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Medal Of Honor

Interview: EA's Richard Farrelly takes us behind enemy lines...

If you're a war FPS fan, you should be getting pretty excited for EA's Medal Of Honor.

The publisher has rebooted the franchise to tell the story of the US Military's 'elite of the elite' -the Tier One Operators.

After seeing an early demo of it last month, we were left very impressed indeed.

Who better to give us their view, then, than EALA creative director Richard Farrelly - himself a former Treyarch staffer...

Medal Of Honor has a real focus on patience and skill - when recent successful war FPS games have been deliberately 'big and dumb'. What gave you the confidence to go down this route?
I don't think it was a matter of confidence - it was a matter of telling the story correctly. That's what we're all about. We're about telling the soldiers' story with an eye towards authenticity. In this case, even more so - when we got involved with these Tier One operators, it became a responsibility for to really make sure they were depicted in the way they should be.

This is what they do and for us we have the sledgehammer and when we plan the game out, we can pace it in such a way that players don't feel it's too much of one thing or too much of another. Overall, it crafts the experience down to a nice ebb and flow of action.

You've described the Tier One characters' dialogue as 'clipped'. Does that make it difficult for emotional connection?
They're very complex people. They're extremely intelligent - they're not knuckle draggers, gun nuts or super-Rambo rednecks. These are highly intelligent guys, highly-driven super-achievers. But they're also fiercely clannish, if you like.

It's a brotherhood. They will die for the guy next to them in a heartbeat. When they're on the job, they're on the job - they've got the language they use and it's all by rote. But each one of them has a character [outside that] and that will show in the 'off' moments.

Even at the end of the demo, when he says "I just saved your ass", the Voodoo character shows himself to be bit more sardonic [than during in-game action]. We try to walk that line. But the clipped language helps you discern if you're with the rangers - or with these highly trained instruments of destruction.

With the Tier One being so intelligent, was it difficult to make sure the game wasn't too easy? The demo doesn't look like it's one for the novice...
It's never easy, is it, whenever it's not something that's the norm. Sure, we've had challenges, but we've figured out a balance to do it in a way that is more. The guy in the demo we've shown is recounting the number of enemies around the fire.

It's always about delivering the information to the player - all these guys are a network of dudes.

Other than the scalpel, what differentiates Medal Of Honor from Modern Warfare?
This is Medal Of Honor sticking by what Medal Of Honor has always been. It's about telling the soldier's story within in actual conflict, sort of geared towards authenticity and certainly much more of a plausible situations.

We still have fictional characters and share fictional stories, but it really still is try to get the player to experience at least from an entertainment point of view what these people might see, feel and hear.

Do you experience more fear in Medal Of Honor than you do in Modern Warfare 2?
I wouldn't get extreme like that, but we certainly do think about what the player's feeling at any given moment. We try to draw that out in different ways. It of course depends on the player.

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