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Feature:  Brink  And The Changing Definition Of A Single Player Shooter

Feature: Brink And The Changing Definition Of A Single Player Shooter

May 10, 2011 | By Staff

May 10, 2011 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Design

As part of Gamasutra's latest feature, Splash Damage CEO Paul Wedgewood explains how he feels the definition of single player shooters is too restrictive -- as his studio's game Brink strives to fundamentally change it.

The game features team-based challenges which can be played cooperatively with human AI or bots. Wedgewood hopes that players will transition from enjoying it as a run-and-gun spectacle to learning the mechanics and eventually play it online -- potentially in tight-knit teams if they get hooked.

One thing it does not resemble, however, is the Call of Duty or Halo-style cinematic FPS.
"Sure; if we put you on a minecart and play the same cinematics, it would feel more like a traditional single player game," says Wedgewood.

"But, to me, the definition of single player is simply a game that you can have fun playing on your own. It's the important thing that defines single-player gaming," he says. "To be single player doesn't mean you have to look and feel and breathe like every other linear, single player shooter."

He continues, "Now, the thing is, RPGs don't feel like big action cinema, and yet people have really great fun playing them. RTSes don't feel like action cinema, but they're great fun to play on your own against the AI."

In fact, Wedgewood feels that for some reason, the shooter genre is viewed more restrictively versus other types of games. "Most genres don't bother with [a cinematic feel]. It really just seems to be third-person action adventures and shooters that are stuck in the mold of constant constraint and removal of player interactivity."

Brink, then, is designed with very deliberately different priorities. "I think we're quite proud of the fact that our investment is in interactivity and emergent gameplay, not in orchestrated, scripted, canned cinematics that you have no impact on and can't change and always happen and occur in exactly the same way."

"A better comparison is to think of something like a racing game. With the racing genre, you can have great fun playing on your own, and you can have great fun playing against other people. Obviously, the story mode -- the campaign mode -- is a lot lighter than a traditional story-driven game. We try to be somewhere mid-point."

The full feature-length interview, in which Wedgewood goes into much greater depth about his team's approach to developing Brink, is live now on Gamasutra.

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