Voice is dead. Long live Vouice. It was interesting listening to the developers when they went over their team play features, and how they wanted to promote cooperation by ‘hard-coding’ more co-operative elements into the game player. We hunted down Game Designer Dan Berlin to find out more…
Strategy Informer:Just as a quick overview then, can you talk a bit about what the multiplayer is ‘about’ for you guys?
Dan Berlin: We wanted really early on to push Teamplay, and this lead us to look at classes – we don’t have a class that can only revive, we don’t have an engineer that can only do other things… all these teamplay interactions are available to anyone at any time. I think that availability of teamplay is important, because it’s more accessible for the player. This whole thing is then bound together because you’re then rewarded for it – we didn’t want to reward a guy who goes out alone and gets loads of kills, only to then give him a tool that gives him even more kills.
We want to reward the guy who supports his team, who captures points… he gets the Team Support Points. You end up realising that the guy who actually shot the most people, isn’t the same guy who got the most kills.
Strategy Informer:Would you say then that multiplayer by way of voice communications is a failed venture?
Dan Berlin: Yes I do. The multiplayer today isn’t really people sitting together in a room, so they can’t really talk to each other. Not a lot of people use the voice functionality anyway – I never use it, I’m just sitting alone at home playing on my couch, and I get match-made with strangers, people who I’ve never met before, so that’s why we brought in the silent communication into the game, the backend systems that help you with communications.
Strategy Informer:Before this you worked on World in Conflict, what did those games teach you about online gaming?
Dan Berlin: Doing an RTS in a multiplayer universe is a tough thing – it has a lot of balancing in it, and we have a lot of stats and stuff that we’ve got from after we released the game. But it relates to stuff like latency, and a load of techie stuff that our guys handle that I know nothing about, but they’re really good at it. It’s really about brining that top-notch experience to FarCry, it plays really well. We also have a bit of legacy coming into FarCry – if you look at the Firestorm game mode, it takes a lot of legacy from World of Conflict.
The whole idea of having two nodes burning at the same – that idea came from World in Conflict, where there were three of them all connected, and so that inherited into the Firestorm game mode. Also the idea of altering the map, and altering the flow of the map also was something that was pretty big in WiC. You started off with these beautiful times, you know, real American Suburbia, and by the end of the map it’s all destroyed, craters everywhere that you could hide troops in and everything…
That’s the idea with Firestorm – the fires grow and grow, and they alter the flow of the map and where you can go, and they also change the landscape of the island as well.
Strategy Informer: I imagine you guys are still found of the WiC franchise – will you ever go back to it do you think?
Dan Berlin: Do another RTS? We all love World in Conflict, but I can’t comment on anything to do with that at this point.
Strategy Informer:FarCry 3 uses a classes system, where people basically create their own loadouts. Can you describe for us exactly what people will be able to do there?
Dan Berlin: Of course weapons will be unlocked as you progress, you can also unlock attachments for those weapons and so on… we’re also working on skills – for example we have one called Bloodlust, whereby you gain some health back when you kill someone, and that really suites certain play styles. Equip him say with a shotgun and some heavy armour as well, and he becomes a bit of a juggernaut. So it’s very much up to the player to customise a character that fits his or her own play style. Also you’re going to unlock new Battle Cry boosts, and other sequences for the end of match scenes.
Strategy Informer:Do you worry about doing the PC players justice? Especially considering the history of the franchise and your own history as a studio.
Dan Berlin: Of course we do, and that’s a good thing because it puts you on your seat to make sure you deliver. But I know there are people out there who bought an entire new rig for FarCry 2, and that’s what people do - they see a game they really want and then they upgrade their computer for it. So if you have a monster rig and you want to play FarCry with it we’re going to have some very specific tweaks… the PC version is going to be modelled for PC.
Strategy Informer:What can you tell us about the map editor and how it’ll fit in with the modding community?
Dan Berlin: We want people to be able to just go crazy with it, but we also want players who aren’t map-makers themselves, to be able to find and play quality custom content. So we’re going to make it easier for them to find maps, and rank maps as they play. So if you are a map-maker and create something really awesome, there’s a good chance that people will see it and it’ll become popular.
A little insight for you into the minds and thinking behind FarCry 3’s multiplayer. It’s certainly a big step to go from an RTS to this jungle shooter, but Massive are confident they can pull it off and keep everyone (well, mostly everyone) happy. Don’t forget to check out our hands on preview.