Question Time: Your Chance To Interview Volition's Sean Kennedy

Question Time is where YOU get to interview some of the games industry’s leading figures. This week, we put the associate producer of Red Faction: Guerrilla, Volition's Sean Kennedy in the spotlight. What would you ask him?

Here’s how Question Time works: you come up with the questions and a games industry luminary will answer them. Every Wednesday we’ll have a new interviewee for you and a new batch of answers.

Today, it’s the turn of Sean Kennedy from Volition. I asked Sean for a bio and this is what he sent me:

Born and raised on the beach in Southern California, Sean got his start in the industry in 2000 at Electronic Arts San Diego as an Assistant Producer, while in college working towards a career in politics and law. Needless to say a career in gaming won. After the closure of EASD, Sean went on to work for both Sammy Studios and Rockstar San Diego before making his big move to Champaign, IL for Volition. Sean is excited to serve as an Associate Producer on Red Faction: Guerrilla. Some of Sean’s previous titles include: Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Triple Play Baseball, and other EA Sports/EA.com titles; Seven Samuari 20XX, Spy Fiction, and Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. In his free time he likes to hang out with friends, go to movies, play games, kayak, and travel.

sean-kennedy-mugshotThis is Sean. (He also sent me a mugshot.) We had the pleasure of hanging out when he visited Sydney last year on a press tour for Red Faction: Guerrilla. He's a funny dude. Ask him about Red Faction. Or Mars. Or Saints Row. Or what it's like being an associate producer. Or working at Volition. Or ostrich hammers. Or, indeed, ask him whatever the heck you want.

Post your question for Sean in the comments below. I’ll choose the best ones for Sean to answer next week. You’ve got until the end of the day to get your questions in.


Comments

    What inspired you to pursue a career in video game development? Bonus points for using world domination or chicks in your answer.

    Hey Sean! I want to know why you made Normal difficulty so hard in Red Faction Guerrilla? It's way more fun to play on Casual and smack dudes with the hammer.

    Do we get to ask two questions?

    Any thoughts of a sequel being made, or other games using the same engine?

    When playing Red Faction: Guerrilla, the mission that most stuck out to me was the one where you kidnap and interrogate the EDF commander. It made me realise "Man, we really are the terrorists." Were there any mixed views on this mission during development? Did you question the inclusion of it in the game? Were any big changes made to the mission before you settled on it?

      Ask as many as you want. I'll be sending the best ones to Sean to answer.

    Sean, first of all I just wanna say how much I love Red Faction, it's heaps of fun! My question is about how Volition makes open world games like Saints Row and Red Faction and how you go about doing that differently to stuff like GTA. What's the most important part of an open world game to get right? Is it the freedom, all the activities, the vehicles, the missions?

    Great game, bringing freedom to Mars was awesome!

    What's the likelyhood we will see some DLC for this title?

    The destruction aspect of RFG is amazing, it's so far ahead of anything I've seen in other games. How much of a challenge was it for your programmers to come up with the tech for it? And how did it also challenge your designers to build gameplay when they don't know if the player's going to destroy an entire building?

      Good question, tomnookisdead!

    Might ask one myself if no one minds...

    Sean, as part of a promotion for RFG, THQ recently asked Australians to name the biggest eye sore in the country. The Gold Coast won. What are the chances of allowing us to actually take a space hammer to the Gold Coast thanks to a future DLC pack?

    Can you give me some tips for playing online? I really suck. Whats your fave backpack and weapon combination?

    Will we ever see a new Summoner game from Volition? I'd love to see what you guys could do with an action RPG on 360 and PS3!

    Hi Sean,

    I'm looking to get into game development - I'm studying design right now. I wanted to ask you, since you have worked on a wide variety of games in different genres, how do you maintain enthusiasm for a project if it's not something you're personally interested in playing?

    I really want to make games, but I don't know if I could work on something I'm not interested in, like a sports game or a racing sim.

    How does Volition compare to the other companies you've worked for, like EA and Rockstar? Is EA just a corporate machine and is Rockstar just full of wankers?

    the destruction element to RFG made the way i approached the missions completely different to any other games i have played.

    with proof the technology works, although built up with a lot of effort. how long do you think till this level of deformable terrain makes its way into mainstream games in a similar way that physics have since seeped in since half life 2?

    for example could we see this level of destruction by saints row 4?

    I suppose I've got a couple of related questions...

    There are a lot of design choices that almost seem to 'limit' the limitless fun that can with the destruction in the game. For example, buildings that don't (normally) respawn, an extremely limited number of singularity bombs (that you couldn't save for later), and almost no walker spawns outside of missions at all. Why were these choices made?

    I assume at least some of these decisions were made to keep the player underpowered to emphasise the guerrilla aspect, but what about the endgame, like in Saints Row 2, where you have access to virtually everything? Will we see Heavy Walkers littering the landscape in DLC?

    When developing Red Faction: Guerrilla, the game obviously takes advantage of the brilliant destruction the engine allows for. In fact, all of the missions revolve around bringing stuff down or blowing shit up in some way. Were there other key features that you would have liked to include to broaden the mission variety in Red Faction: Guerrilla, or additional methods of destroying stuff that you weren't able to include, and what were some of the best?

    What were some of the limits the team imposed on themselves in order to ensure each element of the game was polished, rather than include a swathe of elements half-finished?

    So uh, let's say if one was in the process of refinancing a mortgage, selling vital bodily organs and using their unsalvaged remains as a object of sexual slavery - who would one sign the cheques out to to get Freespace 3 greenlit?

    Or would you prefer PayPal?

    Any chance of there being a Red Faction: Guerrilla 2 sometime in the future ?.

    Why oh why wasn't Red Faction: Guerrilla online co-op

    Trent

    If I was to ask really nicely, would you and your team develop a new Freespace game? Pretty please.

      I'm less inclined than Arach to sell my organs for the chance at said bestest space flight simulator ever, but I could probably appropriate a few if you wished.

    May I ask, are you currently in production of a new Saint's Row game? Or is all of that just rumor?

    I also desperately want to know what is up with Freespace 3?

    - How many of the original Freespace staff still work at Volition? (ie: could a Freespace be done without losing the original flavor).

    - Does Volition own the IP? Are there any plans? Do people even talk about it in meetings? Would they sell it to someone else? What's the biggest hindrance to it becoming a reality?

    What gets me is that Freespace 2 won so many awards and didn't sell strongly, and yet the company said many times it was a fault of not being properly advertised.

    So why don't they do one on the assumption it's going to be advertised properly? Argh!

    (I've gone through single player campaigns in 1 and 2 at least a dozen times each over the past decade. Silent Threat just once because it was crap).

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