Pivotal Games' smash hit Conflict series is returning in autumn 2005 in the shape of Conflict: Global Terror, the new instalment in the franchise treading both familiar and fresh ground and re-introducing us to the original squad line-up as it takes the fight to global terrorism. Boasting a campaign set in the near future, this latest outing also embellishes the series as a whole with plenty of new tech enhancements and gameplay additions and finally introduces online play into the mix.
We recently caught up with Pivotal Games' man and producer on Conflict: Global Terror, Stuart Poole, to find out more.
The Conflict series has always been based in real-world locations and taken real-world conflicts as its inspiration. Global Terror is a departure from that. Why did you take this decision?
Poole: I'm pleased to say that Conflict: Global Terror hasn't removed itself from having a 'real world' setting - we know how important that aspect of the series is. All the missions are based in true political hotspot locations around the world, which keeps Conflict's feet on the ground but has freed us from having a single style of environment in the game. The terrorist organisation that you are up against is fictional, that's true, but all the events that happen through the game are inspired by actual events from the past.
Are you worried that fans of the series' real-life settings may be disappointed that you're not doing, for instance, Conflict: Afghanistan?
Poole: Fans of the series definitely should not be concerned. We passionately believe that this is set to be the strongest, most thrilling Conflict title yet - and that's partly thanks to all the feedback that we've had from fans. I don't want to sound too bullish but we're building some amazing missions and I think Conflict fans will really love the gameplay improvements and advancements that have been made in Global Terror.
Can you tell us a little more about the storyline of Global Terror?
Poole: The original Conflict crew is back! Reformed as an anti-terror strike unit, the four main characters jet around the world to deal with several different terrorist cells. These groups are being manipulated by one controlling force, which has its own agenda... Which gradually becomes clear to the player as the story twists and turns across the 15 missions. There's more to the 'terror' aspect to the story than you might reckon; anyone who thinks we're following the obvious route (of basing the game on recent world events) is 100% wrong... There's a lot more to Global Terror's plot than that. For starters the terrorists are neo-Nazis. But I don't want to give too much away!
Turning away from the real-world conflicts must have given you much more freedom to design the storyline and set pieces. How enjoyable was this freedom?
Poole: This move has been appreciated throughout the whole of Pivotal Games. It's freed-up the designers to select even more interesting and exotic locations for their missions. This has allowed them to push the boundaries even further in terms of our level design. It has also allowed us to use a wider variation of vehicles, weapons and enemies, which in turn allows for a more varied gameplay experience
The artists have not been restricted to just creating levels from one type of region, like (of course) desert for Conflict: Desert Storm and jungle for Conflict: Vietnam. They have really been able to let their creative juices flow and this is evident in the visual quality that we're seeing in the levels.