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An Interview With the Head of Project Hate Machine
Since the first threads in January this year, I’ve been following the 4chan developed brawler known as Project Hate Machine. Project Hate Machine features anthropomorphic 4chan boards fighting their way across a physical representation of the internet. Believe it or not, what I’ve seen and read of the game looks like there’s more to it than just ‘le 4chan culture, am I right?’. I managed to catch up with the supervisor, Sif, for an interview on the upcoming title.
Leviathyn: Where did this game’s concept come from?
Sif: The idea in itself came from the relationship between websites and how do we perceive it. The personification of boards and website alike have always been a fun entertaining way to represent the relationship these virtual entities have. Since these websites too are torn apart by rivalries and what not, a beat em up game was the next logical step for us.
Considering the subject matter of some characters and stages, how are you planning to get this game on a marketplace?
Well, the focus of the game has always been “this is going to be a free-to-play” game. Naturally, we don’t think this game could be approved in Steam’s Greenlight, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.
In the FAQ section of the google doc, it’s mentioned that the enemies will be websites that are against the whole idea, so to speak, of 4chan. Care to elaborate?
4chan users are always paranoid about external influx. Normally they blame quality of posts on sites like Reddit and Tumblr. At the same time, whenever an influx of negativity strikes these other websites it is blamed on 4chan as a whole. We wanted to play a bit with this concept by turning the websites into rival gangs, like in the movie “The Warriors.”
In terms of suggested ideas, how many ideas in the current version are from site feedback vs ideas within the team?
We accepted way more ideas way back when the project was just starting. We wanted to give this project an identity, so at first we considered many of these concepts, like the concept of performing combined special moves. Now we are at the point in which people are suggesting things we had already planned to include, so that tells me we’re on the right track and that they can be confident they’ll see exactly what they wanted to see in this game.
How was the voice casting process?
Matt, our voice director, has been pretty strict about it. We both have more or less the same ideas on how each board and website should sound like based on their features and personalities. Of course there has been a bunch of people willing to try and audition, however Matt has made sure that only the right voice is picked from all those who audition. He also makes sure those who audition NEVER do so on a Headset Microphone, that hurts their possibility to be heard.
Will every board have a cross-board special?
A good number of them will. The cross board specials represent things that both boards share in common. Some boards are so wildly different from each other it becomes hard to draw a bond between each other, while some boards are so universal on the material they discuss they get a load of these bonds.
Some characters have more attacks than others. Will they have the same amount of moves when the game released?
We’re striving for characters to have more or less the same number of movements. In the final product the difference of movements between characters won’t be bigger than 1 or 2 movements from each other. The game will be a beat em up, with pretty traditional beat em up movements, so movements like dive kicks and suck will be universal for all characters.
What do you of think all the positive feedback that the game has gotten, even from /v/?
It’s a nice surprise. Even when this project has been a lot on the quiet side, it always surprises us when we see mention of it in other boards, in other websites, some have even heard about it in real life, coming from the mouth of some person. We appreciate that and, while it’s not something we necessarily need for finishing this project, it definitively motivates us further to complete it.