What The Headcrab! Special: HDTF – Berkan Interview

Following Thursday’s What The Headcrab! Special: Hunt Down The Freeman I was contacted by the game’s director and we organised a video interview.

Berkan makes the announcement that a demo mod WILL be released.

Before you do, I want to address a couple of points.

Firstly, a few people have asked me why I am giving so much attention to the project. I feel that crowd funding of projects like this is a really important topic for our community. This has the potential to allow modders to turn into game creators, which in turn could be great for the Half-Life game community.

Secondly, I plan to make a lot more What The Headcrab! Specials and these happen to be the first few produced. They will be on plenty of different topics but all connected to the Half-Life community, so stay tuned for those.

Thirdly, I have the same reservations, doubts and misgivings about the project as you. Some things I really feel are mistakes and others are just false. But, I feel we should try to be open & curious, and simply ignoring this won’t help future creators.

I want to play Half-Life games within the Half-Life story universe with the same “feel” and design format that we have come to love, but we don’t always get what we want. Clearly, Prospekt made us very wary about promises and presentations but I want to remain positive about such projects.

I hope you enjoy the interview. Thanks for watching.

Watch the Video

What are your thoughts?

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  1. This was an interesting interview and I changed my view on this project a bit.

    I will write a more detailed comment later.

  2. One thing is certain: This will be interesting.

  3. I was very negative about this mod at first, but I realized I wasn’t fair. While I think it’s unrealistic to expect people to be fair to everyone immediately, because there are just so many projects, so many people, so many mods, I also think that I could do at least a little bit more research before judging this project. I realized I haven’t even watched the trailer before this interview, partly because you didn’t show it in your what the headcrab, but it’s not your fault Phillip, I just forgot to watch it.

    Firstly I want to talk about the interview itself and Phillip as the interviewer. I think you did a great job and asked a lot of questions of different types and covered a lot of topics. But I think sometimes you were too harsh. Yes, we all have doubts and are sceptical, but in my opinion it is a bit unfair to be so harsh when you do an interview. Berkan could handle it, even with his broken english, and I respect that, but sometimes the interview almost became an interrogation. At the end of the video though Phillip cleared that up by saying how he wants this project to succeed and such, so it’s fine.

    So here are my final thoughts on the project: First of all they made a huge mistake by starting the crowdfunding campaign without having a demo. If they had a demo at the start, where they will get the most attention, then people would be more open to this project, and if the demo was good, they would be more willing to fund the game. I don’t think that this project will get funded at all for tons of reason. Even if the demo they want to release at the end of the month will be really good, they will have lost all momentum by that time.

    The director of this project, Berkan, is very ambitious and clearly has a vision for his game, and that is something I respect. First I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a dirty cash grab, but now I’m sure that he really just wants to make a good game. Still, even if they get the funding, the chances that they will deliver what the promise is really small, because that’s just the nature of projects of all kinds, especially in the gaming industry.

    Berkan did a good job with the interview, even though his english is not great. I think if he could talk in his first language, he could tell us much much better about his vision. I could see the fire in his eyes, but I think he is too naiv, too unexperienced. He reminds me of me and my brother 5 years ago, or 10 years ago. Still, unlike we, he said “I’m gonna do it”, he started this campaign, talked to people, and is trying to make his dream come true. That’s another thing I respect.

    After this interview and watching the trailer, I actually think that the story COULD be a very interesting take on the Half-Life storyline. The fact that we kill so many soldiers as Gordon Freeman is something that isn’t adressed at all, because this is a FPS. Yes, the explanation is that the soldiers are “bad guys”, but they are still human beings. This is a problem in a lot of FPS games, but rarely they do address that, and if they do, it doesn’t work most of the time. One game which achieved this to a degree was Spec Ops: The Line, but that also has problems.

    What I’m trying to say is that if he wants to pull of this story he’s talking about, he will have to be very clever and subtle about it. From the trailer it looks more like he is going for a “hollywood”-style route, and with that it won’t work in my opinion, but that’s just the trailer anyway. You talked a lot about the cutscenes in this project, too much in my opinion, but at the end it was worth it, because there was a point where he said that the story he wants to tell wouldn’t work without cutscenes, but then later he talks about how gaming is the best storytelling medium because of the interactiveness and such, which is a contradiction to what he said before.

    He talks about himself as a director and game designer, but I don’t think he really understands what good storytelling in video games is. I mean, it’s right in front of his eyes. Half-Life 2. But he said he wants to go a different route. That’s just my opinion though, and I’m still open to whatever he wants to do.

    If I had the money I would give them 10$ (so I get at least a digital copy), just because I got curious.
    I don’t have the money though. Of course I have 10$, but I don’t have so much that I could risk it on a project like this, I never back anything on crowdfunding anyway, because there is way too much risk and only rich people should do it (not millionaires, but people with good income).

    And Berkan if you read this: iyi basarilar 😉

  4. Ok, first of, I didn’t watch entire interview yet. Just like first half.

    For me, he is just an “idea man”.
    There are hundreds people like him out there. Just check Facepunch ^^
    Big ideas, but no real work.
    He had some “projects” that never seen the light of the day. Suspicious? Yes.

