorhees stalks his prey and plans his attack, something you cannot put as default inside a character. Does this mean, how the game turns out depends totally on the players or will some kind of hints and support will be provided to both the murderer and the victims?
RG: Jason can sense fear in the game, and the counselors will need to avoid Jason and manage their fear effectively. Counselors can hide, but over time, if they are alone, in the dark, and Jason gets near to them, then their fear meter will rise. Jason can also find ways to scare counselors so their fear spikes up and then can locate them more easily, one of these ways is to hide bodies that the living counselors can find. Once a counselor stumbles on a dead body, they scream and their fear meter spikes up quick. It makes for quite a scary experience and a fun game of cat and mouse.
GS: A number of Jasons were portrayed in the movie series. Will we see all of those? Should fans expect some new variations?
RG: There will be many fan favorite Jasons from the movies, but Tom Savini will be designing an all new variation for the game. We're excited to be able to contribute to the history of the franchise, and we think that fans will enjoy what Tom is cooking up.
GS: Defending against Jason can be very hard, how will the teenagers be able to survive? Which brings another important question, can Jason be killed?
RG: The teens can hunt the map and search cabins for weapons and items to use against Jason. They don't do much, and the best way to live is to try to escape. Going toe to toe with Jason is definitely not advised. Now, that said, there will be a way to kill Jason, it will be very difficult though. We like to think of it like defeating Mike Tyson in Punch-Out on the NES, just this generations version of that. We hope players that end up being involved in a match where Jason is killed (temporarily of course, he always comes back), will wear it as a badge of honor and a it would be a gaming moment they won't ever forget.
GS: Will the game have a single-player campaign? If yes, will it feature a new story or a recreation of an older story?
RG: We have not committed to a Single Player campaign in the game yet, though it was one of our stretch goals that we didn't reach.
GS: The movie is centered around Camp Crystal Lake, will the game have only one map or more than one? How big will the size be?
RG: There will be multiple maps, but all of them in production are currently set in Camp Crystal Lake and the surrounding areas. The maps are quite large actually and there will be some dynamic procedural elements that change them up a bit each time they are played.
GS: Jason is quite powerful and will have an upper-hand over the teenagers (obviously). Will teamwork be the only weapon available to the survivors? Is escape a possibility?
RG: Jason is definitely over-powered and we wanted that as it drives gameplay and tension. Friday the 13th: The Game isn't actually team-based. Counselors "can" work together, but they can just as easily only try to survive themselves. It's 1vs7 at times, but it can devolve to 1v1v1v1v1v1v1v1 and everyone is out for themselves.
Escape is a possibility as well, and there will be multiple ways to survive by fleeing. We've talked about a few of them, being escape via a car or a boat, but both vehicles will need to be repaired before that can happen. The boat only seats 2 counselors, and the car just 4. There are many ways that matches can resolve, especially when a group are working together to repair a vehicle and then some get left behind when Jason shows up.
GS: Fans of the series would expect some scenes from the movie to be recreated in the game. Will there be such scenes?
RG: We have many kills that Jason can do and these will be the main recreations of moments from the film in the gameplay. We've studied the films and selected all of the fan favorites to get into the game first. We're also letting Tom Savini and Kane Hodder design all new never before seen kills for the game as well.
GS: These questions were all about what the fans expect, but as Executive Producer of the game, what are your expectations?
RG: My expectations are to have the team deliver on all of the promises that we've made to fans & to honor the film franchise that we all know and love. Most importantly we aim to create a fun experience that players can come back to again and again. As you know, Friday the 13th games in the past have never been good, and the NES game didn't even let you play as Jason. This will be the first great Friday the 13th game that lets you play as Jason, and we're excited to have the opportunity to be the team that gets to do this.
We would like to thank Randy Greenback for sparing time for this interview from an extremely busy schedule.
What are your expectations from the game? Comment below!