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Brink Interview Transcript
Post by Dan @ 11:53am 19/06/09 | Comments
At the 2009 E3 Expo. AusGamers caught up with Splash Damage Creative Director Richard Ham for a chat about the freshly announced Brink, the new first person shooter from the guys that brough us Enemy Teritory: Quake Wars.

For the video footage of this interview, hit this link and for our full-detailed writeup of Brink's E3 2009 presentation check out our in-depth preview.

AusGamers: We’re sitting here with Richard Ham, Creative director over at splash damage. Richard, we have a couple of questions we’re hoping that you can help us out with.

Richard Ham: Hit me

AusGamers: We know you weren’t there when the team worked on Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, but they had a dedicated server system and we’re wondering whether or not that will be the case for the PC version for this? Or will it follow the console model?

Richard: That is an excellent question and I am not very well suited to answer that. Obviously I can say from a console point of view we are going with the peer to peer out of necessity. Whether or not we'reoing to be having dedicated servers for PC is something we’re still working out. Specifically with Bethesda as obviously it incurs a big cost for them. I can diffidently tell you we’d like to, but in the process of actually making sure we have a really fantastic console experience, we are confident we'd able to bring that, as more a peer to peer to the PC, if that’s the direction it goes. I don’t think anybody is really going to suffer for it.

Ed: Update: Splash Damage have since confirmed that Brink will definitely have a traditional client/server setup for PC

AG: The class system for Enemy Territory Quake wars was obviously aliens vs humans but there was a lot of symmetry there and equivalent classes. It that the same here with the two factions?

Richard: Oh definitely, there’s a lot of symmetry. Obviously in a given mission, both sides are either on offense or defence and in addition to the core there are a lot of optional things that come up. But, we are definitely; we have a big eye towards ensuring that this game is very very accessible. A lot of people would argue that that was a problem with Enemy Territory Quake Wars, in while it was deep and you had a lot going on, you really got thrown into the deep end of the pool right away. So we’re really making sure that if you’ve actually mastered a class and you're having a great time with that, you shouldn’t have to relearn it when you go to the other side. So we’re all about the symmetry in terms of actual raw game play.

AG: What about things like, what’s the equivalent of medic from one side vs the other. Are they going to have the same abilities?

Richard: Yeah. The important thing is, unlike the previous the previous enemy territory games which obviously had experience points and leveling up but only over the course of a very short campaign - this one is going persistent. So you actually do create a character who you really invest a lot into. At any given time, it doesn’t really matter if you’re playing on, security or resistance, from that point of view because it’s the same guy. If you do have a tattoo, that’s not just a tattoo, that's who you are. You’ve made a commitment to it. Like we were talking about just before we started; that’s a real commitment you’ve made.

So you’re not just going to turn it off now because "nah I’m playing on the security side". Same for scars or what not. So it’s really about making those commitments and having that continuity of character design, ethnicity and also of all your class abilities. So when you’re a kick ass medic, who’s leveled up and spent all his experience points getting all these specific medic things and kind of saying "ah screw it, I don’t really care so much about my solider or all the general purpose abilities, I really want to be the best medic". You’ll be the same whether you’ll be on resistance or security.

AG: One of the things I noticed in the demo upstairs, the level design in the short stuff we were privy too, it seems very corridor based and multi-tiered. Will we see big arenas?

Richard: Yes, that's actually a really big focus for Neil Alphonso, our lead Level Designer, who was the lead on Killzone 2, where you did see a lot of variety within their multiplayer arena. So he’s brought that experience to us. I think Container City, you’re right, is very corridor, very indoor/outdoor but, I haven’t mentioned in any interview so exclusive for you: the Shipyard level we’re having is much more outdoor and much more about these big spaces. Laboratory has a lot of verticality to it. So we’re definitely trying to ensure that every one of our maps has an unique feel and an unique hook. Both in terms of game play and aesthetics. They all have their own story to tell.

AG: It was kind of hard to gleam the story element of the game versus the multiplayer element of the game. They almost seem intrinsically linked.

Richard: Yes! Then you did get it, that's exactly it. Sorry, ask the question.

AG: For anybody who buys this and picks this up and just wants to sit down in their lounge room and play this with nobody else around. That can completely happen right?

