AusGamers Danger Closer Medal of Honor: Warfighter Developer Interview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 09:12am 14/03/12 | Comments
AusGamers caught up with Danger Close's Rich Farrelly at this year's GDC to talk about their next entry in the Medal of Honor series, Warfighter. Read on or watch for what he had to say...
Watch the full video interview embedded above, or click here for a direct link.
AusGamers: Hey guys, welcome back to AusGamers. You are sitting here with Stephen Farrelly. I have a long lost brother with me right now, Rich Farrelly [ed: no relation], who actually works out at Danger Close studios. You guys might remember I spoke to him a little while ago at a Tokyo Games Show, but if you don’t: what we are here for is an event in San Francisco to celebrate Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
Rich, it’s the new game that you guys have coming out; obviously a sequel to the  revamp of the Medal of Honor series which is obviously a very, very popular series.
I have a really tough question to start out with though. I’ll get into the nitty gritty of what you guys showed, but it was a really bold jump for the Medal of Honor series to go from World War II, World War II, World War II, to modern conflict and now all of a sudden it seems like everybody is modern conflict. Are you guys worried about a fatigue there at all?
Richard Farrelly: No, I think there’s plenty of stories to tell and for us it’s not so much about a particular conflict or a particular point in history, it’s more about the tone and out of respect for the soldiers -- telling the soldier’s stories from the soldier’s point of view -- and that transcends all time periods in my mind.
AusGamers: Do you feel that that’s what you guys have up your sleeves against any of the competition? Even including... and you might not want to say this, but even including the camp that you exist within, the DICE guys and stuff. You have this rich... I mean, we spoke to the guys talking earlier on and this is pulled right from the pages of a book that they [real world soldiers] were writing when they were frustrated with what was going on.
Richard: I think this is what defines Medal of Honor as a franchise is that it’s really about the personal stories about the guys on the ground, devoid of any politics or anything. It’s... this is what real guys feel, this is what real guys do when they’re deployed. And we’re so fortunate to have access to so many of these guys to get so many different points of view of some of the things they’ve gone through.
All these things that you read about in the newspapers... when we created our game story, we wanted to create a dotted-line to all these things, so that you could really get an authentic sense of where the current fight is going. Because it doesn’t have any borders now, it’s not “oh, we’re fighting in Afghanistan”, there is a global network of people that want to do harm.
And that’s what these Tier 1 guys do, is they go and they try to track down the source of -- in this case, the source of -- a really deadly explosive called P.E.T.N. and they go wherever they need to go and do whatever they need to do to stop this from hurting other people.
AusGamers: For you guys was it a case of... did you have these guys already on board when you were thinking about the second iteration of the revamped Medal of Honor, or was it happy-go-lucky, just sitting there thinking “ok, what should we do?” and then all of a sudden everyone’s like “you know what? We’ve got this amazing contact and lets go there”? Because it seems like it is a proper sequel.
Richard: Well, we already had talked to Kevin [military scriptwriter with no disclosed surname] -- who you met earlier -- previously on the last game and we knew his story, so we knew we wanted to make that game next. So we started figuring out how to re-seed that by developing our characters and trying to pull that into the story and really make it feel like it was all one piece.
AusGamers: That seems to be the aim that you guys are pushing, because the demo that we saw looked amazing. Before we go any further, what were we watching that running on? Was that PC or was that on console?
Richard: That was on PC, on the Frostbite 2 engine.
AusGamers: Ok. So where I want to go now is: for you guys, what’s the process -- in terms of getting this across the line... because, sort of going back to my first question: there’s a lot of this stuff out there and it’s really dense. And you guys have this really driven story -- it seems heavily scripted, but maybe for the better, because you have this really rich story to tell.
Can you kind of talk to me about the concept of corridor shooter versus open... well not open world, but the larger battlefield -- which is what DICE normally handle quite well. Where are you guys in the mix of all of that?
Richard: So for us -- obviously, like you mentioned -- we’re going for telling a story, so we kind of have to direct the player through a certain path in the level, but what we do always try to do is: during the combat portions, create areas where there’s going to be plenty of player agency to choose what tactics they want to employ to take down that particular fight.
