An Uphill Battle: Chris Ferriera On Army Of Two's Gameplay and Philosophy
August 31, 2007 Page 4 of 4
Is it only co-op online or can you also do it splitscreen?
CF: You can do splitscreen with two players on one machine.
That’s good because I’m still kind of a Luddite. I don’t play games online at all.
CF: You know what? I never did up until I got Xbox Live. Once I got on Live, I started playing everything. It changed the way I play games. I played PC games online, but for console, never. Except for, I tried to play [Capcom's] Monster Hunter, which I still love. It’s one of my favorite games, and actually now I play it on my PS3, because the connectivity is better. It’s funny, I bought a PS3 and the game I’m playing is Monster Hunter. It's a pretty insane game.
That is funny. So it's the PS2 version?
CF: Yeah, the PS2 version, on the PS3, with the upscaling and all of that. Because its connectivity is actually better than the original one on the PS2. I didn't think it would work. I got one of my buddies who never played it. We always play co-op games. We went through [Rainbow Six] Vegas, we went through all of the map packs, and we were like "what do we have left to play?" I was like, "I have Monster Hunter. See if you can get it, online." And it was a search. He finally got it, and we've been playing the crap out of it. I love it... it's hardcore, though. I love that kind of stuff, too. Like monsters and fantasy... nothing like stabbing a raptor with a lance. (laughs)
So back to this! About the characters -- who is your target audience, who do you want to identify with these people? Or do you want them to identify with them?
CF: Well, they’re both older. If someone’s been in the military, I’m sure they can identify with Rios who’s an older, more experienced veteran, and then we have Salem who come from a mixed background. He came from a little bit of a criminal background. He’s all tatted up and he’s a litter more hardcore. What we do is -- if you've ever seen a buddy cop film, there’s always some sort of joking back and forth between the two characters, but there’s some grim reality they have to face. Some dire ending, like even Bad Boys, all the Lethal Weapons. It's always like there’s some greater scheme.
So that why we have this harsh reality story, we kind of mix it up with the banter between the two characters. But we also give the player the chance to make them their own, with the weapons, the armor and the face masks. At some point that gets lost -- but we keep it alive with the dialogue and the banter.
Do you buy weapons with real money?
CF: You earn money as you complete objectives.
No, I mean -- do you pay money on Xbox Live?
CF: We will have downloadable content in the game. As to the extent of what it is, and how much it will cost, or if it will cost anything -- I don’t know. That's not my decision to make; it comes more from the producer. Personally I’d love to see a ton of downloadable content, and a ton of guns, and I’d love to give it all away for free but... it is a business.
The reason I ask about identifying, is that increasingly with these games, the protagonists are people that I find difficult to identify with personally. Because they’re like the super macho jocks I always avoided in college. Do you think that's an issue? Actually, it probably won’t be an issue because most people don’t feel that way.
CF: I think the thing is, too, is in this sort of game, it’s what those guys are. You meet a SEAL... we have a contractor that comes in and he’s the kind if guy that I never want to mess with. And he’ll go out and he’ll party. I’m not a big club guy. I’d rather sit home and play a video game. I’m a nerd, right? I make video games for a living, and I love video games. I'd even go and play a pen and paper RPG rather than go out and party half the time. I feel that -- with any other game, it’s always a big macho guy. So we kind of have the skinnier guy and the macho guy. But, again, they’re both warriors, and they’re out there risking their life and to fit in with that story, they kind of have to be in that mindset. And we watch them change as they realize... as the climate changes within the story.
So they, themselves, are going to have that kind of arc of realization?
CF: Oh yeah, for sure!
Excellent. This might be a sort of sticky question... but it definitely seems that you can read a lot of homoeroticism into the relationship between these two characters. Is that going to be an issue?
CF: You know what? It’s an easy target. It’s such an easy thing to point out. And we’ve had guys come by today and in the co-op parachute -- “oh, it looks a little snug!” Making jokes. You know, these guys are going into war and doing their thing. If people want to make those jokes out of it, and try to get a laugh, good for them. We don’t focus on it in the game because they’re not like that. They’re just two guys working together, to make some money.
For awhile we did have some humorous stuff, where one guy would hit the other guy on the butt, like a sports kind of congratulations, and stuff. And we’ll still have some of that in there, but people take out of it what they want. When you see the story, it’s nothing like that.
I'm sure the YouTube edits will be brilliant.
CF: I'm sure it'll be like Red vs. Blue. (laughs)
On the tech side, what are you using?
CF: We’re using Unreal.
I was wondering if maybe it was some legacy RenderWare stuff.
CF: We moved through a bunch of different tech and finally ended up with Unreal. We just found that it offered us everything that we needed, especially with the network stuff for co-op.
Unreal 3 was built for this kind of thing.
CF: And that’s our focus. It has to be dialed. It has to be the best it can be, we can’t skimp on something like that.
Is there anything else you wanted to get across about the game?
CF: I think we discussed mostly all of it. When you play it you’ve just got to learn to think a little differently. You’re going to have to learn how to play and learn how to play a little differently. And hopefully we’ll be able to teach you that. I’m hoping that especially Joe Gamer, who doesn’t even check the internet that much, who just picks up game and plays it, buys it at Wal-Mart and wants to go play it... they’ll be able to understand it, and get across -- even if they play with just the AI, they’ll understand that it’s a still two-man scenario.
I think that the hardest thing -- just for me -- is the stopping block of “I have to realize this is probably going to be fun.” But it’s daunting, just to me.
CF: It’s the same thing if you hand an RPG to someone who’s never played an RPG, right? You need to understand the menu systems, you need to understand how stuff works. It’s exactly what World of Warcraft did for MMOs. It took something that was so unapproachable, and now everyone’s playing it. I’m sure it’s one of the most successful games to date as far as income.
Before that the last time you’re
looking at MMOs -- like EverQuest and Final Fantasy XI were so hard
and so restrictive. [Blizzard] just took this and made it for a mass market,
and explained it. That’s what we’re trying to do with co-op. We’re trying to take that and explain it to everyone and say “here
you go” and hopefully we’ll have as much success as they did... you've got to speak to people in a language they understand.
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