Game Over Online ~ Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Interview w/ Marcus Nilsson

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Interview w/ Marcus Nilsson

Published: Thursday, October 6th, 2005 at 05:42 PM
Written By: Jeff Haynes

Get ready to lock and load gaming soldiers: the digital conflict that engulfed PCs everywhere is coming to a console near you. Much more than a virtual port of the PC title, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for the PS2 and Xbox has been redesigned for faster paced, more action driven play. Plus, once you've experienced hotswapping in the heat of battle, you may never look at first person shooters the same way again. We went to Marcus Nilsson, the Executive Producer for Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, to get more details about the title that will be shooting up living rooms later this month.

Game-Over: What are the fundamental differences between Battlefield 2 for the PC and Battlefield 2 for Consoles (apart from translating it for the different pieces of hardware)?

Marcus Nilsson: Both Battlefield 2 for PC and Battlefield 2 Modern Combat for PS2/Xbox share the same core/key values. The foundation is built on features like rock/paper/scissors gameplay and seamless integration of vehicles and infantry. What is very important to remember though is that BF2MC is delivered with console thinking. From day one of development we have aimed to deliver a 100% true console experience. This means BF2MC plays a little faster and more arcadey than BF2 and we have been very creative with weapon selection through the pad, etc. The team has done a tremendous job making this a true console experience and with the fun factor of this game, this game will be one of the most played console online games to date.

G-O: What are the modes in Battlefield 2? Is there a single player campaign? If so, is there a plot? Any new factions? How many missions does it cover?

MN: Yes, there is a single player campaign: After civil unrest in Kazakhstan, Chinese and NATO (a combined US and EU force) forces move into the country to attempt to stabilize the situation.  The trouble is that both sides are suspicious that each side is invading Kazakhstan in an attempt to harvest the vast oil reserves.  Through 20 missions, you play the game from both sides of the story, changing from NATO to China on a number of occasions.  This unique approach gives you an insight into the real motivations of each side.  Eventually, you must chose which side you believe and help them win the war – it’s only the winners who get to write the history books.

G-O: How many players will you be able to go against in multiplayer campaigns? How many maps are there? Have you been able to fully transfer over the 64 player limit from the PCs to the consoles, or has it been somewhat limited due to the fixed nature of the consoles themselves (i.e. the console processors can't handle that many players without the game slowing to a crawl)?

MN: BF2MC supports up to 24 players online. There are thirteen maps spanning desert, temperate and winter landscapes. BF2MC is more intense than its PC cousin and you will have a shorter distance to the fight. The game is still very easy to learn, but as always hard to fully master. You will understand the gameplay mechanics after a few minutes but you’ll spend a lifetime coming up with new ways of playing the various levels. Since BF is a vehicle/infantry franchise we never wanted to sacrifice vehicles to get a higher amount of player. Remember you can play 24 player games and to this you can add some 30+ vehicles with multiple positions. Now that’s something new to you on a console…

G-O: Will the stats and other features from the PC game be exactly the same? Will you be able to assign a Commander and splinter into separate squads? Will the voice chat system be the same or will it have to be adapted to the player limit?

MN: The game will be fully supporting Voice over IP (VOIP), this is a key feature to drive the team play we ideally want to see in the BF franchise. We will keep track of your stats and progression, both in-game and on the Internet. The web pages will be some of the most extensive stats and community friendly pages you have seen. We will not support commander or squads per say, however using the equipment you are given, the same functionality is there.

G-O: Will the kits from the PC game be exactly the same, or are there new classes of soldier to take on the battlefield? Any new weapons?

MN: We support over 70 weapons. These are both kit and standalone (stingers, 50 cals etc.) We feature 5 specialized kits: Assault, Sniper, Special operations, Engineer and Support. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but there is no stop to how a creative mind can utilize them, and that is the key. That is the way BF moments (Things you do or live though in-game or “o my god did u see that dude” moments) come to life. People evolve how to use the kits. The kits put in BF2MC are more true to how a console game is played and I am very pleased how the balance between the kits has worked out.

G-O: At E3 the level showed both tanks and helicopters – how many vehicles are there?

MN: You will see both tanks and choppers. In addition there will be boats, civilian vehicles and humvees. There are some 30 + different vehicles in the game all tweaked extensively to get that great driving experience. There is no other military game delivering the same “feel” in handling a vehicle.

G-O: What was the impetus behind the hotswapping feature? Are there any limitations on the feature itself during a mission? Is it something that's confined to the single player missions only, or will there be additional NPCs in the multiplayer game that you can hotswap to?

MN: The drive behind Hotswapping came from our desire to make a very fast paced game where we allowed the player to use every weapon on the battlefield, whenever he wanted to.  Battlefield 2: Modern Combat has so many great weapons and vehicles we wanted to allow people to get into a variety of different military hardware at the press of a button.  For example, if you were down in a street battle and thought it would be great to be a sniper overlooking the fight and picking off the bad guys from relative safety, all you have to do it look around until you see one and hit the button – or perhaps you wanted to grab a tank and roll though the enemies position, you can do that instantly too.

The main limitation is that you have to see it to be it.  You can’t Hotswap to a guy on the other side of a building for example.  Also, you can only Hotswap to another friendly solider – you can’t Hotswap to an enemy or an empty vehicle.

There is the main campaign mode, but there are also a series of ‘Challenges’ that you unlock as you progress.  These challenges test your combat skills, driving ability and Hotswapping tactics, they earn you stars for Rank Promotion and they teach you how to become a true Battlefield expert.

G-O: Thanks for your time, Marcus.

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360? Talk to us!

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