In the demo you saw, there was a pretty vast kind of atrium with multiple paths you could take: up, down, left or centre; different staircases you could take up -- there are multiple ways to take down that fight, just as there will be in the rest of the game.
And then you noticed when you got to the door.
AusGamers: The options.
Richard: Yeah. So one thing we’re doing now is that we created a door-breaching mechanic whereby... and from talking with these guys: going through a door is a big deal. You don’t know what’s on the other side of that door, so you check “is it locked? Ok, well then how are we going to get through it?”. And they have couple of methods that they use and there are multiple things that they do even after they get the door open.
So we’re giving players that choice, to be able to say “ok, how am I going to to breach into this room” and then “what’s going to happen on the other side of that room based on what I just did?”.
AusGamers: I know you can’t really talk about it, but the one thing that you guys seem to be really pushing in a subtle way is that this is Danger Close all the way, which means -- I assume -- that DICE aren’t handling multiplayer [like the first game], you guys are.
Is there anything that you can tell me about the multiplayer component? Will there be a multiplayer component? Co-op and that sort of thing?
Richard: We are doing a multiplayer component and we are doing it in-house. We’re really happy about that, it just gives us a chance to make the product feel like one singular vision.
We’re really excited because we’re doing something a little different with the game. Medal of Honor has traditionally been an American-centric storyline. But talking to the guys, they were always telling us about all these different units that they’ve worked with around the world and how they’re every bit as good as they are and they have a lot of respect for them.
So we thought, what better way to honor these guys than to create a multiplayer game that basically highlights 12 different units of the top of the top of all the militarys of the world -- from 10 different nations -- in a multiplayer game.
And we’re highlighting some pretty heavy-hitter groups like the SAS from the UK, SASR from Australia, the GROM from Poland to name a few, KSK from Germany. And one other thing that I can talk about is that we have a blue on blue playlist that we’re doing which again, after talking to our consultants, there always talking about improving themselves and measuring themselves up against the next guy and how it makes them better operators.
So we thought “ok, why not have a kind of blue on blue header”, SEALs versus Delta versus SAS, who’s better? Well let’s find out. Put ‘em in the ring and let ‘em duke it out.
AusGamers: What’s the differentiator for you guys there, in terms of what will make each unit different to the other? Is it just a national thing? Essentially, you’re kind of choosing... if you’re an Australian, you’re choosing the SASR from Australia or is there actually going to be tactical differences between them?
Richard: Well I can answer part of that question and that part is that you can choose the nation that you can play and that’s part of the allure, but we’re not talking much about multiplayer beyond that -- we’ve gotta save something for E3.
AusGamers: Ok, well I think we have to wrap it up pretty quickly, but I do want to end on: I thought I heard an Australian voice at the end of that demo in one of the boats. And because the demo was set in the Philippines -- which is quite close to Australia -- and there’s the revelation that you’ll be able to play multiplayer as SAS Australia. Are we going to have any Australian moments in the single-player game at all?
Richard: Umm, No comment [laughs]. Sorry dude. Just what you saw today is what I’m allowed to talk to you about.
AusGamers: Actually, one final question -- final, final, question guys: I spoke to a couple of the other EA teams about building with Frostbite. Have you guys had any trouble dealing with it? Because it seemed like it was a bit of a heady engine to get yourself around.
Richard: Well it’s a new engine. I mean, Battlefield 3 was developed on it -- was developed while they were shipping it -- and we’re switching from another engine onto it, so there’s always going to be challenges. I think we’re at a point now where we’ve gotten past those and obviously the result is pretty breathtaking.
AusGamers: So that’s it? So basically, it’s “no problems; game looks great; I’ll see you in October” [laughs].
Richard: You will see us on October 23rd 2012 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
AusGamers: Alright, well I really do hope there’s some Australian stuff in there, because we’re such an integral secret part of most military campaigns and most of us know that but we just haven’t slid into the videogame realm yet. So you’ve got until October. Even if we’re not in there now, you should walk away from this interview and think “we really should put some Australians in there”.
Richard: I’ll bear that in mind.
AusGamers: Alright. You guys heard it here. Thank you very much Rich. Again, the game looks really, really, promising. Thank you.