Sniper: Ghost Warrior caught everyone by surprise, selling over a million copies worldwide on Xbox 360 and PC. Now, ahead of the imminent PS3 version, we chat to Sniper: Ghost Warrior producer Michal Sroczynski about the breakthrough IP.
Q: Talk us through the new content. What will PS3 owners get that 360 owners didn't?
Michal Sroczynski: We went through a big learning experience following the original 360 version, with a large patch that rectified a lot of the problems people didn't like. The PS3 build has all the additions and improvements of the patched version, and also contains all the DLC maps and add-ons as standard. We have also taken the opportunity to upgrade the enemy AI to make them more intelligent, added new single-player missions, and all-new multi-player modes. The PS3 game now has Capture the Flag and Hard Core modes, and there are new weapons for use, too. We did quite a job, normally new versions of the same game don't receive that much in terms of additional content and improvements. Sniper was our first game and we really want to show gamers that we listen and that we care.
Q. Will this new content remain exclusive, or can we expect to see it on 360 and PC in the future?
MS: Some of the content is available to 360 via DLC, but the new additions to the PS3 version will be exclusive to Sony users.
Q: The first game received a rather negative response from critics; have the technical issues many reviews referred to been ironed out for the PS3 version?
MS: Absolutely. Sniper was our first full-blown title for 360, so was something of a baptism of fire for us. However, we played close attention to the issues that people disliked and patched them within a few weeks. Since then, we have again listened to the community as to what they want from their games. People liked Sniper as it offered a different slant on the FPS genre. We have elaborated on the elements that went down well, tightened up all the issues with the original, and reworked the graphics, etc, in line with comments received.
Q: Why do you think consumers have taken to the game so well? Are you expecting a similar success for the PS3 version?
MS: We were delighted that Sniper did so well. People seemed to like a more skilful and thoughtful approach to the FPS genre, and at its heart Sniper demands precision and patience from the player. It is a hugely atmospheric game, and we hope that PS3 owners will enjoy its many depths.
Q: It's been reported that the sequel to Ghost Warrior will use CryEngine 3 instead of Chrome. Why have you decided to swap engines? What will this allow you to do with the sequel that you couldn't in the original?
MS: We want more freedom and more immersion, to be honest. CryEngine 3 is a stunning piece of software that allows us to realise our ambitious plans for Sniper 2. It's early days for our Sniper 2 announcements, but we aim to up the realism, create a more believable locale, and more intricate missions. This is what CryEngine 3 brings to the party. We want every next game to be step forward, and licensing CryEngine 3 is part of this vision.
Q: Will the sequel be a direct follow up or something a bit different?
MS: It will feature certain plot links to the original. It's tough to describe without giving too much away, but there are links to the first game - but this is very much a more advanced mission...
Q: Can we expect the sequel to launch on all three consoles from the off this time around?
MS: Yes. Sniper 2 will be a simultaneous launch.
Q: What has the success of Sniper meant for City Interactive?
MS: It has given us a springboard to really move forward. We have been able to recruit some of the best talent in the sector and green-light a number of very exciting games. We now have Stuart Black working for us on a stunning World War II title, for instance, and are working on a series of titles that will further establish City as one of the most exciting new publishers around. We have the ideas, and now we can focus on bringing them to life.
Q: What about the new handhelds? Will Sniper ever appear on 3DS or NGP?
MS: We have no plans right now, but Sniper would suit the 3DS perfectly - imagine tracing that head shot in stunning 3D! Watch this space...