Hardy LeBel
Game Designer
Age: 32
Born in: Japan
Favourite Manga/Anime: Evangelion
Music: Led Zeppelin, Rap

Harry: Because there are two level/game designers, one can assume this is a big job. Do you split up the work or each concentrate on one thing?

Hardy:: What Chris and I have been doing a lot is stepping in and giving ideas. We've been doing stuff from the beginning, even code.

Harry: What is your main aim in designing the levels in Oni?

Hardy:: Oni, from my perspective, has two primary focuses in gameplay which are hand-to-hand combat and shooting. And so when I sit down to conceptulise these environments I try to take full advantage of the characters so that you can use as much shooting and hand-to-hand combat as possible.

Harry: Looking at mission types, we may see various tasks (e.g. assassination or catching crooks), right?

Hardy:: Yeah, our scripting is very powerful, and right now, generated from the storyline which was put together by the team, there are a variety of mission types for example pursuit, collection style missions, firefights etc. Right now me and Chris are figuring out what we can and can't do. We're going through a series of experiments to see what we can pull off in an elegant way.

Harry: A lot of games, Half-Life for example, have a training level. Will Oni have something like that?

Hardy:: Yeah,I think that's planned, but how are going to execute it I don't know. There's been discussion about doing a virtual dojo - Matrix style. But there is definitly discussion about a training mode because she does a lot of moves.

Harry: I've asked Chris this, but I want a different perspective: how will level changes happen, through cutscenes or Quake 2 style?

Hardy:: Oni will be very cinematic, right now the in-game cutscenes blend seamlessly into the action which is what Steve [Abeyta] is pulling off in a really good way. The intros and outros are in-game movies while the action inbetween depends on you. The transition from movie to action should be seamless.

Harry: Can you determine how a cutscene will be through your actions while playing?

Hardy:: It's been discussed, I don't know if it will be implemented, it's always a question of time. The more branching you have the more time is need for assembling and also playtesting.

Harry: How is the replay value of Oni?

Hardy:: We're not giving a lot away, there'll be a lot of secrets. But with Konoko you'll have to unlock her special moves whilst you are fighting.

Harry: How will Konoko's health be displayed?

Hardy:: The final HUD has not been determined yet.

Harry: How will she regain health? By picking up medikits?

Hardy:: Pick-ups aren't determined either. We're discussing these things and how much inventory management we want to put in.

Harry: Will you be able to flip a switch to control lights?

Hardy:: Well, there's a lot of dynamic lighting in the levels, in a sense that you go into a place and the lights are turned on or off, there will be dynamic light to make changes to the environment. We'll see if the engine can support it. Stuff like this gets kicked out fairly early because special effects can bog down a computer.

Harry: How will you be saving?

Hardy:: Right now there have been discussions about a limited number of save slots, so even if it will be true to the typical PC paradigm of saving anywhere you want it will be limited. But it's not decided how you will save.