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Interview: Brink (part two) – Splash Damage’s Paul Wedgwood

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 15:30 GMT By Johnny Cullen

brink2

Brink is downright fucking awesome. We know because we saw it at a pre-E3 Bethesda event outside Paris last week.

The demo was split into two, showing us one part of the story as Security and one as Resistance, with the game’s impressive scale of customisation shown off in-between.

Needless to say, “downright fucking awesome”.

After the demo was shown, we spoke to Splash Damage CEO  Paul Wedgwood. His interview took place a day after we chatted with Brink writer Ed Stern. You can get his talk here.

[Interview by Johnny Cullen]

VG247: I’m gonna start with co-op. You said at the beginning of the Q&A after the demo that you wanted to reward more players with less selfish moves. Can you explain more about that?

Paul Wedgwood: Sure. So to take an example, lets say at the start of the security tower, Richard takes the mission to plant the bomb on the conduit. If I then go into my mission, that’s when I play as a medic, when I go into my mission system, the number one thing it’s going to ask me to do is escort Jolly.

Now, if all I do is run over and stand near him and engage in combat near Richard, I’m going to start to get XP ticking into my retainer, going on just like five, five, five just because I’m near Richard and I’m doing stuff.

If I give him health and he needs it and he’s the guy who’s doing the primary objective, I’m going to get a bonus.

Also, if I give Richard health and he gives me health, or if someone else does, we only use one power pip each. But if I heal myself as a medic, it uses two power pips, so it’s cheaper for us to heal each other and buff each others weapons and look after each other than it is to play selfishly. The notion of the mechanic is that we reward you whenever you make the game more fun for other people.

Of course, we still reward you for just general kills and stuff that you get done, but almost everything that you do in the game, any mission you take on and complete, actually does end up helping your squad in some way. And in the end, it feels like your kind of playing as part of a coordinated team, even though you could be a bunch of strangers just playing together online.

You said in the demo that you just hold the SMART button down, aim it to where you’re going and Bob’s your uncle. Would you feel that’s sort of…

Paul Wedgwood: I know exactly what you’re gonna say.

Do you feel like it’s some sort of a cheap way to play?

Paul Wedgwood: No, it’s not an auto-pilot. I know it looks a bit like that when you watch me play, Actually, it’s a bit more like a sprint button or a jump button.

It’s like a contextualized jump button that understands the environment in front of me. If I am sprinting along and I look down under something and I press the button, I’ll side underneath it. If I sprint along and I look up and I press the button, I’ll mantle up over the top. If I am running towards something I can vault and I hit the button, then I’ll vault over the top. I still have to interact with the game and I have to give it my permission to do something.

The second thing is I’m not entering a canned animation, so you can interrupt it any time you like. If I’m climbing up a wall, and my first hand comes free, I can start shooting. My second hand comes free, I can start reloading. If I let go of the button, I just drop straight back down again; it’s absolutely instant.

If I’m sprinting, and I press SMART and hit crouch and I slide, I can turn sideways and start shooting while I’m sliding. And now I can do combos I couldn’t do previously, so I can sprint towards the top of the building, launch myself off the top and as I am coming down, hit SMART, hit my crouch button and absolutely land sliding, which reduces my falling damage.

If anything, for the hardcore player, it introduces a load more opportunities than you had before. It definitely isn’t an auto-pilot.

At no point is it taking over from you. All we’re really doing is removing some kind of artificial and frustrating constraints from the game that you’d never experience in real-life. Like, when you walked into this room you didn’t fall over any of the chairs, yet in shooters, we stop… all the time… because we can’t see our feet. So it seems wrong to punish people for the fact they can’t see their feet and it also seems wrong to reward people just for being good at our interface.

There’s been a lack of HUD in the gameplay videos. Can you play the game without most – or maybe without any – of the HUD features?

Paul Wedgwood: The HUD that we’re showing at the moment is just our Alpha HUD. It’s not the final HUD that will be in the shipping game, but it displays enough information for us to be able to debug the game properly, to playtest, and everything else.

The intention is that everything turns off, and it only turns on when you need to know about important information, so much of the time it will just be you and your crosshair. As and when you need to know things, they pop up. You can also go into options and you can change… components and stuff as well.

You mentioned as well in the Q&A after the demo that the AI has the same mission system as the player. Can you explain that a little bit more?

Paul Wedgwood: Imagine you kicked off the game and you weren’t in the game at all, you could just be a spectator. You can actually watch the two squads just fighting against each other and trying to get missions completed and trying to get stuff done.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m a soldier, and I bring up my objective wheel. It’s a dynamic AI system that’s actually compiling this list of missions I can do.

It takes into account my location on the battlefield, the abilities, tools and items that I am carrying in my inventory, my combat role, all of the other missions that the other people are on and the status of the map’s big objectives to create a list of five or six things that I can do that’s unique to that kind of location and that time and that moment in the game.

I could capture a command post, I could escort someone that’s doing a really big mission, I could go over there and plant something and destroy it or I could just use it to find my way to a command post so I could get another kit and perhaps do something else.

