The hook, again, for the series is its focus on authenticity. Real-life Tier 1 operators have participated in the story and development of Warfighter, and by its own admission, EA hopes that helps differentiate the game from its other FPS franchise.
At the game's first online showing at GDC in San Francisco, we managed to get face time with EA senior creative director Richard Farrelly. Read our Medal of Honor: Warfighter preview for details on the game and read on to see what Farrelly had to say about Warfighter.
You base your single-player missions on real-life events. How important is the authenticity angle for Medal of Honor: Warfighter?
That's everything for us. I think that's what separates Medal of Honor apart from the other guys. We take it very seriously. Without that, an interesting setting and story... we're a floating gun in a world. At least that's how we view it. It's really important for us - that's Medal of Honor's identity. Respecting the soldiers and telling the story from their point of view.
Obviously when you're dealing with real conflicts there are some subjects that might seem unsuitable for an entertainment product. Where do you draw the line with your authenticity?
For us, we're making a game first, we're not making a simulator. Other games do that and they do it well. Our vibe is to give the player an immersive, authentic feeling experience and make it feel like they're one of these guys. Fortunately for us a lot of the Tier 1 consultants are actually gamers as well so they understand that vibe. They'll be like, 'here's how we breach a door... but that's boring.' They understand that.
We look at the elements that make it most authentic, that if somebody saw it even from their community they'd be like, 'those guys have talked to somebody'. It's the way the guys hold their guns, the way they talk to eachother, the way they move, enter a room... a lot of small things. It's the stuff you can only get in a game by having guys like that at your disposal. We have these guys in the studio almost daily.
Do you think that unique angle is equally important for differentiating Medal of Honor from Battlefield?
I think it does. Also now with this Tier 1 position we have, we've kind of found a niche that we feel we can own in terms of the depiction of the story of our guys, doing what they do, in a really authentic way, yet still having some delicious gunplay in there that's fun.
You've brought multiplayer in house for the second game, after DICE handled the online side for the last one. Why do you feel that was an important move?
That was huge for us. We really embraced it last time and we thought it was cool to have the flavour of the two studios, but this time around we wanted to have one single vision, with one engine and one team working on it. It's been a really cohesive experience.
Why is Danger Close now more prepared to take on that extra responsibility than before?
We formed a new studio to make the new Medal of Honor and we've grown a lot, we've taken on some new people. We've got a lot of good DNA on the team now from other different studios that've come over; we've had some guys from DICE working on the multiplayer side and we've got a lot of people from other teams working with us on single-player. We're in a better position as a company.
How will you be differentiating multiplayer from what DICE did in the previous game?
In the past Medal of Honor games we've been purely focused on American forces. This time around we decided we should honour the other Tier 1 forces from around the world. Talking to our consultants, they've worked with guys from all over the world and they were like, 'these guys are every bit as good as our guys'. So we felt what better way to honour them and portray them than to have 12 of the world's best units from different nations in the game.
We're looking at the SAS from the UK, SAS from Australia, KSK from Germany, the Polish GROM - because they have a cool name (laughs).
And we hear you have plans for some kind of co-op mode?
It's not really... We're not really talking about it.
I can talk about Blue on Blue though. We have a playlist that came out of a conversation we were having with the guys, which was about how they're always trying to make themselves better, they're always measuring themselves up against the guy next to them, whether in their unit or in another unit.
So we thought alright, let's have a 'who's better? SAS or SEALs?' Put them in an arena and have them fight it out. That was how we came up with the Blue on Blue playlist - it's a place people can go and settle their 'who's better?' arguments.
Visually, Warfighter looks stunning. You've collaborated with DICE in the past and now you've taken on its impressive Frostbite 2.0 tech. What advancements have you been able to make now that they've already shipped a game on that engine?
Obviously they had to make a game on an engine that they were making, so they absolutely had some challenges. To be truthful we have our own challenges switching from one engine to new technology. But like you said, the truth is in the pudding. Through a little hard work learning their stuff the result is the game looks great and plays great.
I think we have our own signature look; I think it looks a lot different from Battlefield even though it's on the same engine. It's more intimate, but we still have some of the same elements that they have like the micro-destruction and the amazing lighting.
Have you taken any benefits from talking to them about their experience building Battlefield 3?
We work very closely with the Frostbite team - we're all in the same boat. We're helping to make it a better engine on our end as they are. We work very closely with them and as I said, we've got some former members of DICE working with us.
A lot of fans will say Frostbite 2 particularly shines on PC. All the copies of Medal of Honor: Warfighter here are also running on PC...
The great thing about Frostbite is it's platform agnostic. You make one game and then you play to each of the platforms' strengths. On PC you have the high res textures... it looks like a proper PC game.
Is it realistic to expect Warfighter to build on the massive success of Battlefield 3?
I think we're in for the long game. We came out with Medal of Honor 2010 and it shattered records for the franchise, it's moved something like 6 million units sold through, which is far and above any numbers the franchise has done before. So for us it's about keep building on that - we want to do more this time and then we want to do more the next time around, just as Battlefield has done building from 1942 to where they are now
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Thread: Interview: MOH warfighter
Interview: MOH warfighter
I want a modern shooter where we stop glorifying and respecting those who kill people for no reason. I want a game that recognizes that when a soldier kill someone, he killed someone.
Something more gritty and realistic, not in terms of particle effects and destructibility, but in terms of the effects of war.
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MoH 1 campaign is the best military shooter campaign I have ever played. I pretty much have played them all. If they improve upon that, then I see nothing but net here for me. I am glad they have chosen to stick to their guns and go with a more realistic story approach like they did with MoH1.
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