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Splinter Cell: Conviction Video Interview Transcript
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:57pm 06/07/09 | Comments
We chat to Jean-Francois Poire, Associate Producer for Splinter Cell: Conviction, check out the full transcript below...

Click here for the full video interview.

AusGamers: We're here with Jean-Francois Poire, Associate Producer on Splinter Cell: Conviction. We just went through a live demo of the game and we're going to ask him a few questions: JF, I've seen the same gameplay demo three times now; at two different press events and here, and while it looks stunning - absolutely amazing - I want to know just how much we'll be able to branch from the things that we saw (have seen). For example, in the interrogation scene in the bathroom, how much of that immediate environment is damageable? Are we talking everything in there? And just how procedural is it? If you smash the guy's head against the mirror will it always crack the same spot?

Jean-Francois Poire: Well actually, our environments are fully dynamic. Obviously if you choose to bash the guy's head into a mirror, it will be in a specific spot, but then again, as I say, because it's fully dynamic you can pretty much choose your spots and we're going to make sure the player has plenty of spots to choose from and have fun with (during those interrogations).

AGN: Will there be any cool awards for thinking outside the box in the interrogations? And will you be able to go too far - like, how far can you go before you maybe kill the guy or something?

Jean-Francois: Well usually it's specific bashes. We have a set number of hits for each interrogation, so it's going to be up to you to decide where and when to bash him, but ultimately you'll get the answers that you need.

AGN: Can you interrogate anyone in the game, or only specific characters?

Jean-Francois: It's specific characters. Our gameplay has changed and since Sam is really free of constraints because he no longer works for the Government, he's going to get to the guys he needs to and will do it by getting any info that he needs. The other enemies, for example, he can perform stealth kills or go around them to get to his target - the specific people he needs to interrogate.

AGN: Now you mentioned there are small sandbox sections, for example before you infiltrate the mansion; how much of that immediate area can you explore and interact with? Or is it really just a 'holding pattern' before you get to the area you need to infiltrate?

Jean-Francois: Well in all of our environments we want to have stealth paths and action paths, so our areas will be built around, as you mentioned, small sandbox sections. For example in the demo we showed we took the more stealth path behind the ledge, and we did this because we wanted to show off more of our features, but we could just go up to the front door and take out the guys that way, and this would be a more action path. We also have more upper windows, and windows around the side you didn't see, so our environments will be built around that - where there's always a shadow path and an action path.

AGN: You mentioned things like creating your own shadow paths through the game's lighting system. How much of that will you be offering to players? Are we talking a progression of 'linear-to-sandbox, linear-to-sandbox'?

Jean-Francois: Well all the lights in the game are dynamic, so yes you can create your own shadow path. The game moves from one chapter to the next, but within each chapter you'll be able to craft your own path for getting from point A to point B. So if you choose a path you want to do, kill the lights and perform stealth kills from a shadow path you created, you can do that. If you want to just try to go more action, take cover and fire at the enemy, you can do that (it might be more difficult though).

AGN: And so you said you earn rewards to then use for the Mark and Execute actions - it's almost like a pre-time event as opposed to a quick time event in that you're not going in and pressing a series of buttons, your planning first and marking it out for a single button press execute to create a dynamic and cinematic action sequence - is that what the goal of that was?

Jean-Francois: Yeah, it's really there to show off the skills of Sam. He's a ruthless elite agent, and to show this we looked a lot of movies and TV shows, you know, it's just cool to see the hero go into a room, "baff, baff" and perform quick kills and we wanted to convey that into the game. So the Mark and Execute really allows us to show the skills of Sam, and it's with one press of a button, after you've marked the targets, you're going to take these guys out. However, there is more to it than just hitting a button. There's a timing issue, there's a lot of preparation involved; you really need to look at the environment and make sure you're marking the right things, and really, you don't have a lot of time so you need to plan and execute well and then vanish - that's really the gameplay loop we're going for.

AGN: In that regard you're always playing the game in a stylish manner, like watching a Jason Bourne move or Taken or something like that, right?

Jean-Francois: Yes, and those are all great references. We want the player to live the fantasy of being the elite agent and Mark and Execute is a great tool for us to do that. And to also help support our more dynamic stealth direction we have in the game.

AGN: Now art-direction. This is one of the most stylish videogames I've ever seen - how did you come up with the concept of projected images and how difficult was it to make that work? Did you come up with something proprietary for it or...

Jean-Francois: Actually, in terms of tech we had to really think about it, but afterwards when the design was set I think the guys really had fun creating those features. But in terms of artistic direction, games today are so nice and Splinter Cell has always been a key title for graphic standards, and you look at the games now and they're so beautiful and of course Splinter Cell will be beautiful too, but we had to think about how we could enhance the experience for the player and go above and beyond, and so for us, the projected movies, the projected text, the transitions we have in the game were all part of the solution for us to set new standards.

AGN: Finally, I know we've only seen a little bit here, but can you maybe mention some of the other locations we might see in the game? You mentioned Washington, and in the past we've seen him sky-diving and cracking through ice-sheets in freezing water - stealth killed countless people in various exotic locations... how will that be topped with this game?

Jean-Francois: Well our focus is on Sam for sure, so considering he's looking for his Daughter's murderer he's going to be basically following up that trailer; the trail starts in Malta and it will end up in Washington and he [Sam] will discover something bigger. Unfortunately I can't go into detail about more locations, but there's going to be plenty of communication this summer about Washington and where else we're going to be playing.

AGN: Actually one last question: The decision to go exclusively with Xbox 360 and PC - was this just a deal you made with Microsoft? Did you choose to only go with those two platforms?

Jean-Francois: Well originally Splinter Cell was an exclusive title to Xbox, and with Conviction (the decision) really allowed us to work on the tech, get good support from Microsoft and really build something that will allow us to use all the tech that's available with the Xbox 360. So for us it was a good starting point to work with Microsoft on this title exclusively.

AGN: Awesome, thanks so much JF.

For more info on Splinter Cell: Conviction, head over to our game page. We also have a preview based on our demo with Jen-Francois you can read right here.