According to the developers of the mechtastic Hawken, cockpit view is the only way to go when it comes to robot battles.
“Pilot view makes for a more intense experience,” technical lead Jon Kreuzer told IGN.
“Players feel more connected to the battle when they’re trapped inside a hunk of steel and sparks fly and monitors flicker and shutdown.”
Art director Khang Le agreed. “There is a sort of immersion and claustrophobia you can only get from being in a cockpit,” he said.
“We want the player to see their cockpit with all the complicated screens, switches and dials. To see them scramble when hit by an EMP, to see them spark and smoke when damaged. To make you really feel like you’re driving a 7 meter walking tank on the verge of breaking down.”
The first-person view also lends itself to Hawken’s FPS-like gameplay, and differentiates it from arcade-style third-person mech games.
Striking a balance between fun and realistic, slow mech movements has been difficult for the team.
“We wanted to keep the sense of weight to the mechs,” Le explained. “Our mechs walk and turn speed are actually quite slow.
“To compensate for that, we have the anime-like side-dash and a 180 degree instant-turn …
“The jetpack is very fun when you play. It creates a lot of vertical gameplay moments … It’s a difficult thing to juggle between heavy and weighty animations for the mechs while keeping the control responsive.”
Le cited a number of inspirations for Hawken’s post-apocalyptic, ‘Earth-like’ world and ‘Frankensteined’ mechs, including Blade Runner, Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, and even Shadow of the Colossus.
Indie mech combat game Hawken is causing a bit of an Internet lovefest, to the delight of its creator Adhesive Games. It’s expected to release on PC, the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, although a date has not been set. Check out the first trailer and early gameplay footage.