24: The Game Interview

24: The Game Interview

Written by Charles Husemann on 2/22/2006 for

24 is easily one of the more entertaining shows on TV if you like fast paced action, convoluted plots, and Keifer Sutherland's raspy voice.  Now working it’s way through it’s fifth season the show chronicles one day in the life of Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer.  These aren’t your standard go to work, surf the net in your cube for eigh hour kinds of days either, these days Jack saving the US from one terrorist threat or another.  Over the span of five seasons Jack has saved the president, stopped a killer virus from being unleashed, prevented a nuclear missile from hitting LA, and he’s currently at work trying to prevent Russian terrorists from release nerve gas in a major US city. 

Given the success of the show it was only a matter of time before someone turned the show into a video game.  Today we talk with Tim Hall the producer of the game about how the transition from television show to Playstation 2 game.

GamingNexus: Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project?  How long have you been in the gaming industry and why did you get into game development? 

I’m Tim Hall and I am 2K’s producer for 24: The Game.  I’ve been in the gaming industry for 11 years and got into it completely by accident by starting as a tester.  It was so much fun I just never left.


GamingNexus:
Where in the 24 time continuum does the game take place?  Did the fate of certain characters in the current season (season 5) impact development at all? 

Tim Hall: The game takes place between seasons 2 and 3 and, even though we were working closely with the writers, we had no idea about what would/has happened in Season 5.


GamingNexus:
Can you talk a little bit about the plot of the game?  Who does Jack Bauer/CTU have to stop this time? 

Tim Hall: Well just like the show we don’t want to give too much away.  Let’s just say that Jack is going to be having a very busy day in Los Angeles.

 
GamingNexus: The TV series has a very distinct look and feel to it (the clock, split panel graphics, etc), which of these elements did you incorporate into the game? 

Tim Hall: All of those elements appear in the game.  We felt it was essential to give the player a real 24 experience but we also didn’t want to just tack things on so when you have situations that call for the split panel, we worked them into gameplay.  Security cameras appear in the split panel as does important information and updates as to what else is happening in the level.

GamingNexus: The element of time is key to the show (each episode represents one hour of Jack’s life), how did you incorporate that into the game?  Is each hour a level or did you do something different with the concept? 

Tim Hall: We do pit the player against the clock in some of the levels but we didn’t make it as straight forward as 24 levels.  Some missions are long while others are very short.
 

GamingNexus: Where there any moments from the show that you wanted to try to re-create/improve on? 

Tim Hall: Definitely Jack interrogating suspects is something that we wanted in the game. 


GamingNexus:
Besides Jack Bauer, which other characters are in the game?  Will people only be able to play Jack or will you be able to assume other roles in the game as well? 

Tim Hall: Most of the 24 characters from seasons 2 and 3 are present.  You get to play as Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida, Chase Edmunds, Kim Bauer, and Michelle Dessler.  We even give the player some back story on where Chase came from, how Kim started at CTU and others. 


GamingNexus:
Jack interrogating terrorists is an integral part of the show, how are you integrating that into the game play? 

Tim Hall: When interrogating the suspects you have choices of how you can go about the information but you are also under the clock, so if you loose your cool you won’t get the info on time.  The same goes for being too calm so you have to pick and choose your reactions to get the information needed to proceed.

GamingNexus: Speaking of gameplay, what can we expect to be doing in the game? 

Tim Hall: Running and shooting, sniping, driving, interrogating and solving puzzles.


GamingNexus:
Do you have a favorite part of the game?  Is there anything in the game that you are especially proud of? 

Tim Hall:  I’m definitely a fan of the interrogations, but I also really enjoy the decrypting puzzles using the CTU gadgets.

We’d like to thank Tim for taking the time to answer our questions and to Jay for helping to coordinate the interview (and putting up with my lame Jack Bauer facts)

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom.   I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.
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