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'Pilot Down' (PC/PS2/Xb) - Developer Interview & Screens

by Thomas on May 21, 2003 @ 5:11 a.m. PDT

Pilot Down is based on a true story.. 180,000 Allied airmen were shot down over enemy territory during WWII. 5,000 landed safely and tried to reach the free world. Only 300 of them succeeded in reaching Switzerland. Shot down over Germany in the winter of 1944, Bill Foster, a US Airman, is about to embark on the most daring journey of World War II. Bill must survive against the elements in an epic adventure behind enemy lines. Reaching the Swiss border is his only goal and the manhunt is on: pursued by the most elite German forces, incapable of speaking without giving himself away, all he can rely on is his survival kit, weaponry and wits. Bill will cross the harsh environments of central Europe during winter, avoiding the enemy patrols that inhabit the towns, villages and forests of Germany and France on the way to the Swiss border. The player must use stealth, resourcefulness and combat to guarantee survival while Captain Killinger, a notorious Luftwaffe pilot, hunts him down and develops into a dangerous enemy within the game...

Q. Who are the developers of Pilot Down?
Wide Games Studios. Wide Games was set up in 1999 by a group of seven hip young gaming idealists who were convinced that there was a better way to create innovative cutting edge games. Brighton was chosen as a lively creative city, perfect for a new games development company, they all moved into seaside premises and Wide Games was up and running. Since those early days Wide Games have quadrupled in size and they now have a team of over 25 talented, creative and imaginative staff. They develop games on PC, PS2 and X Box. First major title was Prisoner of War.

Q. What was the source of inspiration for the Pilot Down scenario?
The concept was developed in house at Wanadoo. The scenario is based on authentic facts, putting together adventures of several allied pilots during WWII. In total 180 000 airmen were shot down in European enemy territories during WWII. 5 000 landed safely and tried to reach free world. 300 succeeded in reaching Switzerland. They had to survive with minimal equipments and their wits against harsh conditions on journeys of many hundreds miles. Pilot Down will feature the adventures of a lone airman shot down over Germany in winter 1944, surviving and escaping, trying to reach Switzerland.

Q. What kind of graphic option did you choose?
Stylised realism, which means have stylised environment and characters but with realistic details. Many current WWII games aim for ultra realism, on the other hand, we can see a new trend in graphics: cell shading and cartoon style which seems to meet expectations of many players and as well a more mass market audience, women, who can find too much realism not so attractive. We thought this kind of graphics would fit very well to the game, bring a fresh angle and allow us to be different from competition. We will go even deeper into this direction with the use of comics between levels, inspired by the "Commando" comics release in the 70's in the UK or Sergeant Roch in the 60's and 70's.

Q. What type of gameplay is it?
The gameplay is original and mixes several genres, close to: 50% stealth, 25% combat and 25% character management-RPG.
Character management includes management of 9 skills, which can develop according to the player's actions (strength, endurance, stealth, shooting ...) and management of character survival (through a health and temperature bar) in extreme climatic conditions. So Pilot Down will be the first RPG on console to take place during the Second World War!

Q. How is the game divided?
There are 7 big chapters, in very different environments (German town, forest, train station...). In each level the player will have as primary objective to go safely through the map but he will also have secondary objectives to help the war effort such as steal important documents or sabotage German equipments... Experience points will be awarded to the player for completing both primary and secondary objectives during each level.

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