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From DICE to Danger Close: The Man Who Changed Medal of Honor
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From DICE to Danger Close: The Man Who Changed Medal of Honor


October 24, 2012 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4
 

We all know there's kinds of players, some people really want multiplayer, some people want single player, some people dip in and out of one or the other. How do you look at your audience, that split? Do you see a split?

KB: There is a split. We're a single player franchise. Traditionally we've been a very strong single player franchise. That's also one of the reasons why I think it's so important that the tools that the player learns when you play single player applies to multiplayer: to make that transition as smooth as possible.

Of course we want players who mainly play single-player, once they're done with it, "I'm gonna try multiplayer." And they feel at home. It's a different arena, it's a different kind of challenge, but at as I said, at least he knows how to play. I think that's extremely important to this franchise.

You worked on Bad Company, which was DICE's really breakthrough single player experience for Battlefield. But DICE has much more of a multiplayer culture, whereas I guess Medal of Honor, as you said, has had a long history of single player culture. Is that a shift in thinking?

KB: It was really interesting, because I've seen this situation at DICE already, but reversed. DICE did a great transition into single player. It was a lot of work, of course, there were a lot lessons to be learned, but I think it turned out great, I had so much fun with the Battlefield 3 single player.

And it's very interesting to just take everything I learned by looking at it over there and apply it, but in reverse to this studio. A big part of my job is being to build a multiplayer culture within Danger Close -- or rather, expand the one that was there.

But it's fun, so we've been working a lot with player tests, getting players in from all departments within the studio. We've had daily playtests for a couple of years now. It's really fun to see everyone come together.

Did you port DICE ways of doing things -- essentially, best practices -- into the studio? Because, obviously, it had its own way of working before you got there.

KB: I think so, in a way. I've been at DICE for many years. The senior development director for multiplayer is also ex-DICE, Christian Grass, so obviously there are ways of how -- everything we learned, of course, that made sense, that happened at DICE was applied into this culture.

But it's really interesting to come here because you meet a lot of people who've done things differently, to great success -- and this exchange we had, "We did this at DICE", "We did this here". We've had many discussions and we found a good way of doing it.

We took a lot of lessons from DICE and applied it to how they were already doing rings at Danger Close, and we ended up somewhere great. We're very happy with how this development process has looked.

We had a very Agile way of working at DICE. Scrum. That fits very well with multiplayer development; single player can be a little bit different. We took that over to Danger Close, which traditionally didn't adopt Scrum like that. So it was really interesting to get that into the studio. It's one of those things that more directly addresses your question about what we brought from DICE as a multiplayer studio to Danger Close as single player studio.

Every game has its own intangible feel to it, right? You sit down at any game from any franchise -- especially ones you like -- and you can feel what game it is. And you know from iteration, from sequel to sequel… how do you define a feel for Medal of Honor as a multiplayer product?

KB: It's really hard to put words on it. Of course it comes from playing the earlier games a lot. I played so much of 2010, I played so much Allied Assault, Frontlines, and Airborne. And just tried to figure out -- I don't have words for this, but it's more about figuring out what is defining this franchise and try to keep that while we evolve.

I'm very happy with where this game ended up. Because it's not an easy balance. It's not an easy balance at all. But I think, once again, it helped being on Battlefield for many years. Battlefield has evolved a lot, but it's still Battlefield. It still has the essence of it -- I really wish I had better words for this. But it's more about feeling, It's more about playing it.

It's hard to articulate. It's like a "know it when you see it" kind of thing.

KB: Most of this happens in the fine, fine details. Like, what does the gun feel like when you run with it? How snappy is the ADS [aim down sights], bringing the gun up to your shoulder to fire? What kind of millisecond delay do you have when you go out of a sprint cycle into a weapons-ready pose? I think that's that where the magic happens. That's what determines if this game has correct gameplay or feel to it. And luckily, we'd had time with his product, has to spend a lot of time on those details. Much thanks to the regular playtesting I talked to you about.


Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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