Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford (we challenge you to read that without automatically saying “Pitchfork” in your head) has been chatting about the teamwork aspect of the upcoming Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway. Not chatting to us, you understand, just chatting in general and said chat has been released as a, well as a press release thingy. And here it is. For you. From us.
1) BIA is known for its great Squad command system. Can you tell us a bit more about how it’s going to work in BIA HH?
Brothers in Arms introduced a new way to think about working with a squad. The goal from the beginning is about accessibility – about making the interface work for you intuitively. For Hell’s Highway, we’ve taken some time since the last Brothers in Arms games to think about how the system can work better and to listen to players who have loved what we did and have challenged us to go even farther. This culminates to the best Brothers in Arms game ever made – by a wide margin.
We have established the system with the two previous games and expanded it in very interesting ways for players who are looking for new depth. We can do that without forcing any complexity for any users who may actually prefer if things were more simple to use.
The command system still remains as simple as shooting your gun, aiming at something and triggering the command button. If you’re aiming at the ground, your command is “Move to that position!” If you’re aiming at an enemy, your command is “Attack that enemy!”
Some of these orders are contextual and will vary depending of what you’re aiming at. A sandbag cover for example is something that you can destroy with your bazooka crew. In that case, the command ring will change and indicating that you can blow up this cover.
2) Just how advanced is the friendly and enemy AI in Hell’s Highway?
How advanced is the AI – well… We’ve invested a LOT in it. The game relies heavily on the decisions of the AI, so it not only has to have a good, fair awareness of what is going on around each decision maker, but it must have really interesting things to do with each decision the AI makes. It’s become amazingly natural, but super sophisticated over the years. The more sophisticated the AI gets, the more simple and natural (human) it appears in the game.
3) We see during some parts of the game you’ll be without your team. How does this break down?
In Hell’s Highway, the story sometimes separates Sgt. Baker from his squad. This is true for about 15% or so of the game. It’s great for variety – really changes the feeling and the game play. It’s also great for the story telling for reasons I don’t want to spoil. Another interesting side effect is that it reminds you how much better it is to play a first person action game with a squad that you have control over – it really makes us feel how shallow a lot of our shooting gallery experiences are with traditional first person shooters.