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Q: I heard at E3 and a .plan update about being able to change your character's abilities. Could you go into some detail on this? Do you gain abilities over time like an RPG, or do you start with so many points to add to certain areas of your character?

A: Blood 2 allows a lot of customization of the player's characters, but it is not a role-playing game. Keeping that in mind we decided that you would not gain experience or new abilities throughout the game, at least not moreso than any other shooter. When you start the game you can choose any one of the Chosen's pre-set values, or you can alter attributes about them. This effects four major elements of the character, attributes, weapons, inventory items, and spells. Attributes define all the physical aspects of the character, movement speed, ability to withstand damage, and weapon and magic capabilities. Players can trade points back and forth between different attributes by taking a point away from one field and adding it to another. Once chosen these values remain consistent throughout the game. The weapons field is limited in single player, basically you can choose one weapon from a few starter weapons. In multiplayer you choose your entire arsenal and start the game with your weapons in hand, although with insufficient ammo to use them. Items and spells are gained throughout the single player game, but in multiplayer you also choose these ahead of time.

Q: Since you can change your character's abilities, will there be any difference between the four characters in the game besides their appearance?

A: At this point there isn't truly a difference between the characters other than look. Well, there's also their character dialogue and personal viewpoint on the story. They all have default starting attributes appropriate to them, though. We've thought of giving each character a different skill to make them more individual, but nothing is decided yet.

Q: I know that Jay (shade) Wilson loves his Death Matching, and regards Doom2 as the one the best DM games available (as many people still do), right up there with Blood's insanely fun DM. Does the Blood2 team ever boot up doom2 for some quick 4 player action, and have you found any elements of the Doom2 multiplayer that might show up in Blood2?

A: Practically everyone at Monolith is a hardcore gamer. In any day you could walk through the halls and see Doom 2 running, amung many other classics. The B2 team is really playing a lot of Blood when it comes to shooters, though. I think everyone on the Blood team was inspired by Doom 2, and that reflected in the quality of Blood's multiplayer game. I think Blood is the main inspiration for Blood 2. :)

Q: I saw the bad guys do some cool stuff on the E3 demo, like when I whipped out a big gun, they would run away. What other neat things can we expect to see the AI do in the final version?

A: Eric Kohler, Blood 2 concept artist, did most of the concept work for the creatures, and he's created a really unique cast of baddies with some pretty incredible abilities. Scott Schlegel is working on the AI, and he's created an incredible fuzzy logic system that allows for a large variety of emotional states and reactions. When the fanatic, a militaristic member of the Cabal, gets injured they may activate a pack on their back that injects them with a berserker fluid that will send them into a mindless rage where they can take enormous damage and run straight at the player. After 20 or so seconds the pack on their explodes, turning the crazed fanatic into a suicide attack! The Shikari, an extremely intelligent pack hunter, will attack in groups, is as good in water as out, and can crawl on walls and ceilings. Players can expect a lot of other reactions, like fear, anger, and AI that work intelligently in groups.

Q: Are you working with Gamespy for multiplayer Blood2 support?

A: Yes. The shareware version of gamespy will ship with the game, and will have full support for Blood 2.

Q: Blood2 looked like it was coming along nicely for its October 31 release date, with several computers set up for people to play at E3. The other Monolith game, Shogo: MAD, was not yet in playable form, and is supposed to be released before Blood2. Do you think Blood2 will be shrink-wrapped before Shogo?

A: The only reason Shogo was not playable at E3 was that no one from the Shogo team came to E3. Interactive demos require a lot more maintenance, and without the team it isn't a good idea. :) Several other games that are even closer to release than Shogo had non-interactive demos, like Half-life. But let me assure you that Shogo is VERY playable, VERY awesome, and further along than Blood 2. :)

Q: I was very impressed with the hit detection in Blood2, I shot a guy in the leg, and he grabbed for it in pain. I shot him in the crotch, and he doubled over. Hoping to see the leg grab animation again, I shot him in the leg, but instead his leg came clean off, and he was crawling around on the floor! I was even more shocked when I was told that hit detection was still in its early stages, what more could you add?

A: Brian "Ernie" Waite is our resident 3D artist, and handles the integration of the motion capture for the creatures as well as doing the models. He's been tweaking the hit detection animations so they are sharper and look better. Ernie's planning on adding unique recoils for each different human character as well. Schlegel is also tweaking the limb loss system to make it even better looking, and add things like injured states, so that guys shot in the leg limp, for example. :)

Q: 35 weapons. 35!!! Are you even going to make an attempt at weapon balance?

A: I'll say it right here and right now, Monolith is the king of weapon balance! :) We all play so many games and we'll keep kicking something and kicking something until it is perfect. That's what happened with Blood, and we all think the weapon balance turned out wonderfully. Actually, though, it looks like we are going to have less than 30 weapons after all, mainly because some of the weapons were either redundant or out of place within the context of the game. The weapons we have will be better for it, and there will still be more weapons in Blood 2 than almost any shooter out there! :)

Q: What would you prefer to run Blood2 in, Glide or D3D?

A: Direct X 6 version of D3D. Our initial tests have been very impressive in terms of speed and functionality, and going with D3D makes it much easier to support almost every 3D accelerator on the market. I also like the look the D3D render gives, at least in Lithtech. The Glide version looked washed out, but the D3D version has a lot more contrast.

Q: How would you react to your game being banned (due to violence) in a few southern states? Would you make a toned down version of Blood2, or would you have a feeling of accomplishment?

A: Both! :) I don't think Blood 2 will be banned anywhere in the states, after all, there's no sex in it, and that's what everyone seems to get really upset about. ;) We'll probably make a toned down version, but more to sell through certain outlets and foreign markets. I expect some controversy, but I don't think much of it. The Blood games have lots of gore, but unlike some of the games that advertise gore as a main selling point, Blood 2 is a good game first, and a gorefest second. :)