Medal of Honor: Warfighter Interview with Rich Farrelly
Earlier this year we had the chance to talk to Rich Farrelly from Danger Close Studios about Medal of Honor Warfighter (read our preview here). It wouldn’t be a push to say that the FPS market is a little crowded, most of which are modern-day military shooters. Warfighter is running on the Frostbite 2 engine so we already know it looks and sounds good, and the Medal of Honor series is longer running than the elephant in the room – Call of Duty, so we know these guys know how to make solid and playable game. Yet Danger Close can’t afford to be lazy – Medal of Honor Warfighter still needs a certain something if gamers are going to connect with it, and I wanted to find out what that is.
There’s a lot of returning cast from the first game – how are you planning on making the story a lot more relatable to those guys, than in say the previous game, where… without sounding offensive, they were kind of just names.
Well those guys are back; Voodoo, Mother and Preacher are in the game. We plan on telling a very deep story with all those characters, and we’ve multiple methods as to how we’re going to do that. Much like we did in the last game; the talk scenes with the General and Colonel and the operations stuff, trying to keep those multiple layers going at the same time. We’re really excited this time, we think the quality of what we’re going to produce is going to be much higher in terms of fidelity and we kind of need it too.
You saw at the beginning of the demo we had that personal moment overlaid with the voice over of the wife and Preacher. We want to tell that story of Preacher, his wife, how being deployed so often to mysterious places is telling on her, and the effect that has on them – the human side of it. I think that’s what really differentiates us from other shooters; you know there’s lots of them and this ain’t my first rodeo. Obviously there’s so many FPS games, even multiple within EA and we’ve got to figure out what it is that defines us because at the end of the day a shooter is – military or not – just a dude with a gun moving through an environment, eliminating targets to get to the end right? It’s really important that that’s fun and compelling and fast and smooth, but when you step outside of that you’ve got to figure out what makes it unique.
I only just game on Medal of Honor with the last game back in 2010 and I had to look at all of the Medal of Honors that came before it, to find out what is it about the series that people were so drawn to back in 1999 when it came out. There were three things that we took away from that and wanted to keep.
“Obviously there’s so many FPS games, even multiple within EA and we’ve got to figure out what it is that defines us…”
What were the three things?
Commitment to authenticity… These aren’t in any order by the way, they are all of equal importance. So, commitment to authenticity, respect for the soldier and telling the soldier’s story from the soldier’s point of view. The authenticity we have in spades, with unprecedented access to two dozen operators. Recently we’ve hired Tyler and Greg who are both former army special operations for ten years, and they’re in our building all day everyday which helps massively with that authenticity.
Respect for the soldiers – that ties into the authenticity, especially with the tier one operators. Part of our aim is to depict these guys as more human and closer to how they actually are; they’re not Rambo, they’re not super men.
Like Tyler said earlier it takes ten minutes to dress up like a commando but it takes ten years to become one, and that’s really resonated with me. These guys are highly skilled, highly trained, super intelligent precision instruments of war but they’re not reckless and they’re not Serious Sam. We want to make it feel like everything they do in the game is deliberate, its got a reason and of course it is still an end product and has to be compelling and fun for the players.
We do kind of pull out to the very hairy edge of what would be considered plausible at times because we want to have those peaks and valleys in our player experience. At the same time we’ll zero in on those human moments like when we’re helping those hostages into the boats, we portray it in a very realistic way because thats exactly how they would do it.
In any other game it would be a case of they walk down the stairs and suddenly they are in the boat, section over.
Yeah exactly, but guess what? We actually have real operators in suits mo-capping that stuff. Door breaches… same thing – that’s how we get that Je ne sais quoi if you will, it’s that level of authenticity we can bring to the table.