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Medal of Honor: Airborne

Sound-off and equipment check with EA's Patrick Gilmore as we prepare to leap into enemy territory

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Patrick Gilmore: The jump will change how you think about a WWII game. Most shooters are fairly linear, and because of this there is a shooting-gallery like artifice and 'safety' associated with the knowledge that there's really only one way to go at any time. In Medal of Honor Airborne, that sense of security is immediately erased the moment you jump from a C47. The fact that you can land anywhere and essentially choose your own start point removes that feeling of security and installs in its place a kind of anxious sensitivity to tactics and enemy position and affordance.

As for capturing the feel of being a member of the 82nd, the whole experience is more real and goes beyond the jump to large variations in combat scale, distinctive characters who weave in and out of the game, and to the fact that we're focused on designing places, not levels.

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Previously, the PC platform has received exclusive MoH games, but with Airborne you're bringing the same title to PC and console. What are the advantages of that approach?

Patrick Gilmore: We want to unify the creative core of MOH so that we can move the entire franchise in a direction - rest assured there are great things in store for both PC and console players.

It sounds as though you're covering every World War II campaign which saw the 82nd Airborne Division's involvement. We're only minor WWII buffs - which campaigns are we going to see?

Patrick Gilmore: Right now we are focusing on operations Husky and Varsity, but, suffice it to say that the game is about the Airborne in World War II, and we intend it to be a complete arc.

You touched on the parachute jump aspect above - as we understand it, at the start of missions players will be able to parachute into any area of a map they want. Can you elaborate on that key part of the game for us?

Patrick Gilmore: We're going for as seamless an experience as possible, from the airfield briefing to the plane, to the jump itself. As a player, you control everything a soldier would control - the actual exit from the plane, and the drop from that point forward. From the air, you will likely be able to see every objective in the operation, but the extent to which you can reach them will depend upon your exit point and the altitude of the jump.

Apart from that, it is entirely up to the player to read the battlefield beneath him. He can go for a tower for sniping opportunities, steer after his squad to rally quickly on the ground, land in the heart of his primary objective for a direct (and usually extremely difficult) assault, land on rooftops, crash through windows, in alleys, on top of walls and on and on. The entire space is playable.

There's been talk of a free-roaming FPS environment and the parachute element touched on above suggests 'corridor' aspects are finally being ditched. Are we looking at a GTA-style of freedom here for the player?

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Patrick Gilmore: We are all about delivering the focused, high-fidelity fun of a shooter in as real an environment as possible. That being said, while we have a very open design, we are not an "open world" game, which focuses on a different style of interactivity. We found that the most successful designs were those which required fast moment-to-moment tactical decisions, not the analog generalities you get from some open world games. It became a rule of design that the player always be aware that he was making a decision, not simply wander generally left as opposed to right. This led to much higher-fidelity environments and crisp design of the different spaces.

How large are the areas/maps we're going to be presented with in missions, and within missions will we be given new objectives on the fly - is there a dynamic element to missions, for example?

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