With publishers often being criticised for releasing World War II FPS after World War II FPS, we spoke to Hour of Victory Producer Patrick Horn about Midway's upcoming, but different, World War II FPS.
Pro-G: First off, what made you decide to make a Word War II first-person-shooter when so may already exist?
Patrick Horn: Well, the reason that there are a lot of first-person-shooters set in World War II is because people love them. World War II makes for a classic setting, with a brilliant balance of good and evil and the best enemies in gaming. So we wanted to offer something different for the huge number of fans of this type of game. Our main competition in this area focuses on the whole 'military documentary' feel, with the slides and black-and-white footage at the beginning of each level, where you take on the role of just another soldier in a famous battle. We wanted to focus more closely on the personalities and experiences of a small group of soldiers. We are also going for a different feel. Whereas the other famous World War II games feel like Saving Private Ryan, we're aiming for something a little more like Where Eagles Dare.
Pro-G: So, what does HOV offer fans that the other games you mention don't?
PH: The main feature is the three characters on offer. Each has a different set of skills, and you can swap between these characters at different times during the level. We felt this is a little bit more like a fantasy game, in that you have very different abilities depending on which you use, meaning you have to think carefully about who you use and when you use them.
Pro-G: Does that mean that for each level you have to use different characters at set times?
PH: Not really. Obviously there are levels that have sections designed that encourage using a certain character, but we don't want to prevent anyone doing things the way they want. In many cases there are a number of ways of getting your objectives done, using the different characters in different ways. In almost all cases though, you're going to want to use a combination of all three.
Pro-G: Tell us a little more about the three characters.
PH: OK. First off there is Ross, a British Commando who has a lot of brute strength, heavy weapons and more health, meaning you can take a more head-on approach, and move certain large objects. Next there is Tagger, a covert-ops guy who is certainly mostly about stealth. He has a silencer, a knife, and can sneak without making a sound, unlike the other two. He can pick locks and cut fences, opening new areas and routes. Finally there's Bull, the sniper, who can climb to higher areas with a grappling hook, and leap across the rooftops, as well as holding his breath to steady his aim.
Pro-G: The game is set in three countries. What made you choose the countries included?
PH: I like to think of them as different environments, rather than the countries they are set in. First we have North Africa in 1942, featuring dessert terrain, then there's the snowy Bavarian Alps in 1944 and finally the more urban setting of Berlin at the end of the war. The environments are about the different qualities they bring to the game.
Pro-G: You've mentioned the classic war movie Where Eagles Dare a couple of times today. What other influences have there been on the development process?
PH: Mainly old 1960's action war movies. Rather than the modern kind that are about grit and the harsh reality of war, we've taken inspiration from the war movies that are concerned with character and storyline, and plenty of action.
Hour of Victory is due for release exclusively on the Xbox 360 in the summer.