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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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    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]