PSU Interview: Soldier of Fortune: Payback
PSU catches up with Game Producer Dan Gniady to get the final scoop on the third instalment in one of the most gruesome first person shooters series to date – Solider of Fortune: Payback.
PSU: What is the general storyline behind Soldier of Fortune Pay Back and will John Mullins make an appearance as a side character?
Gniady: John Mullins will not appear in the game. We created a new character for players to portray - Thomas Mason, a freelance mercenary. When his latest mission goes wrong, Mason must travel the globe and uncover and terminate an extremist plot against an enemy that has no respect for any law, nation or army.
PSU: What technical features has your CloakNT3 engine allowed specifically in Soldier of Fortune Pay Back? Are you licensing this engine to other studios by any chance?
Gniady: The biggest technical feature that CloakNT3 has afforded us is the damage system. The damage modeling is very elaborate, and of course there is a completely updated dismemberment system. We are not licensing CloakNT3 to any other studios.
PSU: How many weapons will be available in single player and multiplayer? Will the weapons be customizable and if so, to what degree?
Gniady: There are over 35 weapons available for both single player and multiplayer gameplay. The weapons will be customizable through our attachments system. Many weapons can be equipped with Scopes, Collimators, Red Dot Sights, Under-barrel Grenade Launchers, Handgrips, and Silencers. These weapons are all balanced with what attachments the player can equip and the base statistical values of each weapon.
PSU: Soldier of Fortune is known for its gore. What new enhancements have been made to the damage system and animations in Pay Back?
Gniady: I think the biggest enhancement aside from an obvious upgrade in graphical quality would be the ability to dismember enemies who are still alive. In Payback the player can shoot an arm off of an enemy and the will continue to fire their weapon as long as it was not their primary arm that was shot off. If you blow off their leg they may continue to fire at you, or they may attempt to crawl away to cover.
In terms of animations we did extensive motion capture work in order to create very rich hit reactions. Our hit animations depend on the area of the body shot as well as the caliber of the round that the enemy was hit with. Shooting an enemy provides a very visceral reaction and I think we captured that very well in fluidity of our animations. Then there is always the classic neck and groin shot animations.
PSU: How many vehicles will be available in single player and multiplayer? Will there be unique death animations when hitting enemies with vehicles?
Gniady: Though you’ll encounter and battle people in vehicles, there will be no vehicles for the player to drive in Payback.
PSU: Other then extreme gore, what sets Soldier of Fortune apart from other FPS titles like Haze or Call of Duty 4?
Gniady: I think there are many things. Soldier of Fortune as a franchise has always been that sort of Rambo over the top sort of game; it doesn’t take itself too seriously. We focus on the action, we want the player to have fun running through an environment blowing stuff up and killing tons of enemies. Also there will be boss fights in Payback. Now these aren’t your normal boss fights, they aren’t giant beings that take up half of the screen. They are regular people who are skilled fights and excellent marksman.
PSU: Have you had to make cutbacks on your gore system to maintain an “M” rating? Has the ESRB had anything to say yet about Soldier of Fortune Pay Back?
Gniady: We haven’t had to make any cutbacks really but you’ll note a whole bunch of content descriptors on the ESRB Rating notice. We designed the game from the start to be an “M” rated title. The gore system has not been dumbed down at all to maintain the rating. The ESRB really hasn’t had too much to say about ... (continued on next page)