Thursday, October 7, 2010

Medal of Honor exec talks military ban

Recently, m4dski11z had a phone interview with Greg Goodrich, executive producer at Danger Close Studios, the developer for Medal of Honor. Mr. Goodrich was kind enough to answer some questions about his studio's upcoming and controversial shooter, Medal of Honor.

Here are some of the highlights from the interview last week:

Ski11z: How will this version of Medal of Honor differ from past offerings?
Goodrich: Over the last 11 years, Medal of Honor has been delivering games. This franchise has always been set in World War II. This is the first Medal of Honor that's not. It's set in modern times, in the current fight in Afghanistan. The core tenets, authenticity, respect for the soldier, honoring the soldier, telling the soldier's story from the soldier's point of view, that still remains. In that regard, this Medal of Honor is just like all the rest.

Ski11z: Recently, the game series has been in the news. (Online players had the choice of playing as members of the Taliban in the multiplayer mode. EA has since named the opposing forces 'OPFOR') What's your view on the U.S. military banning sales of the game in military base exchanges around the world?
Goodrich: Our view is we respect the view of the major general. (Army & Air Force Exchange Service commander Major General Bruce Casella) We absolutely respect his decision.

Ski11z: Quite a few readers have asked me since Danger Close and DICE are making the game, and Battlefield: Bad Company 3 is coming out in 2011, why not wait around for that game instead of buying this one?
Goodrich: DICE is very, very good at what they do and they are doing it now in the Medal of Honor universe. Medal of Honor has always had a different tone and more intense than the Battlefield franchise. In those games and what they focus on and the things we (Medal of Honor) focus on are very different. This is a very uniquely Medal of Honor experience. It's a very fast, relentless type of gameplay where we focus on player skill. I think Medal of Honor fans will recognize it and appreciate it as a Medal of Honor multiplayer experience.

Ski11z: What will Medal of Honor offer that players can't get in Modern Warfare 2, Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops?
Goodrich: We start with a core, first-person shooter and a great experience and great gameplay. On top of that, we offer a great story, compelling characters, plausibility, authenticity, all of the things that Medal of Honor has always stood for, and we layer that on top of a great game. Hopefully, our tone, our cinematic storytelling is what will set us apart.

Ski11z: During the game, players get a chance to play a gunner in an AH-64 Apache gunship. Are there plans to make a standalone helicopter game?
Goodrich: That's a great mission, isn't it? (Laughs) That's about midway through the game when we allow the player to sit in the front seat of an Apache attack helicopter and do his thing as the gunner. But no, we have no plans at this time to make a standalone Apache game.

Ski11z: The Tier 1 operators often operate independent of direct military command, and their appearances often reflect that. Can players customize their operators? To what extent will gamers be able to customize their characters? Their weapons? (Players were able to customize their weapons in the single-player missions in Medal of Honor: Airborne)
Goodrich: In the single-player campaign, our story focuses on the Tier 1 operator. There are multiple Tier 1 operators that you embody. One is from the Navy side, one from the Army side and in those cases, these are characters that we have designed and developed to tell the soldier's story from their point of view. In single player, we do show how these guys, how their appearance, how their weapon systems and how that differs depending on the mission types. In the early parts of the game, when they are going in to meet with the local tribal elders and try to blend in, we show how they are dressed in indigenous clothing
and because they're in vehicle operations, they have a 10 and a half inch barrel on their M-4s, and we show the optics and how all the guys are different. One thing we learned from these guys is their weapons are an extension of them, so they personalize them to themselves and how they like to operate them to what optics they like, what vertical grip, what sling. So, all these things go into customizing their weapon systems. We show that in single player. We have done that - the designers have done that to best tell our story. In multiplayer, you rank up. You start off as an Army Ranger. As you rank up, you start to unlock attachments for your weapon systems. Depending on what class you are, and what weapon system you've chosen, and how well you played, and how well you ranked up, more and more attachments will be unlocked. You will be able to decide what you will be able to put in your magazine, what you'll be able to put on your rails as far as optics, and your suppressors. About halfway through the ranking up process, you actually unlock a beard. At that point, the U.S. Army Ranger moves from being a Ranger to being a Tier 1 element. We show that when a player goes from being a Ranger to Tier 1, more and more customizable weapons and gear become available. So, single player no, multiplayer yes.

Ski11z: I've heard rumors about plans for a Medal of Honor movie. Can you confirm or deny these rumors?
Goodrich: I know nothing about that but maybe they are looking at our cinematics and thinking it's a movie. (Chuckles) I think it would make a very good movie, but I haven't heard anything about it. I would certainly go see that movie, but ... I know nothing about that.

Ski11z: MAG on the PS3 will be Move compatible. Will Medal of Honor be Move and Kinect compatible?
Goodrich: We've looked at that, we looked at motion control but just didn't find a suitable application for it for our game. We're focusing on the core shooter experience for first-person shooter fans and it didn't have a suitable application, so no, we are not supporting that.

Ski11z: Lastly, do you think the Medal of Honor franchise will revisit World War II or even Vietnam in future installments?
Goodrich: I don't know. We've been concentrating a lot on this title and concentrating a lot on the Tier 1 operator and telling his story. Medal of Honor has always been about telling the soldier's story and telling it from their point of view. We don't ever focus on the war, or the enemy or the conflict, we focus on the soldier. So, wherever these stories come from, wherever these soldiers take us, that's the story we'll tell. The wars have never defined Medal of Honor, what has defined Medal of Honor has always been the soldier, so that's what we are focusing on. We'll see how this one goes and if fans love it, then hopefully, they'll let us do another one.

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