Katrina's a kind of political hot spot, too. When you say that the game's not really politicized as such, that kind of raises another flag. I mean, is using these politically relevant situations but not politicizing them intentional? Is that what you thought would add variety?
RS: We looked at a lot of the footage of what... we didn't set a level inside the events of Katrina. But what we looked at was, we looked at the devastation that Katrina caused, in terms of massive flooding and destruction. And we have some real interesting water technology in Army of Two, so we thought that would be really interesting, to leverage -- we have real-time water simulation, which looks pretty amazing.
The artists and engineers were able to do some great stuff with it. No one's really ever played a game set in a flooded disaster area. So we thought that would be a really interesting area to set one of the levels in. So we built that into the game.
So, talking about that, what engine technology are you using on this game?
RS: We're running it off Unreal Engine 3.
How many people do you have working on the team at the height of production?
RS: There's generally about eighty guys on the team. It's obviously plus or minus depending on where you are in a given timeframe. But the core of it was eighty people who I can't say enough great things about them. Super passionate about the game. Really talented group, and they really, they're the ones that deserve all the credit for what Army of Two is, because the amount of people required to make a game now is so big. I'm sitting here giving this interview, but it's really about the creativity and the passion that the team has, and they're the ones that deserve all the credit for it.
Did you have any trouble getting
it working on PlayStation 3 with Unreal Engine?
RS: When we began to work on Unreal Engine 3, our version for Army of Two is pretty heavily modified. We've added tone-mapping, and high dynamic range lighting. We added our water simulation, we added our post-processing effects, all the A.I. behaviors -- everything was built from scratch for Army of Two. And we had a really, really talented PlayStation 3 team, who've been able to make the visual quality and the play experience -- I mean it's, it runs at a consistent 30 frames. Visually, it's, it looks as good as the 360. I mean, all credit goes to those guys. They've done a fantastic job.
And are all those technical achievements, and all you've done for Unreal Engine 3, is that stuff you're going to carry forward at other projects at EA? Both in your studio, and do you think, maybe, more broadly?
RS: I can't tell you guys too much about it, but what I can tell you is we have a lot of ideas for where we want to take the Army of Two technology. We've got an amazing baseline now, of this engine that's really built from the ground up for co-op, and what I can say is, we want to take that in different ways.
EA's got studios all over the world.
They acquired Pandemic and BioWare, as well. A lot of these different
studios may be working on Unreal Engine projects, or co-op game projects.
How does that influence you guys? Or
does that influence you guys? You just go and do the thing you
want to do, and then you can then share what you work on?
RS: I'm pretty excited about [that
acquisition]. I think nothing but the highest respect for the other
guys over at Pandemic and BioWare. They do some amazing, amazing work.
I think it'd be great for us to learn from them. And hopefully they'll
be able to learn from us as well, from some things that we've done.
Obviously, EA is a large company that wants to manage a portfolio of titles. In terms of our newer stuff that we want to do in the future -- our execs see everything, so my gut instinct is that we're not going to have two competing games. But at this point I they're going to do, they're going to continue to do great work, and I hope to learn from them, personally.
But also across other established
studios in EA -- like EALA. If they were going to do a game with similar
facets to what you've pioneered, how does that arrangement work?
RS: So we share video conferences with the guys over in EALA. Obviously they're, they've been using Unreal Engine 3 for some of their titles. Yeah, so, we work independently, in terms of [how] we're not reliant upon each other in terms of getting the final product out, but any ways that we can work with them to -- if they've done something really, really cool? And we want to take it? We'll look at it like it goes both ways. They've been able to put some products out now, on the engine.
I talk with their guys once every few weeks, and they talk with us. And there were some times when we were developing on PlayStation 3, where we shared information back and forth as well.