Army of Two wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. Thankfully. EA Montreal's been given a second chance, and is hard at work making the sequel, The 40th Day, an all together better co-op cover-based shooter than the original. After putting a preview build of the game through its paces at EA's Guildford headquarters last week, we sat down with producer Matt Turner to find out what's new, what's better, and how Salem and Rios have matured.
VideoGamer.com: Shanghai isn't somewhere we're used to going in video games. Why did you decide to set the game there?
Matt Turner: It's a question I got a lot today, actually. It's because it's an interesting city. It's got a lot of interesting environments and terrain. You've got these huge skyscrapers that are brand new in the financial district, and you have a river that goes through in a U shape, and downtown you've got tenements, zoos, parks, markets and all this stuff that's interesting. One of our ideas for this game is taking the players out of conventional shooter spaces and putting them in places where they might not be very comfortable. For example the zoo you played obviously, and rooftops of high-rises and skyscrapers. Shanghai had all that. It had all those things we wanted to do and places we wanted to take players. For the story we wanted to tell, which is a little bit more of an intimate story about Rios and Salem, who they are and what they're doing in this world and who they are when no-one's looking in this catastrophe, it's much more conducive to a smaller area where you can have more precise moments. All of that pointed at having one cool location, and that cool location happened to be Shanghai. It had everything we wanted.
VideoGamer.com: How was that decision made? Do you guys have a meeting where everyone's ideas are put on the table?
MT: It was brainstorming, lots of that.
VideoGamer.com: Had someone been there?
MT: Brain dumps. I had been there before that, but that had nothing to do with it being chosen for the game.
VideoGamer.com: Shame! Then you would be able to take all the credit.
MT: Only me! My idea and no-one else's! We looked at the first one and the success, the negative and the positive, and from that figured out what we wanted to do with the second one and then where we wanted to take it. That gave us our loose framework of where we wanted to be. From that we made decisions one after the other. So we'll have a smaller story, it's a little more simple but a little more deep. Okay so that means make it take place over four days. Okay that means we should do it in one location. Okay that means… you know what I mean? So it was a chain reaction of stuff.
VideoGamer.com: Why is it called The 40th Day?
MT: Oh! It's part of the story man! I can't get into that one! That's the name of the invading force - The 40th Day Initiative. That's all we're saying right now. Part of the story is why they call themselves that. All we're saying is these guys are pretty bad ass and they've got a lot of money behind them. They've got their own reasons.