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Eurogamer Expo Sessions: Maxx Kaufman presents Hunted

inXile's game director on forging all those demons.

Full disclosure: we're not sure why we brought up Jason Statham in this interview, but we're leaving it in. This is to take nothing away from the lovely Maxx Kaufman, game director on Hunted: The Demon's Forge, and another of our delightful speakers during the developer sessions at this year's Eurogamer Expo.

Kaufman and his colleague Matt Findley are in town to show you why Hunted - a co-operative, third-person action-adventure in a dark fantasy world - is worth taking notice of. Ahead of their session, we caught up on the phone to find out what's on show, what you can play at the Expo, and, well, you'll see.

Eurogamer Thank you for coming to the Eurogamer Expo. Europe is also very pleased to welcome you. Based on your experience so far, which is the best bit of Europe?
Maxx Kaufman

Well, I love the UK of course.

Eurogamer That's a good answer, but let's say you had to do a top five list of countries.
Maxx Kaufman

Oh, top five? You know, I've only been to the UK, France, Germany, Prague...

Eurogamer That's a city.
Maxx Kaufman

Prague's a city in the Czech Republic, yes.

Eurogamer That's fine. They're all territories in which Eurogamer has a presence, so they're all good choices. So for the benefit of Expo fans who maybe haven't seen Hunted: The Demon's Forge before, what's it all about?
Maxx Kaufman

It's a story of addiction and sacrifice. It's this deep, twisted story about these two characters and their adventure. It's a co-op adventure so it's about the two characters and their differences, but it's Elara and Caddoc - she's the hunter with the bow, he's the swordsman with the big sword - and they're thrust into this situation where they find this world is totally twisted and perverted and it's unlike any other fantasy story I think ever. It's really dark, but fun and exciting at the same time. It's something that opens up to you and is revealed as you play the game.

Eurogamer So it's a tale of addiction and sacrifice. Is it a personal story for you, or maybe for Matt Findley [inXile president, also heading to the Expo]?
Maxx Kaufman

Haha. It has some threads that ring true! For the most part it just skates around our lives and is not an exact representation of me and Matt.

Although I guess Matt is a bit of a Caddoc character, rumbling around the world beating people up with a massive sword. And he has a fabulous accent. The parallels are uncanny.

It is true, and I'm more the off-the-wall kind of crazy one who jumps into situations and gets in trouble - and he's kind of the one saving me, so I guess it is very true. It's all about us! This game is about Matt and Maxx!

Hunted but never out-gunned.
Eurogamer So what are you going to be showing in your session?
Maxx Kaufman

We're going to be showing a demo that we put together. This is the first time we've shown it in Europe. We're really excited to show it to the public because we have not had that many people see it - it was really mostly media.

Eurogamer It's a section of the game I've seen where you start off with Caddoc and Elara, and Seraphine has sent them into the town of Dyfed and they discover the town is in a bit of a state. Then they head down in pursuit of a creature they've seen ripping someone's heart out.
Maxx Kaufman

Right. It's really the best representation of all the best elements of the game, and it shows off the depth. The game is not just combat, or it's not just this, so it really explains the game and the different pieces of the game. It shows that the game is not an RPG - it's built on this third-person shooter cover-based idea. It's the first fantasy game that's cover-based. We think that that's huge. It shows the co-op, it shows the different abilities of the characters. Then if you think about from a shooter stance - if you think of third-person shooter type games - having such diversity in the two characters is not typical. The whole game is built on that co-op adventure of the two characters, and a good example of it is some enemies the range character will be totally stifled by, and the melee character's going to have to step in, and it goes both ways. Another thing we did is that at close range the bow will do a lot of damage, which sounds great for Elara, right? But think about Caddoc - Caddoc goes up and starts charging ranged enemies, once he gets close he's going to have to be careful, because they do a multiplier on their damage. So the whole game is built around systems like that and ideas like that.