About Haze

If you read my earlier post about the Games Convention in Leipzig, you may have noticed I wasn’t impressed by Haze, the first-person shooter developed by Free Radical and published by Ubisoft. There was a pretty big Haze booth at the convention, but all I could see was that this was a shooter, and there was a big Corporation fighting against rebels. Yawnnn….

It turns out there is something about Haze I like. Even though it pains me to have to link to Kotaku, their preview explains it more clearly than any other I could find:

About 30 percent through the game you start to realize that the Nectar that gives you these powers also warps your perception. When you shoot people they don’t bleed. When those people die their bodies disappear. Sound familiar? It should, the devs said the game is as much a indictment of video game violence as it is real world violence.

There is a scene, when your nectar flow is cut off that you suddenly see the world for what it really easy [sic]. Where once there was a sunny environment free of death and carnage, you now face a rainy world with dead bodies. Soon after your character switches sides and becomes a rebel.

Distorted perceptions? Multiple views on reality? Using the formal elements of games to make social comments? I love all of those. And it’s integrated into gameplay in a clever way:

You can also play dead. This works because as a soldier you are used to dead bodies disappearing. What happens in the game is that when you are close to death you can press the L2 button and go into a feigned death, disappearing from the soldier’s view. A few seconds later you pop back to life and you can take them out.

So, Haze might be interesting after all.

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  1. From The Plush Apocalypse » Blog Archive » War. Huh, what *is* it good for? on 22 Sep 2007 at 22:16

    […] Jurie Horneman describes it in more detail from Leipzig: People’s bodies disappear after you kill them per normal shooters, but not because they actually disappear – it’s the drug the government is shooting you full of to keep fighting (and then people can play dead to fuck with you). Using cheesy video game mechanics to make a point about how we ignore violence and many other aspects of the war while at the same time making fun of those game mechanics? Sign me up! (Even if it means – gah – buying a PS3). […]