Greg Hastings' name has adorned the covers of console paintball sims for nearly a decade now, but those who don't closely follow the world of competitive paintball might be surprised to find out that Hastings is a real person - and he couldn't be more excited about his latest project, Greg Hastings Paintball 2.
"This is not only an incredible paintball game," says Hastings. "This is an incredible shooter."
One thing we discovered pretty quickly about Hastings, who demoed his own game at Majesco's E3 meeting room, is that he doesn't have much of a filter when it comes to enthusiasm about his game and the sport that's put him in the title of the only viable paintball franchise in the industry.
Whether nonchalant ("We've got like 60-plus videos in this game, just because we feel like it."), strongly aware of his own credentials ("I am a shooter. I've shot millions and millions of paintballs. Millions."), or making really specific comparisons within a sub-genre that lacks serious competitors ("Four ways to throw a paint grenade! No other shooter can boast that."), Hastings can be counted on for some pretty terrific and entertaining quotes. He'll even spawn heretofore-unheard gaming jargon. When asked whether the split-screen mode supported four players, he responds, "I don't think we have quad-screen." Keep that one in your mind grapes, kids.
Hastings is also particularly enthusiastic about his game's new cover and peripheral vision systems, the latter of which lets you fire in one direction while freely looking to either side to spot attackers. It's actually a pretty innovative addition, but he goes the extra mile to share his feelings about the system. "This is the best shooting game I've ever played," he says. "When I play all the big, expensive games, I get a rash. Because I'm in a tunnel; I can't see to my left, I can't see to my right." To cap off the segment, he performs a cover-based action that lets him trick an opponent and then says (presumably to the fallen foe), "How about them apples?" Brilliant.
We couldn't resist poking a little fun at some of Hastings' colorful quotes and very strong feelings towards his own project, but in all seriousness, he seems like a fantastic ambassador for his sport, and someone who is very keyed in on delivering a first-person shooting experience that even kids can enjoy (due to an "Everyone 10+" rating). He also strikes us as someone with the amazing ability to simultaneously toe the company line and say exactly what he's thinking - a rare feat at an industry event where producers give hundreds of identical demos lifted from sterile fact sheets.
And while the game certainly looks the part of a budget release, Greg Hastings Paintball 2 should be a rather robust offering for paintball fans, with loads of weapons, 62 real-world courses, 20-player online battles, and of course, the aforementioned split-screen mode (that's two players, folks). We’re told you'll also find more than 1,100 playable characters, comprised of professional players, amateurs, and just regular folks Hastings encountered at paintball matches around the world – but we obviously didn’t count them all, so don’t hold us to that one.
With that many characters, Hastings is clearly willing to share the spotlight – just not with Activision. The mega-publisher released the first three Greg Hastings games, but apparently came to creative differences with the star athlete. "I had to fire Activision for doing such a poor job," he says, but the story is much richer than that one-liner. "Activision tried to steal my franchise," he reveals. "Within 24 hours of me shipping my PlayStation 2 game, Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball Max'd, they sent me a letter and they said, 'We feel you've abandoned your franchise, and we're going to commence making games called Greg Hastings Paintball without Greg Hastings.’”
Luckily, the story has a happy ending, and Hastings is pleased as punch to be with Majesco for Greg Hastings Paintball 2. "They made us spend a whole pile of money and we won unanimously in court," he explains. "A billion-dollar company tried to steal my identity, and I was able to fight and regain my identity. That's why I'm on cloud nine; I fought the giant and I'm a success story against Activision."
Aug 4, 2010