    Gabe Newell said once (at least something like this):
    “Don’t try to make perfect game, just release and try make it better later. Then improve, and make more better games”

    He is just saying the same gibberish than Prospect creator did:
    “I will make something great, just believe me”.
    “I always want to make the best.”
    “The game will looks beautiful, superb voice acting.”
    “The game will be diffrent than HL games, so different emotions”

    It doesn’t matter if you are making mod or a game.
    First make content, then ask for money.
    Give us a prof.
    Now we have nothing. Everyone can make ideas. I can create dozens of stories right now, give me money pls.

    Oh yeah, and Richard Seabrook is a perfect person to follow 😉

  5. I think the mod he’s referring to is The Masked Prisoner. At least, that’s the only thing I can think of that fits the description. Still a shame that one was never totally finished.

    Other than that, I can’t add much to what Confused already said above. I don’t think Berkan has malicious intentions, but I think he’s in-over-his-head and very naive. In fact, everything he says just makes me wonder why he doesn’t make a movie. The story, the story, the story – none of it has anything to do with core gameplay. I’m not sure his passion is gameplay. It’s story. And it’s very typical of “ideas men” to grossly overstate the importance and quality of their story, because it’s usually their only actual contribution to the project. That also leads to them being very protective of the story, obsessed with secrets, trust and loyalty.

    You’ll notice that the maps and the gameplay are just taken for granted. He can’t talk about gameplay in any kind of detail. As a case in point, Dolmo posted a video yesterday where he got in touch with a listed contributor, who may or may not be the same that Phillip sources, and said Berkan had approached him out of the blue and asked permission to use his maps – which weren’t even for HL2 – in his project. Even here, he’s soliciting volunteers to join the project with their maps and other concept. Just think about that. Does that sound like a serious project to you? I mean, I guess that’s one way to complete a 30 map project in 5 months, but it’s not something I’d give someone $100,000 to do. Would you?

  6. Just a little note to all the RTSL fans here… and excuse me if I’m out of line…but my intentions are good!

    Phillip has begun to build up his YouTube presence recently as most of you know, but of course the core of his work would always be RTSL.com….

    All you RTSL regulars who posts comments to these posts on RTSL.com it would be great if you could also copy and paste that comment/opinion in the comments section of his videos.

    The comments here are informative by people people who have years experience in HL modding, so your opinion on matters carry far more weight than an average player as you are usually well informed, educated and have years of personal experience in the HL modding world. It would really help if you copied and pasted (shared) the comments you’d make here on RTSL.com on the appropriate YouTube video.

    This will encourage comments and engagement to a much larger audience – which will ultimately help Phillip’s work to grow and reach a larger audience.

    Just something to consider… as a YouTuber myself who focuses mainly on Half-Life I’m well aware of the difference a single person with a well informed contribution to one of my videos can make. So lets help Phillip out! He deserves it. Little things like this make a difference!

    Also, Phillip has decided to do a 6 hour long live stream in a Half-Life themed bikini based costume once he reaches 5,000 subs. He will also act out several key dialog scenes from HL2 on demand for our viewing pleasure. If that doesn’t motivate you then you’re a zombine!

    Thanks for reading 🙂

    1. Link? Or do we just search “RTSL” or what? Not being rude, just asking.

      1. the video in the post. Click the “YouTube” Icon on the lower right to get to the youtube page of that video.

    2. I do hope he is joking about wearing women’s swimming wear.

  7. RobosergTV

    So its been several days since the campaign and only 12$. I sincerely doubt he will get the 100k and release the game later this year. If he at least had the demo, like the System Shock Remaster guys did.

    1. I entirely agree with the demo. They shouldn’t just throw images like this and say “Look! It’s great!”, they need to rely on something “solid” and polished. The System Shock kickstarter did this pretty well (even if that was a bit short), and if I had the money, I would definitly give them some, since I really like the series.

  8. I still haven’t changed my mind after watching the interview. He just can’t keep saying “This will be a great game! I promise!” without showing anything at least a bit “polished”, that doesn’t use placeholders, especially if you’re asking 100k.

    I still think they can improve, get some feedback, work harder, make free content, and then, if it’s successful, they can maybe make a paid Half-Life themed game. It’s not just all bad, but I’ve seen one of the movies Berkan was talking about, and I’m not convinced. I don’t want to criticize his work, but if he still wants to make cutscenes and an engaging story, he needs to improve.

  9. More like “Hunt Down the Money”, if anything this project comes across a lot more sketchy than Prospekt. It’s up to people where they want to spend their spare income, but I certainly do not encourage supporting these kind of “crowdfunding” campaigns. Like others have said, it would be a lot less worse if a demo was already released before they started asking people for their money. Now, I’m no capitalist, but pitching an idea to investors without even having a prototype to show for it, is frankly, a waste of time.

    With all the successful e-begging campaigns though, there are plenty of opportunists out there who are willing to take their chances in attempt to take advantage of the charitable and in a lot of cases, gullible nature of many consumers.

    Fortunately, in this case it seems consumers are not willing to fall for an obvious trap.

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