As the video game medium (and its
audience) matures, it's only natural that designers would start to
leave the realm of pure fantasy and want to explore current real life
issues in their games. Haze, Army of Two or the
recently released BlackSite: Area 51 have all been socially or
politically conscious to various degrees.
Another such title that has
received little attention so far is Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty. Developed
quietly by a team of veterans from the Medal of Honor and Call
of Duty series, the game orchestrates a fictional invasion of
America by Nazi Germany -- a powerful and thought-provoking
Recently, Gamasutra had the opportunity to talk to Craig
Allen, CEO of Southern California-based studio Spark Unlimited, developer of Turning
Point. Throughout the interview, he discussed the grey nature of
war and the importance of choices simple citizens have to make, drew
parallels to events current and past such as 9/11, and, despite clear
hesitations to describe the title as a political game, confessed his
hope to make a difference through the video game medium.
My first thought when I saw the
poster for the game was, do we need another World War II game? So, do
Well, we wouldn't really describe it as
a World War II game. It's an alternate history game that leads to a
conflict in 1953. So in our timeline, World War II never really
happened. What we're dealing with is an extrapolation of historical
events from a turning point in 1931 and really saying, what if
America never got involved in the war in Europe? What if a united
Nazi Germany basically attacked America in 1950 at the height of a
kind of an American isolationism?
How that plays out may, at first
blush, kind of look like a World War II game, but you can see that
there is a lot of new evolved weaponry and a lot of contrast between
who you play in our world and who you would normally play in a
typical World War II game, where you're part of maybe a big military
organization entrenched in taking on another military organization.
This is really about the underdog and trying to, in kind of a
personal way, fight for the ideals you believe in for your country.
Did you try to be historically
accurate at all?
The key is extrapolating realistically
from the history and trying to find out where things could have gone.
There are certainly a lot of World War II games and, over the last
few years, it's been a genre that really multiplied, and I do think
people are kind of tired of playing the same historical engagement
over and over again in these titles.
But what it's done is that it's
created a whole audience that is very familiar with history. And if
you study history, if you do research, one of the things that you
naturally want to do next is play "what if?" games.
Germany had attacked England instead of Russia, which was a
critically flawed endeavor? What if the decision was tactically to go
one way instead of another, where would that have led? That's really
the heart of Turning Point on a macro level. How do these big
events change the course of the world of History in a realistic way
and then on a personal level? How do the decisions you make in life
kinda tip, cause change and affect the world you live in?