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Interview - Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 developer talk

Interview - Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 developer talk
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DEVELOPER: City Interactive
COMPANY: Namco Bandai
PLATFORM: Xbox PlayStation Nintendo Mobile PC / Mac
POSTED:
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ArabicGamers had the chance to catch up with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 producer Michael Sroczynski to discuss his thoughts and feelings regarding the upcoming shooter. We talk about improvements made since the last game, adding multiplayer in the future and we even find out the main character's favourite food.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior was a little misunderstood, I feel, in the last game. What have you done this time to make it more accessible to players?

We learnt our lessons, took away the things that the players did not have fun with and condensed the stuff that made the original SGW such a success. We’ve done several things to make the game more approachable to gamers this time around. The mechanics are more robust and will not allow you to play it like CoD. You need to be stealthy, you need to plan and use your ability to employ tactics more frequently than your trigger finger. We’ve also included difficulty level selection that can really change the experience for gamers – you’ll be able to adjust the game to your playstyle, the aiming assistors will be disabled and so on. This way, you can really feel like a true sniper. Not to mention whole set of real military gadgets to make this feeling even more authentic!

I was probably the last game's biggest fan (I actually gave it the highest score on metacritic!), but it did feel a little clunky last time, especially with the story. How has this changed?

We have cooperated with few acclaimed movie writers on the main plot this time. Their role was mainly to provide a firm “scaffolding” to our ideas on how the game should feel. Our internal narrative designers were keeping an eye for the game not to pass a certain point and become a movie-like experience where you watch more than play. This time around, the story is much more complex and immersive.

The concept of a sniper game is brilliant, but unfortunately snipers can spend hours and days in the same position.  How does this game treat the laborious task of waiting?

First of all, I’d like to emphasize that SGW2 is not a simulator per se. We wanted to achieve a perfect balance of authenticity and realism. We thought about that long and hard and the only conclusion is that this sort of super-realistic gameplay would just be boring. In real life there are plenty of situations where the sniper doesn’t even get the green light to shoot. Imagine that, playing for an hour just to then retreat, even despite you having your target on a platter. We had to do this, since Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is, well, a game. We do, however, mimic the tactical process of getting to that perfect spot – you’ll be tired from walking, that’s a promise, but in a cool way.

One of my pet hates in the last game was the "loud" sections where you were given an assault rifle and had to charge through oil rigs.  It felt very out of place.  Can we expect the same now, or is the whole game based on sniping?

As I’ve said before, it’s out. Since we had the extra time, we could devote it entirely to sniping and tactical approach. Gamers’ feedback was clear – if you buy a game about snipers, you want to be sniper, not a foot soldier. Fair and simple.

There are some very interesting story lines in this game.  How do you treat these recent political events without trivialising them?

We treat them with respect. Despite it is “only a game”, war is still a serious thing in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. It may be a little spoiler, but some of the events in the game are CAUSED by the fact that we don’t treat the subject as a trivial thing. You may have seen a glimpse of this in the Bosnia War Crimes Trailer… what’s more, we’re not trying to be historians here. We’re not recreating real stories. It’s just a fiction. Nothing more.

Graphics are a key thing in a sniping game, there is a risk that you could end up just pixel hunting.  How do you combat that?

By developing the game in such a way, that situations where you have to pixel hunt are less likely to happen. It’s also connected with the difficulty level but I don’t want to spoil that. By the way, since we’re mentioning graphics: it’s CryEngine 3, one of the best looking engines on the market! We’re proud of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2’s looks and different locations we have created. Compare Tibet locations to Sarajevo and you will see a great difference that not only shows power of the engine, but also affects gameplay itself.

One of my favourite things about the previous sniper game was the spotting.  Can we expect to see more of this?

Definitely. Cooperation between sniper and spotter was one of the gamers’ favourite bit of the original game. We decide to focus even more on that this time. To say it bluntly, if you don’t spot, you drop… dead.

Will there be multiplayer, and how will that work?

Since you’ve mentioned it, we’ve recently answered this on our Facebook page – a place where we communicate with the fans a lot. Our main goal is to tell a great single player story. This is something we had in our minds when first approaching the idea of Sniper and that hasn’t changed. We’ve figured out that focusing on SP first, and then supporting MP after launch for a long time, is a better strategy than doing half of these things at the same time at launch.

So, there will be basic multiplayer in the game and we will watch it carefully. If there will be huge interest in that, we will add more modes to satisfy online community.

The last sniping game to be released was Sniper Elite V2, a different game from a different publisher set in a different time.  It did ok, and there were some cool little features in that (such as the traps, the slow mo bullets - which I know you did too in the last game), but the question is do you try to compete with that, do you learn from the release and reviews and do you tweak your game to make it better?

As you’ve said yourself – it’s a different game. We’ve obviously played Sniper Elite and we’re sure the good people at Rebellion played Ghost Warrior but apart from the sniper in both games, it’s a totally different experience. And our guns shoot farther ;).

What real life input from the military have you had, if any? Do you use consultants?

Yes we do consult real military experts but we’re not allowed to talk about it that much. You’d be amazed how much stuff you don’t even notice happens when a sniper takes the shot. Like stopping to breathe and not inhaling any air. We even recorded muscle tension with a camera attached to a rifle. Cool stuff, really.

The dev team was coached on how a real sniper rifle operates, what are the crucial factors in operating one and then practiced that on the range. I think what they’ve learnt is really visible in the game and will provide gamers with that extra layer of authenticity they come to expect of SGW2. One very cool feature we introduced, thanks to this, is what we call the Motion Sense Trigger System mentioned before.

How accurate are the weapons to their real life counterparts?

Very. We’ve spent a load of time on making the rifles look as real as it can get. All in all, it’s the rifles that are the second main hero of the game.

Finally, more of a request than a question, give us something exclusive to report that no one else knows!!

Anderson loves dubstep and when he’s not saving the world, he likes to cook traditional Polish dishes like Bigos.

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