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Two Different Soldiers Talk Army of Two
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Two Different Soldiers Talk Army of Two

December 7, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 8 Next

So when you get approached to work on a game, do they develop the concept with you at all? Where is it in the development stage that you're brought in?

WM: It all depends on the company. EA started from scratch, bringing me in from the very beginning. They had some -- obviously, they always get their writers together, the developers, they get their artists together, they get the engineers together, and they start developing certain things. They kind of get, like, a ballpark of what they want to do, and then they bring in guys at the very beginning, to make sure it's going down the right road.

You know: "How do we customize weapons? How do we make these guys look the way they're supposed to look? How does the gear really going to wear, you know? What are they wearing? What's the latest and greatest? What's going on? Are there any things that we don't know about? How do they act? How do they talk? What's the industry about?" And they collect all that; they harvest all that information at the very, very beginning, and they put it together with the startings of what they had, and then they of go from there.

Then of course it turns into a massive building this engine, doing that, doing this; there's just tons of work to do. And then the other big sprint to the finishing line is during the marketing phase, when we're coming out, to say: "Hey, these guys have been contacting me along the entire process; asking me certain questions, and I've provided with pictures and attitude."

The thing with me is, I have access to all of that. I have access to all of the military units; all of the private areas. I know what's the latest and greatest weaponry, the gear, the equipment, the way things are going. I can provide that for them constantly; constant feedback with them. And that's been a real advantage for 'em.

Do you focus on consulting now exclusively?

WM: I currently am still a full-time contractor for these companies -- for security firms.

Oh really?

WM: Yes. And that is a daunting job, of, you know, between 60 and 80 hours a week. And then I do the entertainment consulting on the side.

So do you travel overseas to do that stuff, and then come back to work on these game projects?

WM: Yep. I will -- right now, my job consists of managing the guys that do that right now, but yes, I'm always available to go overseas at any time.

How does that work, in terms of -- this project had a, let's say give-or-take three year dev cycle -- and they needed you, I'm assuming, periodically throughout?

WM: Yeah. The beginning and the end are the two big, big pushes. And then, periodically throughout, they tap me for information. Which gives me a break too, because I've been concentrating on my other work.

And then I have other gigs that I've been working with, too. I've worked with Ubisoft, for the Splinter Cell series -- and the same thing there. Totally different type of game, though; stealth game.

And now that I'm, you know, I am getting older, and towards retiring out of the business. It's been over 21 years now, and so I'm getting to the point where I need to -- starting to move more and more into the games.

Like I said, I'm tired of seeing the movies and the games that are being consulted by the wrong people, so I'm available now for that, and I'm moving down that road. But to do it, it takes a lot of time, so you've got to have the time to do it.

What sort of influence would you say you've had over this game?

WM: Well, you know, I give all the credit to the EA development team. You know, the writers. Those guys are brilliant. The things that they came up with are -- they're interesting, they're witty, they're with the times, they know the gaming industry very, very well. They know what gamers want to see, they know how to sell the product.

And then I think that there's a whole other group of gamers out there that are kind of like part-time gamers. You know, guys like me, who, who aren't, that's not what they do, full-time live and play games; they actually have another life that they do, and then they play games for entertainment.

What EA's been able to do is, is tap both of those markets. Very, very well. And they're using the real people to bring it in. They're using people with credibility. People that are relatively bullet-proof, if you will. 'Cause they're not just guys saying they did this, that, or the other thing; where there are some consultants right now that are consulting for games on tactical stuff, that aren't even tactical. So it is interesting in that respect. EA's got a bunch of smart people -- bringing in the right people to push the game, that's the main thing. It's entertainment.

That's sort of an interesting topic. I mean they bring you in, obviously -- or at least I would infer -- to add a real, gritty realism to it. So, you really know what goes on out there; you really know what goes on with their equipment, and everything. But there's a certain extent to which it's unrealistic. I mean, how does that get balanced, do you think?

WM: Well, I mean, no one wants to play a game that's too realistic. It'd be boring. I mean, there are games out there right now, that if you don't play 'em, like you would do in real life -- who has time for that? There are games out there that people just don't even finish, 'cause they're just too slow, because... There're games, for instance, out there right now -- I don't wanna name 'em -- if you play it exactly by the rules, the way you're supposed to do it, you'll live. But if you run out there and try and have fun and get it over with, you get killed.

Take Halo 3, for example. That's a fantastic game, everybody loves Halo 3, but that is a fantasy game. Everybody likes it because of that reason. They love playing the game; the fact that they can pick up a grenade that they can throw and it'll stick to another guy, doesn't exist. And it's how you make a game that interesting, that exciting, that is also as real as it possibly could be. Without making it too boring. That's a very difficult task, but EA's been able to pull it off with Army of Two.

I mean, by far the most interesting thing about it is the co-op. Co-op blows everything out of the water. Because in real life, I mean, the same saying that I said earlier today is the same saying that I've been saying for over twenty years: "one is none and two is one". And you're going to need two guys on every mission, to do anything. And those two guys have got be able to interact socially and professionally as well. Everybody's heard of the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, where the Spartans took on over a million Persians.

Well, everyone's seen 300.

WM: Yeah, well, there's a scene in 300, where they talk about when the Persians fire their arrows, there's so many that it blocks out the sun. And the Spartans come back and say: "Well, we'll fight in the shade." I mean, to be able to come up with something funny like that in the midst of an arduous situation, in the middle of battle, that's totally realistic; and that's what they've also brought -- that element to the game as well. And they've been able to crack the code on "How do we do something that's realistic? Something that could happen, and still entertain me as any other game that's ever been brought out there." By making it co-op blows everybody out of the water, in that sense.


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