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Medal of Honor Airborne

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA

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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Medal of Honor Airborne' (ALL) Developer Q&A

by Rainier on Nov. 2, 2006 @ 10:26 a.m. PST

Step into the boots of Boyd Travers, Private First Class of the 82nd Airborne Division and engage in battles throughout Europe. From rocky beginnings in Sicily to war-winning triumphs in Germany, each mission begins behind enemy lines, with an intense and fully interactive airdrop. Your ability to determine your own starting point dramatically changes the way each mission plays out. View the entire operation from the air, and then control your parachute to choose your landing spot. On the ground, gather your senses and assess the terrain. A wide variety of authentic, customizable weapons are at your disposal, each with distinct characteristics. Choose your path in this free roaming FPS environment. Medal of Honor Airborne will also feature exceptionally photo-realistic characters, adding to the intensity of the cinematic, story-driven game.

Step into the boots of Boyd Travers, Private First Class of the 82nd Airborne Division and engage in battles throughout Europe. From rocky beginnings in Sicily to war-winning triumphs in Germany, each mission begins behind enemy lines, with an intense and fully interactive airdrop. Your ability to determine your own starting point dramatically changes the way each mission plays out. View the entire operation from the air, and then control your parachute to choose your landing spot. On the ground, gather your senses and assess the terrain. A wide variety of authentic, customizable weapons are at your disposal, each with distinct characteristics. Choose your path in this free roaming FPS environment. Medal of Honor Airborne will also feature exceptionally photo-realistic characters, adding to the intensity of the cinematic, story-driven game.

Q: Your name/role on Medal of Honor: Airborne.

My name is Patrick Gilmore, and I’m the Executive Producer of Medal of Honor Airborne.

Q: What is the story behind the MoH: Airborne game?

PG: The story focus of the game is on the odyssey of the Airborne forces through World War II. There are five historic operations, Husky, Avalanche, Neptune, Market Garden and Varsity. As Private Travers and Pathfinder Eddie La Pointe, you will jump into each one, playing through Italy, France and, finally, Germany following the march to Berlin that effectively ended the European campaign.

  • Operation Husky, July 10, 1943, Italy
  • Operation Avalanche, September 13 1943, Italy
  • Operation Neptune, June 6 1944, France
  • Operation Market Garden, September 17, 1944, Holland
  • Operation Varsity, March 24, 1945, Germany

Q: People have been complaining about too many WWII based games for a along time, what set MoH: Airborne apart from the pack?

PG: Airborne is fundamentally about freedom and player choice. From the first step out of the plane, the player is in control of how the experience plays out. The player defines their landing spot, angle of approach, tactics and style throughout the game. That's a big difference from the rail-ride shooting galleries we've seen within the genre in the past.

If you can land anywhere in the battle area, even on sniper towers and church steeples, the game cannot be linear.

We are committed to making a more choice-driven game. That has required us to change the way we design levels and the way we craft non-player-character interactions.

The NPCs are largely driven by our new Affordance engine, which makes enemies aware of the value of the terrain around them, and causes them to prioritize high-value resources (like a pillbox) over lower value (a trench) or even lower value (a blasted tree stump) or no value (open ground). This results in lots of cool dynamic offensive and defensive tactics, no matter which direction the player approaches from. Both the Ally and Enemy AI utilise this engine.

Q: Tell us more about the variety of missions we will encounter throughout the game?

PG: For each of the five operations, there will be two major missions. You will experience the operation as both the Pathfinder Eddie La Pointe and Private Travers. Pathfinders dropped before the main force to designate drop zones with radio beacons. These missions are focussed on stealth. When you have achieved your objective as Eddie you will then jump in again as Private Travers along with rest of the Airborne troops. Literally hundreds of allies will be jumping in at one time.

Q: Explain to me the experience the player will have when parachuting?

PG: We have conducted extensive research to ensure the authenticity of the airdrop experience. Beyond the team members who have actually jumped, we have interviewed many veterans who have been through an authentic Airborne experiences.

The MOH team works closely with the lead historian at the National WWII museum, Marty Morgan, who is an authority on the Airborne. He actually bought a C47 that actually flew in Normandy, he restored it to flying condition, and flew it to New Orleans, where he had it installed in the National D-Day Museum.

Marty arranged a flight for some members of the MOH team. The team photographed and measured and took textures off of every corner of the aircraft. Then we mic’ed the entire plane, and so, will be the first game in history to feature the actual sound of an aircraft that participated in one of the world’s largest military operations. When you’re in the C47 in Airborne, you are in a real C47.

Q: How much choice does the player have when landing?

PG: Where we wanted to give players maximum control of the jump, it was also very important to us that the gameplay was accurate.

The net result is that, from the moment your chute pops, you have full steering control. The player can land anywhere they want, and the battle will unfold from there. You can land on rooftops, in back alleys, on top of the primary objective, pretty much wherever you want.

You can also flare your chute to slow your descent, which you need to do if you want to be able to get into combat quickly.

If you get a botched landing, you will go down hard, lose some health, and have to stand, unclip, and draw your weapon before you get into combat just like would have happened historically. Depending upon the enemies in the area you land, that can be the difference between life and death.
The level layout is all about freedom. The AI works well with a branching factor of 3, which is to say there are three entrances/exits to almost every location in a mission.
There are also multiple secret paths to the rooftops, which are also playable and from the there you can leap from one roof to another.

Q: Tell us about the customizable weapons feature in MoH: Airborne.

PG: Historically, there were a variety of upgrades, field modifications and customizations used by soldiers in WWII, so the accuracy and real-world analogs are all in place. As far as how it works in game, there are really two things a player has to do in order to use an upgrade.

First, the player needs a proficiency rating with the weapon he wants to upgrade. Proficiency ratings come in several levels, again according to the military standard of recognizing experts, marksmen and sharpshooters across various weapon types. Second, the player needs to actually find the upgrade in a dropped supply bundle, dropped as a trophy held by an enemy, or squirreled away by the local resistance. Once you have both the upgrade and the proficiency to use it, you can apply it to your weapon.
This means that players will have to invest in their proficiency with a select few weapons, and make choices about which weapon they want to make most powerful.

An example of this would be a forward pistol grip to the Thompson therefore upgrading the gun to carry a 50 round magazine or you can use a Natts Compensator, which pumped gas upward to offset the affects of recoil dramatically affecting the accuracy of the gun when firing multiple rounds.

Q: What is True Trigger?

PG: True Trigger is a feature that allows the player to slowly squeeze the trigger to find the 2nd Stage of the trigger to help them experience focusing in on target. When perfectly executed, a perfectly accurate shot will happen. This is a skill that players should be able to master and once done so the really good players should be able to always execute perfect shots relatively quickly.

Q: Does the game have a multiplayer mode?

PG: Yes the game will have a multiplayer mode. It will include around 7 Maps, 12-15 players or more and primarily Death-match focused. Stay tuned for more details.

Medal of Honor Airborne has not yet been rated, and will ship to stores in Winter 2006 for the PS3, X360, PS2, Xbox and PC.


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