Richard: Yes, of course. See here’s the thing. Obviously you know our background, we’re definitely bringing that kind of multiplayer experience to the console. The beautiful thing about Enemy Territory and what really attracted me to come in and work for Splash Damage -- because I was familiar with it and I played plenty of Wolf back in the day -- it’s really single player friendly. Unlike standard multiplayer stuff, whether it’s team deathmatch or capture the flag which doesn’t really work well as a single player exercise so much. Enemy Territory style game play and Splash Damage game play is all about a series of objectives, having surprises pop up and that just works beautifully. So we fully expect a big portion of our audience is going to pick up Brink not for the multiplayer and in fact we welcome that.

A big big core element is, I tend to think of is this game as -- this is almost too cheesy to say -- a gateway drug. To get people pulled in with the story, with the world, with the promise of all the RPG elements which all the Bethesda fans are going to be really excited about. And they’ll be playing along. They’ll just be having a great time going through one of the two great big campaigns we’ve got playing on either the Resistance or the Security side of the civil war. Eventually at some point or another, depending on how well you do (we will be monitoring you), you’ll be about to start a mission and before you do, as part of the story line, we’ll actually stop you and say you know what? You (the player, not the character), you’re doing really well; we think you've actually kind of picked up everything you need to know. Next mission, why don’t you try playing online? No pressure, we’re not going to make you do it; if you want to stay offline that's totally cool, don’t feel bad about it, but give it a try. And you know what? Here’s a little something something: we’re going to double the experience you get. Just for trying.

I think what players will find -- if they have a [Xbox] Live account, obviously if they don’t we’ll skip all that -- they’ll find that "wow, yeah I’ve always been afraid, I've always stayed away from multiplayer before but I really know my way around this world; I know how this works. I’ve been kind of baby-stepped into it and when I jump online I feel really comfortable. I know what to do and I feel like a valuable member. Even though I don’t know this mission, there are so many systems in place to help me get around and to help me be the best I can be". It’s not a situation where "Wow, team deathmatch is kind of fun except I'm the one who dies a lot and I made the other team win. I suck; I'm not playing anymore". That can’t happen. So once they’re in, hopefully they'll stay in because we’re going for kind of a standard competitive eight to ten hour game when you go through both campaigns, but there’s so much more to experience. By the end of the game you'll have made it to maybe level ten, level eleven. There'll still be a lot of abilities you haven’t unlocked so there’s definitely a reason to keep coming back for more.

AG: And it seems you guys are spending a fair bit of time crafting extensive lore.

Richard: Yes, oh yeah.

AG: So I guess that's part of the gateway drug concept. Gets them into the world, into the characters and just want to explore it more and more.

Richard: Yeah, there’s a lot of... I know from my personal experience, because I've done more singleplayer stuff like the original Siphon Filters on the PlayStation. I just did Fable 2. Bringing those type of concepts into a multiplayer sphere is really really exciting. In the same way we’re bringing in these Multiplayer things into a single player experience. Where, wow, the whole world doesn’t revolve around you. It’s not because I take ten steps forward and that makes the thing blow up. No, You’re just a cog in this overall action that’s going around -- that's really eye opening for someone that's only used to playing singleplayer when they experience this kind of gameplay.

So we’re bring that multiplayer into singleplayer; we’re bringing singleplayer stuff into multiplayer too. For instance, I can’t think of a game where I’ve been playing multiplayer matches and been able to find collectables -- like what you find in BioShock. Like in the middle of a match, the third time I played there happened to be something to pick up over there and it actually fills me in on the background of like how Brink generates its power from actually harvesting wave motion. Or talking about the founders and what their original goals were. All this kind of stuff for hardcore geeks that just love to get into the background. That's in our single player and our multiplayer because there’s no difference. When you first turn on the game and you get to the title screen, you’re not even going to choose singleplayer or multiplayer. You’re just going to go right into the missions and as it comes up, we’ll just make it available to you like as I was saying earlier, jump into multiplayer if you like. Or just keep it simple.

AG: Well we have to wrap it up there but thankyou very much for your time, it sounds Awesome.

Richard: Thanks! Look forward to telling you more.

Latest Comments
Steve Farrelly
Posted 04:22pm 19/6/09
REVEALED: Shipyard level!
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