To that end we've totally revamped the AI code in European Assault so that everything in the world reacts in more complicated ways to the player - and itself. In the past, NPCs would only react to your actions, but now they react to each other too. The cool thing about this is that you start to see emergent behaviour forming. Enemies will react to you in totally different ways depending on what you are doing, how injured they are, how the battle is going, and so on.
You'll see different things happening every time you play. Just the other day I was playing and saw something I hadn't seen before. Me and my squad had routed an enemy position and they were retreating. Out of the blue on of my squad breaks rank, chases down a retreating enemy, and melees him to the ground. That's the kind of real, spontaneous and magical moment we're aiming for with our AI.
We've heard you're also making efforts to give your enemies a personality and a 'face'. How are you doing that?
Dan Winters: We wanted to make the experience more personal for the player. A lot of games - and a lot of our games - are great experiences where you defeat the enemy, but the enemy has no personality. To add a sense of personality we added Nemesis characters, which are essentially the commanding officers of the enemies you fight throughout the game. Now, these guys aren't bosses. You won't see rocket launchers popping out of their shoulders or anything dumb like that.
You might not even see them, or they might pop up all of a sudden - it depends on the circumstance. They're also very skilled so it's a lot harder to take them down, but they're in possession of some interesting secrets. It'll definitely be worth the player's effort to track them down and get whatever intel they're holding.
Huge Hollywood-style set-pieces have always been a hallmark of the Medal of Honor series. Can we expect to see more in European Assault?
Dan Winters: Oh yeah, those iconic visual signatures are so important to the series and we couldn't ignore them. In fact, we think we're adding to the visual impact by giving you the visual hallmarks of being a World War II soldier with things like the Rally Mode and our shellshock effects.
But on top of that we've also got lots of those Medal of Honor moments, like blowing up huge high impact structures or just authentic moments like walking into a room and finding people just doing everyday things. European Assault is not just about mowing down rows of enemies, it's about real, authentic events steeped in history, and we want to capture that.
Can you tell us more about the multiplayer component of European Assault?
Dan Winters: We have 16 multiplayer maps in total, but while we've previously rolled the single-player maps into multiplayer, with European Assault we've added nine unique multiplayer maps as well as seven sourced from the single-player game. We really wanted to offer a different flavour for players and drive that fun, let's-get-the-beers-in-and-play-all-evening experience.
So we've got split-screen multiplayer for up to four players and nine unique multiplayer modes including Tug of War, Deathmatch and CTF. You can imagine the amount of variety that offers.
No online play?
Dan Winters: No, we wanted to focus on making a really great experience. We could have implemented online play but we feel it would've taken our eye off what we wanted to accomplish. Anyway, our offline multiplayer component is great and we're confident with the direction we chose.
The World War II genre is getting extremely busy with titles like Call of Duty and Brothers in Arms muscling for a share of the market. Where does the Medal of Honor series fit in?