Offseason Chat: Roy Hibbert
Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was flown to Los Angeles Monday as the first athlete to get a first-hand look at the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts videogame that hits stores November 5. While in L.A., Hibbert took a tour of the famed Infinity Ward offices, where the game was created, and also served as Activision's booth correspondent for the developers and media at E3, the world's largest video game exhibition.
HOOP: Heard you got to take a tour of the legendary Infinity Ward offices.
ROY HIBBERT: Yes, I got to see what happens behind the game. I know there's a lot that goes on because of the time it takes for each game to come out. But to go in there and see the people behind the game. I'm putting a face to the level, a face to the game, a face to the weapons. The face of the person that makes the multiplayer costumes of what they wear. Not only is it a great game, but I met the great people who work behind it.
HOOP: What is Infinty Ward like? I've heard so many stories about it. What was it like when you were in that building?
HIBBERT: The first thing you notice is people are riding around on Razor scooters. It's a laid-back atmosphere, but everybody takes their work seriously. I was talking to somebody who was creating a castle wall. It took them four weeks to do this small part. It's very detailed.
HOOP: What level of secrecy did they swear you to, as far as being the first athlete to observe what was in the new game?
HIBBERT: Obviously I can't talk about certain stuff, but I've seen a lot of the game. I saw a lot of game play. A lot of unfinished work. A lot of finished work. So I'm not going to spoil it for anybody.
HOOP: When it comes to the game, what makes it stand out from previous Call of Duty iterations? What did you appreciate about it?
HIBBERT: When you sit down and hear the sound of the next game, you hear a difference. Throw a grenade outside in this game, it sounds different than when you throw it inside. And in previous games, it was just one sound for every grenade. If you threw it in the field or inside of a building, it sounded the same. In Ghosts, when you're outside, you'll hear the echo a lot more, as opposed to inside, which has a shorter burst. When you shoot outside, you're shooting into the air, as opposed to shooting inside. I see the hard work. You learn the texture with the maps and the ground and the water and the light. The eyes adjust when you're looking at something dark and then when you're looking at something bright. Genuinely, you can see it in the game. It takes a split second for the eyes to adjust. I actually like that a lot. They put a lot of detail into it. It's a lot more work for them, but their work is the best.
HOOP: What was it like observing the one-playable character aspect: the main character in the game, his brother and the dog?
HIBBERT: I love the dog. I love German Shepherds. I believe that's what the dog is. I'm rooting for the dog. I got to see some sequences with the dog and the brother. They seemed like a tight-knit group. But I really liked the dog.
HOOP: What did they show you about the dog? Because I've heard interesting things about him.
HIBBERT: I don't want to say anything, except, He's a very valuable member of the team. That's all I'm going to say about the dog.
HOOP: How about the storyline of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The person who wrote it, Stephen Gaghan, is one of my favorite screenwriters, who wrote Traffic and Syriana. Was the storyline cool?
HIBBERT: The storyline is really nice. I really didn't know too much before today. I only saw the trailer. Obviously, I know a lot more now. I'm a huge fan of Syriana. I thought that movie was very deep, complex, with a real, good storyline. I can't wait to play the finished product.
HOOP: How about today when you go to E3, acting as the Activision booth correspondent--what's it going to be like talking to the developers and media?
HIBBERT: To tell you the truth, I'm just going to give my honest opinion. I've played a lot of video games in my 26 years on this Earth. It's great to be associated with the company that strives to be the best in everything. They're on top of their game. Instead of just settling, they want to be better. I'll just give my honest opinion. They're going to be blown away once they're able to see the game and get their hands on it for a minute or two.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
HOOP: You also played a lot of basketball in your 26 years on Earth. What was it like going toe-to-toe in a seven-game battle with LeBron James and the Miami Heat? That was a big moment for you.
HIBBERT: I mean, I stepped up during the playoffs and played as solid as I can. It's unfortunate that we lost, but it was a learning experience and something that I'll get better from. And my teammates will learn from and get better from. Until we start back up again at the end of September, I'm just going to keep working to be better. Just like Call of Duty.
HOOP: You had already established yourself as a star, but what was it like taking your game up to a new level in the playoffs?
HIBBERT: My team needed me to do more than what I've done in the past. Whether it was rebounding, playing defense, or scoring, I think I used my skills properly. Being one year older next year should help out a little bit more as well.
HOOP: I know you've worked out with Tim Duncan in past summers. Has it been the last two summers?
HIBBERT: Not this past summer, but the summer beforehand, we had a couple workouts. We text all during the playoffs and all during the year. I was giving him my thoughts on the Miami Heat. I'm a big fan of his since I was a kid. I told him I met him when I was in ninth grade. He barely remembered it. Going back, it's awhile. It's always nice when you get to rub elbows with people you look up to in the sports field.
HOOP: Can you share with us the information you texted him about the Miami Heat?
HIBBERT: I just gave him a little bit of a scouting report. I'll just leave it at that. He's given me the exact same thing, too. In Game 4, I believe he gave me some pointers and I actually used that as best as possible. He's always been somebody who's been positive and lets me know what he thinks. I always want to be the best, and he's the best at his position. You can always learn from him.
HOOP: So who are you picking in the Finals?
HIBBERT:: I'm going for the Spurs because I know Tim, I know Tiago Splitter. I had dinner with those guys. I've had dinner with Tony Parker. Obviously, if we played head-to-head, I'd be going at them. I don't know anybody on the Miami Heat team. I feel that Miami and San Antonio are both experienced, but the edge right now is my friendship with Tim. So it's the Spurs.
HOOP: Speaking of going at people, you went at Carmelo Anthony pretty good in that Knicks series, captured beautifully with your rejection of Melo at the rim. I've heard you have that picture framed up in your man cave.
HIBBERT: I have no disrespect of Melo. He's a tremendous player. He's from Maryland. He's from Baltimore. But it was a block. I did what I had to do. At the end of the season, a close friend of mine--Jeremiah, who owns a restaurant that I go to all the time--he gave me a framed picture. And then in my exit meeting with the Pacers when I was leaving the arena, they give a framed photo from the season to the players. That happened to be my picture. So I tweeted out that picture thanking Jeremiah and the Pacers, and it seemed like people blew that out of proportion.
HOOP: One last question, I forgot to ask you. What has been your favorite Call of Duty game in the past?
HIBBERT:: I think Call of Duty: World at War. It came out when I was a rookie in the NBA. Or, no, my second year in the NBA. I remember it was Thanksgiving, my fiancee's family came over the house. They were ready to cut the turkey and I couldn't put the game down. That's one game that I'll always remember because I hear them chirping back at me. And I'm like, "I'm almost done. I'm almost done. I gotta shoot down this helicopter real quick." Until I finally paused the game. But, yeah, that's probably the one game I'll always remember.
HOOP: Well, at least this game comes out before Thanksgiving, so that won't happen again.
HIBBERT: Yeah. Yeah.