Eurogamer: Do you think there's a concern that the way you've presented Haze might not appeal to American gamers because it's not the flag-waving, heroic sort of indulgence they enjoy?
David Doak: Certainly there's no intention to alienate anyone with this. Yes, traditionally the American - particularly the mid-west - wants to play a game that wears its heart on its sleeve, and off we go. But the world is not that naive a place really, and I think that also we've indulged a bit of caricature there too when we say 'oh well, all Americans do this,' because they don't, and it's... well, look at recent events, look at American opinion about the Iraq war. It's changed considerably. Really, this isn't supposed to be any kind of satire or parody of events; it's trying to say, 'let's make a game about a soldier, as opposed to a game about a war'. And 'let's make a game that is a character-driven story'. All the other things are just like a bigger backdrop to it.
Eurogamer: It is quite good timing in that sense though, because as you say things are changing in America and really you're tapping into the zeitgeist.
David Doak: Yeah. It would be nice to catch that wave [laughs]. Maybe I'm a bit idealistic about this, but I like the idea of trying to do something new, and again that was sort of the thing with Second Sight - to try and actually pretend we're not telling stories the way that they used to be told in 18th century novels; the kind of... 'and this is how we tell a story' because if you try and do it in a more complicated way people get lost.
Eurogamer: Changing tack, is your obsession with shooter games because you're based in Nottingham? I mean, er...
David Doak: Someone asked me the other day while we were here, about whether or not the fact that I grew up in Belfast made me obsessed with shooters. Yeah - I grew up in Belfast and things calmed down there so I thought I'd move to Nottingham [laughs]. It wasn't lively enough and that's where the action was! I disapprove of guns. I've never fired a real gun and I've absolutely no desire to fire a gun or have anyone near me firing a real gun. It's funny, because the worst case of the kind of censors who vilify games all the time, what do they think we do? Go home and sit in the dark and field-strip AK-47s? No! We're normal people just trying to make entertainment.
Eurogamer: There's rumours that Halo 3 is going to have four-player co-op. Are you relishing the prospect of your kind of co-op going up against theirs?
David Doak: [Smiling] I am very happy to go up against Halo 3. They have a different agenda. We're doing something, we're bringing a lot of new things; and it's a new story. New story and new types of gameplay is our edge there. I mean, their edge is they have a juggernaut driving them along and they have an almost fanatical following. On the flipside of that, they have too change it, and they've got all the people who liked 1 and all the people who liked 2, and both those sets of people expect different things from the one that they liked. So there's an inevitable compromise there.
Eurogamer: Rob Yescombe was talking about how it's 15 hours, there's no loading screens and so on. I'm curious about the pacing. Have you got things like puzzles in there to break things up, or is it fairly non-stop?
David Doak: The pacing is punctuated by things like dropship pick-ups and stuff that take you somewhere else, and then there are talky bits, so that's where we do a lot of the plot development and the character development. What you're doing is not always just going gung-ho, smashing some rebels in the jungle. There are times when you are being pressed by overwhelming numbers, there are times when you have a distinct thing like some escort stuff to do; there are even times when you don't have a gun.
Eurogamer: But you said you wouldn't take the guns away and make it into a cake-decorating game.
David Doak: [Laughs] Alright, there's a lengthy sequence where they take your gun away and give you a piping thing to ice your cake... [Returning to normal] It's a funny thing. Someone said to me earlier, 'where do you think first-person shooters will go in the future?' And I think not having a gun or not using a gun is a very interesting place to be. It's horrible because you just have this thing. Everyone's going, 'how do you break down the walls of this box that you've so happily constructed around yourself?' I can see a time when we'll be doing more interesting things. In fact, even Second Sight... Second Sight was at one point going to be first-person. Maybe if someone could give us lots of money we could make a sequel in first-person!
Read more about Haze in our recent preview, or watch David Doak talk about it on Eurogamer TV. The game's due out on PS3 later this year, with other games likely to follow. Interview by Tom Bramwell and Johnny Minkley.