Entrevista a Jon Hare – O homem do SWS a ser mais Social

AVISO – Tal como na entrevista a Rihanna Pratchett escolhemos manter a entrevista no seu original. Quem quiser pode ler a mesma traduzida aqui.

Sensible Soccer was a breakthrough in its “era”… times are different now…what was the biggest challenge doing Sociable Soccer?

The biggest challenge is to create a product that satisfies both the existing fanbase of players who enjoyed Sensible Soccer and a younger generation of gamers who have grown up on FIFA and PES only

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One of the most remarkable things in Sensible Soccer was very intuitive, I for instance, have broken a lot of joysticks playing in Commodore Amiga…Will we have the same passion playing this one?

Sociable Soccer is every bit as intuitive to play, we have recently had that confirmed by former Sensible Soccer World Champion, Simon Byron. The speed and fluidity are just the same as Sensible Soccer but this time the game is in in 3D in Unity with 360 degree controls… our aim is to build from the base of the controls, camera and speed and make the game more accessible to all from the inside out… now we have it fine tuned the gameplay will not be compromised at any point.

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You’re developing in Unity and into a 3D, didn’t you feel that working in 3D the essence of Sensible Soccer may perish?    

Absolutely not, the playable demo of the game already proves that. I am working with an amazing team with a host of 3D hits behind them. We have managed to lock the camera, then build and animate the 3D models in such a way that the gameplay is not affected negatively in any way by the 3D, the only difference is a major graphical improvement. With Sensible Soccer 1998 we tried 3D at Sensible, it was our only 3D game and we were terrible at it because we did not have the 3D programing experience in the office at the time. Sensible Soccer 2006 was done via Codemasters with Kuju Sheffield, it was nowhere near perfect but in general much better, however I did not have so much control over all decisions.. In my opinion the game had 3 things I was not happy with (i) the default camera angle, (ii) the big heads on the players, (iii) the bit where the goalkeepers suck the ball to their hands, which was a quick fix for a crash bug… I recently read a comprehensive review of the series and it stated that 2006 was very close to getting it right but it was rushed at the end.

With Sociable Soccer we are first focusing just on gameplay, this is the beauty of working in Unity, the heavy lifting is done by the engine so as a designer the focus can all be on the game part… this has enabled us to get a brilliantly playing well tuned game of football within 2 months…. Because it is in 3D it also enables us to attract a whole army of new fans, who would not necessarily take a 2D game that seriously. It also means the character of players in the scenes outside of the game can be maximized.

I’ve seen some footage that you’ve shared and I thought instantly that the gameplay is very similar to Sensible Soccer. You’ve managed to maintain the essence of the gameplay intact?

Yep we have pretty much nailed the gameplay style. It is hard to explain “feel” with pictures and words but it definitely feels familiar to those who have played it.

One of things I’ve managed to see is that the ball has some kind of “shade” when it’s moving from one player to another. Why so?

This game is not Sensible Soccer, it is Sociable Soccer and it has its own graphical style, right now we are experimenting with things like this.

And the cameras? Will it be more than one? The upside down classic style and a more FIFA style side camera?

Yes there will be a number of cameras… of course the classic overhead camera but also pitchside cameras etc, this is another advantage of the game being in 3D.

Talking about game modes, Sensible World of Soccer had a career mode, will it present in this one? What game modes will it have and how many leagues and national teams?

Sociable Soccer will have a lot of Game modes: for single player and local multiplayer (up to 8 players, 2 at a time, against each other) we will have friendlies, 30 preset competitions like the English league, Spanish cup and world cup and DIY competitions for players to design for themselves… We also have a series of online leagues where players can play for their favourite club or country against the fans of other clubs and countries, these competitions will be running all the time. Players will also have a 3D player avatar of themselves who will play in an online clan like “Death Metal Fans” or “Biology Students”, if players play well for their club or country their player avatar will get called up to play in the squad alongside their real life football heroes…. There will be about 400 club teams, 200 national teams and a whole bunch of custom teams and fantasy clans too

So will it have custom teams as well? Would it be possible to edit the teams, badges, shirts and other stuff like PES?

Yes everything will be editable and yes we will include custom teams

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Will it have an online mode of some sort? Play against our friends or doing a cup or tournament online in co-op? Or like, back in the day, it’s more local multi player with a box of Twix’s?

As stated before it will have both local and online multiplayer, the teams will be divided up into divisions of around 50 teams each, so for example if you support Liverpool and your team is in club league C when you are online you will be able to play against any fan of the 49 other clubs in your league who is also online… you can play as many games as you want.. the leagues are decided by average points per match… and every week 10 teams will be promoted or relegated… occasionally very good players will be invited to play special tournaments representing their club, clan or country too

Calling this game Sociable Soccer the game will have a great component of Sociable stuff? Representing a clan? Playing with our clan’s, representing your team and so on?

It is sociable on many levels, local multiplayer is the most sociable way to play games, then there are the online leagues playing with fans of your own club or country and then there are the fantasy clans too.

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So how many people are working with you on this game and who are they?

The team will grow bigger and bigger as we go on, the core team is myself and 4 guys a team in Helsinki, Finland called Combo Breaker, by name they are Sami Vanhatalo, Jouni Mannonen, Sami Arola and Amar Djouad, between them they have made some very great games including Max Payne, Minigore and Walking Dead, we are also working with a whole other bunch of programers, artists, coders, testers and researchers to bring this game to life.

And why Kickstarter? Why not trying to do a new Sensible Soccer with Codemasters. Was it the same problem that Cannon Fodder?

I do not own Sensible Soccer anymore and haven’t for 16 years. Codemasters can do what they like with it, same as Cannon Fodder, I have no control over their decisions. We chose kickstarter because it seemed like the right thing to do, having now recently ended it early I feel more comfortable back in familiar territory talking with publishers.. we ended the kickstarter early because it did not make enough money in the first few days.

One thing it is important to remember is that Sociable Soccer is a new game for modern machines that can be played in a way that is very similar to Sensible Soccer

Being the great songwriter for the song that still resembles in my head, ‘Goalscoringsuperstarhero’… that song has to be in the game right?! How was it thinking and doing the score and the sounds for this game?

Thank you.. yes we have remixed the song for Sociable Soccer, actually Sami Arola, who remixed it, is a hit music producer in Finland and it sounds great… sounds will try to give the atmosphere of a football game.. lots of layers to the sound effects crowd, chants, kicks, grunts, whistles etc

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Hoping that Sociable Soccer gathers the funds to be “live”, are there other projects that you’re working on or the focus is just this one and the multiplayer stuff? 

90% of my focus is currently on this project but there are always other little things still alive in the background

You’re working for some platforms, not just for the PC right?! How will it be on consoles? The controls and bring it to a console?

Yes PC, PS4 and Xbox One. We will map it like this…

Xbox controller: 360 running Directions (and aftertouch like SWOS)

A Button: Pass/long kick (like SWOS)

B Button: Powered Kick (like FIFA/PES)

X Button: Shoot (like FIFA/PES)

And possible other controls similar to FIFA/PES too (as long as they do not break the gameplay)

Thank Jon and looking foward the game. 

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