Senior Multiplayer Designer
Aug. 2012 // Starhawk Multiplayer
Origin is the first map we developed in the new swamp-themed Cypress environment, released in August 2012 with Starhawk 1.03. Where Starhawk's original levels focused on rift mining and the conflict between Rifter and Outcast, the Cypress theme centers on abandoned and overgrown facilities where research teams first discovered the potential of harnessing rift energy.
Cypress terrain was constructed much like our Sever levels, with a sheet of World Machine terrain broken up into individual islands. This time I was very conscious of the terrain scale issues from before, and focused on laying out much smaller islands to assemble these layouts. The smaller scale helped keep the level's size in check (Origin is closest in size to Outlands), and helped create entertaining routes through the ankle-deep water filling the low-lying areas of the level. Origin also features denser and more chaotic rift placements in Zones, hosting six rifts in a relatively small space.
The Cypress theme is also something of a reaction to player complaints about a lack of cover in the original ten maps. The Extractor prototype and a couple nearby overlooks provide actual interior-ish space for troops to hide from vehicles, while the massive tree roots help create additional pockets of on-foot gameplay and on a larger scale frame some of the intended vehicle routes in the absence of proper "roads." Even the towering tree canopy does its part, shielding areas of the ground from Hawks while Hawks themselves benefit from weaving between the trees and through their branches.
© Sony Computer Entertainment America