The AI works in exactly the same way. If you’re not playing medic, the team still needs to have one, so the AI’s going to use that mission system to work out who needs reviving, he’s gonna prioritize the squad-mates that are trying to do big objectives, then it’s gonna prioritize other medics because they could help more people get back on their feet, and it’s gonna prioritize other team-mates that are doing secondary missions.

They just use exactly the same priority system, the same mission system to organise themselves into a group, and the great thing is that it means if AI does nothing but simply follow the missions… Of course they’re smarter than that; they know how to use other abilities, tools, items, they know which weapons are appropriate, they’ll run for cover and they’ll hide. When they’re losing health, they’ll back off and wait and they’ll heal and they come back at you and attack again. If I hold them down, a whole bunch of them, they’ll go round the outside and start attacking you from the side instead, so they do exactly what you kinda expect a squad to do in real-life. Which is really cool.

Awesome. You mentioned Brink was being built on the basis of id Tech 4. For a start, Brink’s been built from a new engine on the basis of Tech 4, yes?

Paul Wedgwood: Yes.

Would be able to say…

Paul Wedgwood: Is it completely a new engine or is still kind of id Tech 4?

Kinda bit of both.

Paul Wedgwood: RAGE is its own game. id Tech5 is ideally suited to that, and if you’ve seen it, you know it’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful. Probably one of the best-looking games that I’ve ever seen.

But what we wanted for Brink was to be able to take advantage of things like spar-spiral texturing that allows us to have super high-resolution textures in our environments and maps and stuff, but we’re also gonna be radically changing the way movement works, the way the networking model that works, no matter how you play: single player, multiplayer or co-op.

And it means that, in essence, it’s like you’re hosting a server the entire time; just in case you change your mind and you want to invite your friend in or something like that, you have complete control, you have to give your permission.

But because of the way that works, we knew we were gonna have to take the engine in a slightly different direction, so while we’ve kind of advanced from id Tech 4 onwards – of course id Software have done the same thing with id Tech 5 – but we’re at the point where it’s really a completely new technology, highly specialized for this game.

How long can you off the beaten path with missions that aren’t connected to the main story? How long before you’re brought back to the main story arc?

Paul Wedgwood: Basically, the way that it works – and we’re pre-Beta at the moment; we’re doing Alpha play-testing, so some of this is subject to change – but we use a system at the moment where you essentially have a set amount of time your squad is gonna attempt this next objective for. And while they’re trying to complete the objective, if they’re successful, imagine for example their morale is boosted, they’ll now take additional time on the next objective they’re working towards.

That’s the time limit for getting that first big objective and the next objective done, and the game is gonna require your contribution in some form to the squad to help them progress forward. Now even those side missions, like capturing a command post, can really change the way the battle flows, because if you capture a command post everybody on your team gets an extra health pip or power pip, and the whole squad can become slightly more powerful as a result of that.

If you go up and you hack into a back door, and you open up a back route for your squad to run through because your playing operative, that opens up additional routes that makes it more likely they’re gonna complete their objective. So almost everything you do as a side-mission contributes in some way to improving the progress of your team, or impeding the progress of the enemy squad.

I asked you in the Q&A about clan support. Can you clarify what you intend to do, what you’d like to do with that?

Paul Wedgwood: Because we’re pre-Beta, most of our focus is on game balancing and deciding which things we keep because they’re fun, and which things we cut if they turn out not to be fun.

Once we get to the end of Beta, we have very ambitious plans for online services, but we’re not ready to announce yet because we haven’t finalized all of the gameplay components of the game. It would be a mistake to describe the nature of how we’d think how a perfect tournament would work if we might still change the way a gameplay mode or an objective functions.

Once we get to Beta, we’ll have a better sense of what that plan is and how it’s going to work out. But in the past we’ve always done really great things for our games and supporting the community and stuff, and we really hope to be able to do the exact same stuff going forward as well.

OK, last question. I spoke to Ed [Stern, Brink writer] about this last night. I brought up DLC for Brink, and on the screen it said “downloadable content” in the demo. What would you like to do in terms of downloadable content?

Paul Wedgwood: All we’re doing at the moment is what every good game developer should do, which is to make sure our game supports that kind of technology.

But right now, we’re just focusing on Brink 1. I think there’s loads of great potential for things that could be done, but really, I just want the studio to focus on this game first, get everything done, make sure that we’re really happy with it.

Because again, I think if we go off on a certain path of worrying too much about the design for things we’re gonna sell to people after the game has shipped… It’s kind of presumptuous, it’s nice to know they like it first. You know, that’s part of the plan.

Part of the charm. Ed also said as well about any potential plans for Brink 2 and Brink 3. Would that be something you’d like to do, maybe DLC could be branching between the two?

Paul Wedgwood: I think there will, we always want to work on things that we’ve created. But again, beyond Richard Ham, our creative director, saying “Yeah, of course I’ve thought about the future,” there are absolutely no firm plans to do anything at all at the moment.

All we’re doing is we’re focusing on Brink 1, and that’s the sole focus of the studio. It’s the only thing anybody’s working on at the studio, and I think that’s the right thing to do: make one really good game first, and then worry about what’s coming after that.

Brink releases this fall for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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1 Comments

  1. endgame

    gd stuff. it’s gd to know how SMART actually works. ty for this Johnny. :)

    #1 5 years ago

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    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]