Bone-Idle Interview, Dan Gorlin and Brian Fargo (Choplifter HD)

Retro Gamers may remember Choplifter, a side scrolling helicopter rescue game that made appearances on many different platforms including the Atari, Apple 2, Master System etc.

In the run up to the brand new next gen version Choplifter HD, Bone-idle got a chance to ask the original creator Dan Gorlin and inXile president Brian Fargo some questions.

Bone-idle : Hi Dan thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Very excited to see Choplifter getting a remake, how much involvement have you had in the remake?

Dan: my role in Choplifter HD development is as design consultant and iconic ancient legendary old guy. I was able to spend some intensive time with the team fairly early in the design cycle and share my ideas and concerns, which was a lot of fun for me. I will probably do more of the same during final gameplay tuning. Also I think the inXile guys are just the kind of people who want to pay their respects to the original designers, so I’m there to appreciate the attention 🙂

Bone-idle : For our readers who maybe too young to remember the original Choplifter can you give them a very quick overview of what Choplifter was all about and what’s in store for Choplifter HD?

Dan: Choplifter was and is a game about rescuing hostages from behind enemy lines. The player flies a helicopter and encounters hostile enemies of various sorts. The goal is to rescue as many people as possible, and this gets harder as the enemy gets more aggressive because hostages can be killed. In the original Choplifter, there were 64 hostages and if anyone died, that was one less off your possible high score. It was easy to rescue a few hostages, nearly impossible to get all 64 back alive.

Bone-idle :Looking at the trailer for Choplifter HD the look of the game has changed dramatically but essentially the game itself is still very recognisable for fans of the original Choplifter, so rather than asking you what has changed as , what elements have remained from the original game?

Brian: The most basic element is that it is still a side scrolling game which means you can pick up the controls and play it instantly. Games like Angry Birds prove that you don’t have to be 3D to be fun. And the other elements are that the biggest game focus falls on keeping the little guys alive while you try and rescue them and that the helicopter is at its most vulnerable when it is on the ground. The missions are mainly set up to get in and get out while getting as many rescuees to safety as possible.

Bone-idle : It’s one of my earliest memories of a viable 3D gaming world and although the helicopter was side scrolling I seem to remember the enemy tanks would attack you from the front. Was it important to stay true to that original 2D side scrolling within a 3D world concept even though free roaming 3D worlds are quite common place nowadays?

Dan: It did turn out to be important, but I’ll let the design team answer this. Fun fact: even the original Choplifter was intended to be a free-roaming 3D game, but ended up being a side-scroller with 3D elements because it was more fun.

Brian: For me it was quite important. In fact I had seen a demo of a helicopter game at a tradeshow where you were flying into the environment in 3D and it just seemed to be lacking the right vibe. I think the graphics in our game are looking superb so I’m really pleased with where it is all going.

Bone-idle : A little about the new game itself, can you talk about the helicopter featured in the game and its weaponry arsenal, as it is a rescue helicopter rather than an attack helicopter such as an Apache?

Dan: The player actually has 3 different helicopters each with different flying characteristic, a machine gun and missiles. The helicopters vary in speed, rescue capacity, machine gun damage, missile capacity, armor and fuel capacity

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