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OMGeek interviews Christian Allen about Serellan LLC's Crowdsourced Hardcore Tactical Shooter

You may remember the Kickstarter for the hardcore tactical shooter that indie developer Serellan LLC put up shortly after the Double Fine insanity began. We wrote about it back then, too. As an idea, I think it hits all the right buttons -- it's a pitch for a hardcore shooter in an age of "press E to win" FPS experiences. Serellan specifically referenced games like Rainbow Six, Rogue Speak, SWAT, and Ghost Recon as influences. The company's founder, Christian Allen, is an industry vet with similarly hardcore and tactical games under his belt, and the team consists of people from various well-regarded game development studios.

There was one problem, though -- at least to my perception. The Kickstarter didn't share enough information. Possibly because of this, it isn't doing as well as it could have. Christian and company have admitted as much and are ready to update the Kickstarter page to better communicate their vision.

Because OMGeek is exactly the kind of community that stands to benefit from game design such as this, and because these devs truly deserve a chance to bring their dream to life, we conducted a short interview with Christian Allen, hoping to shed a little more light on the project.

OMGeek: What inspired you to propose a game specifically in the CQB tactical shooter genre?

Christian: I feel this genre has been lacking in recent years. We have our big cinematic shooters like Halo or COD, we have our big vehicle battles like Battlefield and ARMA, we have our fast-paced competitive games like CS or TF2.

But I miss those days of slowly creeping down a corridor, intently watching and listening for your adversary...that tango who can drop you with one shot if you make a mistake. That intensity and lethality is what we are trying to bring back.

OMGeek: Your description of the game seems to be a bit general overall. Is this game you're proposing a "CQB tactical shooter toolkit" of sorts -- like there's no predefined setting or campaign, but the tools and scenarios are there?

Christian: Yes, we definitely made a mistake in being too broad with our description of the game, and we aim to rectify that this weekend, with a redone Kickstarter page that answers the questions that people have been asking.

There is a campaign, with a series of scenarios in escalating challenge, and managing your resources over the campaign.

OMGeek: What organizations or agencies will the game feature? We've seen games with Rainbow, and the Ghosts, and real-world groups like the SAS and Delta Force -- the list goes on and on. Did you have anything in mind for this?

Christian: Yes, we plan on focusing on PMC’s (Professional Military Corporations). This allows us to do varying types of missions all across the world, from Hostage Rescue to Elimination missions. PMC’s offer a unique opportunity without the need for elaborate villain-based story justification, or being limited to one region or type of conflict. They also operate in the gray areas of the law, which brings some interesting aspects with it.

OMGeek: The original Rainbow Six is considered as a benchmark of CQB tactical shooters. Aside from the technical improvements in areas like graphics, animation, and sound, what kinds of gameplay improvements over the original Tom Clancy games are you planning to implement?

Christian: AI has advanced light years since the original games, so that is a huge area of improvement. Accessibility (the ability to quickly get into the game, learn the systems, and play) has also come a long way, providing systems to ensure people have fun playing while maintaining realism and challenge.

OMGeek: If you had to give the game a title right now, what would it be?

Christian: Our working title is “TAKEDOWN,” but that will likely not be the final name. We’ve had hundreds of suggestions, and will be weeding through them and doing trademark research.

OMGeek: Thank you for your time!

Project TAKEDOWN has a nice ring to it, don't you agree? Going over Christian's answers made me more excited about this game: creeping around corridors, clearing rooms, breaching fortified positions, and stealthy insertions are all things that we've not done in a long time, barring games where these things are obviously scripted all the way down to the eye movements. All his other answers were intriguing too: PMCs, a campaign with resource management, and widely varied scenarios. I particularly like the mention of improved AI, because that was one of the things I had been meaning to ask about. I thought it was too technical of a question at this stage. Christian brought it back in focus as an essential ingredient in a good tactical shooter.

Be sure to check Serellan's Kickstarter this weekend, because they're doing a "reload" with more concrete material in hopes of making their $200,000 goal. Check this forum link for more information before the new page goes live. Support Serellan if you really want this to happen, guys. We wish them the best of luck!

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