Modification information summary:
Freedom for Mars – The Story of The Red Planet (the full title of this unofficial mission pack for Chaser) is the episodic modification of my own production. It’s a package of several independent addons connected by the story, which will be unregularly released for download. The aim of this modification is to extend the game step by step with new missions and to compensate the fact that the official sequel/prequel is still not in sight. At the end these packages would bring a lot of hours of fun and remarkable experience. And what should you expect in particular?
The story of these episodic modification brings you to Mars before the original game events take place. You will play the role of fearless John Chaser, at that time one of many rebels fighting for the Red Planet independence against ever growing oppression of Marscorp. Individual epizodes will partially reveal events which happened before the plot of the original game and maybe they explain some unanswered questions.
Maybe you wonder why I have chosen to create episodical modification. The reason is simple, due to my leisure-time limitations to start large project doesn’t make sense because it would be impossible to complete it in a reasonable time. This is the reason why I have decided to release individual missions separately in small packages – episodes. In case there will be minimal players’ interest in project only the first episode will be created. But I believe to create a lot more at the end.
It’s clear to me that majority consider Chaser outdated and production of new content obsolete. But it should be noted that for many players (including me) Chaser became one of the best games ever played. For some it’s the same legend as for others Half-Life is. No wonder that for many of us Chaser is emotional affair and we play it over and over again even nowadays. Thanks to this fact the Chaser community is still alive and this modification is aimed at it at the first place.
From visual point of view my aim is to create mod as close as possible to original game in order new locations being consistent to the rest of the game. So don’t expect dynamic graphical changes. I’m aware of graphic of original being rather outdated but I’m not able to change anything. Besides, the former design has its charm and I want to preserve it in the mod. Therefore I want to concentrate on detailed locations developement, atmosphere and entertaining gameplay.
In this mod there will be several features not seen in any fan mod for Chaser yet, for example proper movie-like animations or absolutely new way of storytelling. You may look forward to revisiting some locations of former game seen only in animations so far. Especially rebel hideout from Chaser’s flashbacks. You will set out from there on your missions and I can assure there will be more but I won’t to spoil the surprise.
It’s a pitty that Chaser somewhat sink into oblivion when released. Nevertheless I hope that thanks to this modification and its epizodes I will be able to draw your attention to this briliant game once more. And maybe some of you will create additional content to expand the story. Despite the fact that the game is graphically outdated I believe that the story and gameplay has still a lot to offer. This is the reason which boosts my effort.
Detailed information about actual state of individual episodes follows as well as story scheme including screenshots (from mod and its developement alike).
Episode 1 - The Base
Introduction episode "The Base" will lead you in the very beginning of rebel movement. That time commander Castor, respected professor and liberty movement founder, decided under growing tension to start the more radical way of resistance. This is the way the first mission starts. It will throw you into mercilles struggle between rebels and ruling Marscorp consortium. Your task will be the destruction of one of the most important structures which supports Samuel Longwood, ambitious busnessman and Marscorp CEO, in his dishonest intentions. Nothing will be as easy as it looks and mission success will be entirely dependent on your ability to acomplish all the goals.
Due to the fact that there is a lot of questions about Freedom for Mars I decided to gather them at one place. I hope that these answers help you to better understand the aim of this mission addon and what new things it will bring. In case you’re interested in anything else don’t hesitate to contact me via this e-mail. I will answer as soon as possible.
When will be Freedom for Mars released?
It’s one of the most frequent and pressing questions of my fans but it’s still hard to answer it. With addition of the new content I frequently get new ideas and that makes the project bigger and more complex. Not mentioning the fact that I have less and less free time. Right now the whole first episode is still „work-in-progress“ and there are a lot of aspects still being developed. Have in mind that leveldesign and gameplay (the most difficult parts of development) are still done on my own. However I daringly hope that I will be able to finish the development this year.
How long will Freedom for Mars modification be?
As a whole I think long enough. If everything goes according to plan the length would be close to the original campaign. The aim of the first episode is to offer at least three hours of gameplay. But it obviously depends on playstyle. Somebody will make a run for it, others will search every corner and secret place (yes, the secret places will be included), so it’s pretty individual. But I believe that the briefness of the first episode will be compensated by rich content and precise enviroment, which I treasure most.
How many episodes are planned?
It’s difficult to answer that right now. It all depends on amount of my free time, players’ feedback and next episode interest. I have big plans and materials for two or three episodes are already gathered. Their development would be shorter because I decided to use my former project (elaborated and later cencelled) Military Complex. It would be a pity not to use so much content already created. The most important right now is to finish the first episode. I regret that it’s development is longer than I anticipated and I feel sorry for others who wait for it for a long time.
Will there be any cutscenes?
Of course there will be some. It’s one of the most important ways how to get as close to original as possible. The possibilities are limited because I use only animations from the original game. So it’s still not clear how long and how often they will take place. There will be definitelly short scenes before and after each level or some mid-level cutscenes and they ought to be more worked out compared to ones already done in various fan made Chaser projects.
What will storytelling look like? Will there be any new dubbing?
There are two possibilities and I’m still not decided yet. The first one is full scale voice-over which provides better game experience. But it’s pretty difficult and also with other complications. It’s not possible to use the voices of former actors, the only possibility are fan made Czech voice-overs. But what about other sounds like enemies’ battle cry or similar? It would be necessary to dub everything or else the mod would appeal very disparately. And other players than Czech would be forced to play with subtitles.
The second (and more possible) option is to tell the story by texts, documents to be found in various places in levels and so on. From time to time it would be possible to use some audio from original Chaser. But this approach is quite limited and this way cutscenes would play only minor role. And as I have said these are only the ideas, main priority remains finishing the locations and gameplay.
Will there be any technical or graphical improvements?
Any technical change, engine improvements or added graphical effects is regrettably not possible. Source code is not available and there is virtually nobody who would be able to do that. I’m not a programmer so it’s beyond my abilities. And personally I think that game’s graphic has still it’s charm so I would like to stick to it in the future. The new locations will be more detailed and various compared to old once, of course. But it’s all I can promise right now.
Any new textures or sounds?
Yes, quite a big amount. However I still use vast texture and sound database from original Chaser so don’t expect any high resolution textures. It’s necessary to keep the texture quality on the same level in order the whole project appeal as a compact one. I don’t want to say that I won’t use only my own high resolution textures in latter episodes. But I don’t plan it right now.
Will there be any known or completelly new characters?
It depends. Obviously (thanks to the story) we will meet some of the old buddies like Jay, commander Castor and maybe the very Samuel Longwood. There will be also some new supporting characters. To add whole new person is beyond my abilities, nevertheless there are lots of side characters in the original game so it’s possible to give them new roles.
What about new weapons?
Unfortunatelly, no. To create and animate new weapon model is quite difficult process and beyond my abilities and it’s still not possible to add it into the game. The same applies for any new models created in external graphic software. Chaser is quite an old game and despite the effort of creators from Cauldron the original converter (which exports 3D Studio Max models into format used in Chaser) is lost. And it’s impossible without it. It’s a pity, I planned to use some static models at least.
The story is limited to Mars only or is it possible to travel somewhere else?
I don’t want to spoil a lot, but it won’t be a spoiler to tell you that the story is not limited to Mars. The first episode takes place on Mars but later player will also visit Earth and several other interesting places. It depends solely on the interest in Chaser after so many years. I hope that despite the age of the game it will be possible to earn trust of lots of fans who will motivate me in my effort during the next episodes‘ development.