Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor game franchise began the entire WWII shooter genre that still continues today. Later this month EA's Los Angeles studio released the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the latest game in the series, Medal of Honor Airborne (the pS3 is due out later this year) and FiringSquad got a chance to chat with EALA game designer Rex Dickson to find out more about their plans for the game.
FiringSquad: First, how did the idea come about for the latest game in the Medal of Honor series?
Rex Dickson: The original idea came from an e-mail exchange between executive producer Patrick Gilmore and EALA General Manager Neil Young. The subject line was simply ‘Airborne’. The idea of being able to jump out of a plane, drop into the mission space and choose any landing point within that space was an instant hit and enduring inspiration. It led to the design of a breakthrough non-linear layout and a procedural AI system that could respond to the player coming from virtually any direction.
FiringSquad: How much research into the WWII Airborne units did the development team do for the game?
Rex Dickson: The team went through an exhaustive research period during the pre-production phase of the project. The story of the game closely follows the major drops conducted by the 82nd and later, the 17th Airborne divisions in World War 2. It was important to us that we accurately portray the mission environments and objectives that the 82nd experienced. We also leaned heavily on our military and historical advisors, covering everything from drop procedure to weapon customizations.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the main character in the game?
Rex Dickson: The main character is Boyd Travers. Very early on in the game he distinguishes himself as one of the heroes of the 82nd Airborne. Later in the game, he is transferred to the 17th airborne for the invasion of Germany in Operation Varsity.
FiringSquad: What sort of locations and settings will Medal of Honor Airborne have?
Rex Dickson: Operation Husky is a drop into a walled village called ‘Adanti’.
Operation Avalanche is a drop over the Greek ruins at Paestum. Paestum features an amphitheatre, aqueducts and Greek temple ruins.
Operation Neptune is based on the D-Day landings in Normandy. As a member of the 82nd Airborne, you will drop behind the enemy defenses at Utah beach.
Operation Market Garden features the destroyed city of Nijmegen and the bridge over the Waal River. This mission is based heavily on urban combat against Axis armor and infantry.
Operation Varsity is made up of 2 missions. The first mission is over a factory/industrial environment. The second mission in Varsity is the ‘Der Flakturm’ mission that was featured extensively during E3 this year.