This is how I introduced the player to Halfquake Amen, and, after several years, I wanted to do something different. So, I asked my cousin if she wanted to play the player's guide throughout all of Halfquake Sunrise, replacing my friend and me.
At various other parts throughout the rest of the game, she would interfere and tell you to kick yourself, insult you, offer you a deal, ask for feedback, read you fanmail, belittle your achievements, confuse you, or close a door and shut you in while telling you she'd be right back.
But it all felt underwhelming. Here I was, making another Halfquake part without my friends and me making fun of the player. That wasn't right. (There was already the idea for random accidents, but those would happen later in the game.) I scrapped that idea, and started writing actual introductions that would play right at the beginning.
I thought it should start with "rise and shine, victim", since, you know, it was called "Sunrise", and because Halfquake has its roots in Half-Life, it also paid homage to G-Man's introduction.
Here are three old versions:
Rise and shine, victim! Step through the door and look forward to having one hell of a day! We've removed all of the weapons this time, because we're tired of seeing you kill yourself repeatedly. There are funnier ways to die, actually. Besides - I think you've noticed by now that we prefer to see you suffer. And since we're kind of generous we've made it a lot easier for you to do so.
Rise and shine, victim. It is your turn to entertain us now. - You know how to entertain us, right? Right. (laugh) I mean, it's kind of obvious, isn't it? A faceless voice talking to you through darkness - that's not exactly the environment you'd expect happiness from. To tell you the truth - you are here to suffer. That might sound bad to you, but it is actually quite an honorable deed! I strongly believe that life *is* suffering. You have to suffer to stay alive. Whenever something is created, built, crafted - it is done so with suffering. And today you suffer for us, for the audience that is watching your every step. Let us thrive on your blood, your screams of agony, your cries for help. Entertain us.
Rise and shine, victim! It is your turn to entertain us! How, you ask? Well - suffering, of course. Oh, and here's a little spoiler: You will not survive. Your death is the climax of this program. Now, why should you even move forward? You might as well just stay here and kill yourself, right? Here's what I say - you might as well just give us one hell of a show! *applause*
And the final version:
Rise and shine, victim! It is your turn to entertain us! How, you ask? Well - by suffering, of course. Oh, and here is a little spoiler: You will not survive. Your death is the climax of this program. Now, you're probably thinking that it's kind of pointless for you to move on. And you know what? You're right.
I remember practicing these lines over and over, even while driving to work. I recorded it dozens of times, because I was scared I'd never get it right and in turn not live up to HQA's intro. The very first intro for the ancient version of Sunrise had been a failure in my eyes, and I wanted to rectify that. I remember sitting there, adjusting pronunciations and even re-arranging words up until the very last recording. I became super nervous while recording, only because I knew some people would expect an introduction similar to Halfquake Amen. One take lasted for more than an hour of me repeating the intro. And I recorded it several times over a time span of six months (got the first idea on August 16th 2009, final implementation happened on February 22nd 2010).
In short, doing that intro was... a strange experience.
I put some of my cousin's speech samples and Vino's call-in messages into the Victim's Inbox, instead of interrupting the flow of the game every now and then. The inbox was optional and the player could choose to sit around and listen or move on; I always thought the interruptions and forced waiting times in HQA were a little awkward (except for Patience, of course).
Maybe that's the reason I can't create Halfquake 4. That intro would probably kill me.