November 03, 2015

Destruction Is Good - A Chat With Just Cause 3 Game Director Roland Lesterlin

PAX Australia has grown in leaps and bounds over its three years, this year saw the arrival of many new publishers, one of them was Bandai Namco Australia. Their attendance brought Dark Souls 3 to the public, but as the local partners of Square Enix, they also had Just Cause 3 on show as well. But that was not all, Just Cause 3 Game Director Roland Lesterlin was also on hand to speak at some panels and with members of the press, I was lucky enough to have the chance to chat with Roland, so check it out.

Maxi-Geek: How did it feel taking the reins of Just Cause?

Roland Lesterlin: When the co-founders of the studio call and ask you to direct a new JC game, your first reaction is yes and then a little later, what did I get myself into. Daunting, but then you go and get a team of people that are smarter than you and it feels less so, but still exciting.

MG: How do you plan to keep players on track with the story, the main story was never something I finished in the last game?

Roland: The story is there as a means to tell the story of Rico, whose parents were killed when the dictator rose to power in Medici and that same night he fled the country and ran into Sheldon and was recruited into the agency, so after two successful attempts at taking down dictators in JC1 and JC2, he has returned home to remove the one he knows best. The people he meets will also help him, but they knew Rico as a teen, before he became the person we know, so there is this oh when this person was 12 they did this, so that is who they are, not looking at what they do now.

MG: In Just Cause 2, the grapple and parachute were introduced, which meant people could really get around in a fun way. Here the system has been overhauled, making it even easier so I have to ask, why still include vehicles?

Roland: Cars still offer up options for people, you might spend a lot of time grappling around the island, but then think, you know I want to drive a car for a while. Some people may not be able to do the grapple travel all that well, so cars work for them. But of course, if you want, you can use any car or motorbike to turn into an explosive, which allows you to cause havoc, should you fit more explosives to the car, you can get even more crazy with things.

We are also lucky that we have people on the team who have worked on racing series like Need for Speed in the past, so control of the vehicles feels really well done. But it is not just cars, there are also bikes, tanks, trucks and of course the airborne range as well. It is really about giving players the choice to get around however they want.

MG: Unlimited explosives, who thought of that? Was someone sitting in a room on their own or was it a group decision?

Roland: There was a conversation and the point came up that what if I have a gun that has no ammo, how am I meant to blow something up, so we went about well what if we gave players explosives. In Just Cause 2 it was a lot more of instant explosion when you threw them, but now it’s more timed, you need to plant the explosives before they explode. So you will need to balance when you use them as if you are taking fire from enemies, you might fall before you get a chance to plant the explosives where you want.

You will start off with only three, but as you complete challenges, you will get 4 and 5 and so on. So we are rewarding players who want to explore more of the island, those who don’t will still get a good amount of explosives and you can actually chain them together, so if you space them out enough, you can cause some serious destruction.

MG: How do you go about taking a world as large as the one for Just Cause 3 and providing a lot of things to do?

Roland: There is a lot of things to do, the first area where you start the game is a very decently populated space, lots of military patrols, big buildings and such, so you will find tasks similar to what you might find in a large city. However, when you move away from that you will come to an area that has open fields and room to play around with. This is where people are more likely to get around to exploring how to navigate the world with the grapple and parachute, but there are also many hidden things to find as the area is filled with caves and rivers and other things for you to explore.

There is also an area that is full of military with a very large wall around it, to stop people getting in, but if you do then you can have access to lots of military vehicles. While some players may not make it to this area for some time, you can within the first 20 minutes of the game can head right to this militarized area and try to get their hands on the big toys, like tanks and fighter jets. The size of the world is large because when you get into aircraft you can cover a lot of ground, even more so when you get into things like the fighter jets and such.

MG: Any change of a Just Cause Australia?

Roland: Well, this is my first time here and I really love it, the people are so great, there is a lot of different country around.

MG: And 9 of the 10 deadliest snakes in the world too..

Roland: Yeah, so many beautiful things here, that can also kill you, so you never know, it could inspire something in the future.

MG: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me

Roland: No, thank you, it was my pleasure.

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