So you guys, did you come over to EA with the intent to form as a team and make another military game, like Splinter Cell?
RS: I think we came over to EA with the intent of making a, making a new I.P. in the shooter space. Whether it was military or whether it was something else, I think that was really something that it turned into in the process. We didn't come over with the intent to make, you know: "Let's make a military game!" We knew how to make great shooters. If you asked us to make a football game, we'd probably be the worst people on the planet to do that. But in terms of making a shooter, that's one thing the team's going to do really well, in terms of focusing on that.
And you talked about how the idea
went through some iterations, or you went through some concepts, such
as "buddy cops" or whatever, that didn't pan out. How did
you end up developing the idea that you ended up with?
RS: Well, we actually -- it's funny, a couple years ago there was an article in Time magazine. And it was an article about the rise of Private Military Contractors. And then -- ever since about three years ago, actually at this point -- and it's interesting because now Blackwater is getting all this attention, and all this focus.
But three years ago this wasn't a big [deal.] This was just at the point where PMCs -- Private Military Corporations -- were starting to really have a big influence in the Gulf War, and the conflicts in Afghanistan, that sort of thing. So, this was, this was a topic that we looked at, we were like: "That's an interesting setting. No one's really explored that genre yet." And then we said: "That's our setting. That's what we're going to make the game based on; make the game around."
We started researching this, and we learned -- when you start to do research on it, you learn about companies like Blackwater or DynCorp. These are companies that are making billions and billions of dollars, and a lot of people don't really know about them. Now they're starting [to be aware]. Now it's timely, because Blackwater's in the news every day.
You've tapped some zeitgeist somehow, you know. Maybe it's luck, in a certain sense. You picked a good topic, definitely.
RS: Yeah, but there is a bit of luck associated with it. I mean, you know, we picked a topic that was interesting to us, and now it's timely. I mean, I think what's happened, obviously, in Iraq, is really horrific and all that -- we don't want to gain based on the people's misfortune. But at the same time, ultimately, people playing Army of Two, if they're researching Blackwater, and if this causes them to learn more about what's really going on in the rest of the world, then that's great.
How politicized would you say that the game content is?
RS: We're not out to make a political statement. But if people are able to come to their own conclusions, then that's pretty cool. We want to expose what really goes on out there. The game is still taken with that -- it's interesting, because the background is really serious, it deals with 9/11, terrorism, and that's really the larger overall storyline, but you know, in terms of how the characters are interacting with each other all the time, they're really interacting in that "buddy cop" kind of a way. Where they're messing with each other.
They give each other a hard time. That's what they do. So it's got this really serious backdrop, and then the way that the characters' dialog -- which is what really brings the characters to life -- has these little bits of comedic moments to it.
So, you would say that it's a character-focused kind of game?
RS: Sure. For us it's... when you're making games now, character-focused games, it's really important to start to think: who your characters are, what motivates them, and why they exist. Why they exist, and why they do what they do. So, we have some, two really talented scriptwriters on the game. They were really helpful to us, in fleshing out their characters. Fleshing out the characters inside Army of Two. They did a really, really great job with that, and when we began to build out these characters, we really gave them personalities.
So, one guy is the young, hot, he can fly off the handle easily, served time in jail. The other, more experienced guy. What really sells the characters, and when you play the game I think you'll experience this as well: the dialog, and the banter back and forth, is really what brings out their personalities. So, you know, we have, we have some really funny lines in the game, we have some serious lines in the game, but when they, the way they interact, is how you'd expect, you know, two guys in this "buddy cop" kind of feel to interact.