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A little while back, posted a preview on the upcoming first person shooter, Söldner: The Secret Wars, for the PC, being developed by Wings Communications and published by JoWood.  We recently had the opportunity to pick the brain of the game's producer, Udett Schaffrath.  Our thanks go out to Udett, as well as Kay at JoWood for arranging the interview.

 

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Söldner: The Secret Wars Interview

Questions by Eric "element" Lahiji

Before we dive into the questions, let’s start off with introductory questions. Who are you and what is your job regarding the development of Söldner? 

My name is Udett Schaffrath and I am the Producer of Söldner - Secret wars. I am working directly at the Studio and my main tasks on this Project are:  coordinating the workflow from programming and graphic, planning (Milestones, Project plan, ect.), Marketing (mainly online atm), HR & team management stuff and Enforcer of the "Teut-Law" when he is not in :P 

What can we expect from Söldner, and what is the development team doing to separate Söldner from other games? 

So what can you expect of our game…At the end of the day it all boils down to one thing: FUN! And exactly that is what you can expect from Söldner and we do our very best to guarantee that our fans get a lot of it. You asked what we do to separate Söldner from all the other games. Woohoo, that's the right time to use this sentence I always hated so much in interviews: "We all like games and we are developing games we want to play."  (HAHAA). But seriously, separating wont be that difficult for Söldner as we have so many new stuff and nice gadgets, like: ADS (will tell more about that later), over 70 Vehicles and ALL of them are useable by the Player, UCS (Unit Customization System), AGS (gesture system for faster Team-communication), around 60 different weapons and the Commander Mode. 

The game promises a mission generator for more replay value. Will this be similar or exactly like the Soldier of Fortune 2 random mission generator?  

It will be completely different/

In terms of gameplay: should we expect the tempo to be akin to Ghost Recon, Halo, or a combination of the two? 

Take a bit of Battlefield and spice it with a doze of Operation Flashpoint then cook it for 68 Years (Battlefield à1942 and Söldner 2010) and WHAAAM you have Söldner.

Another exciting feature will be the destructible world. Since very little is known about the complete details, what can you tell us about the ADS (Advanced Destruction System)? 

Advanced Destruction means that the player will be able to destroy everything in Söldner and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. Vehicles, buildings, Trees all of those can be destroyed. When you shoot with a stinger on the ground it will leave a crate. It is possible to tear a building down wall by wall. With intense missile fire you can even reshape the landscape. Even though it sounds like great fun (which it actually is :P) but apart from that it gives the Player new strategic options. All of this works in Multiplayer also of course. 

What is your favorite weapon or vehicle in Söldner, and why? 

That's not easy to answer as it depends on the game type I play. When I play alone I just love to use the new Para Jeep and equip myself with a Rocket launcher (no particular favorite there). Then I drive outside the village in the open fields (have I mentioned that the map is huge…4062 x 2187 miles) and shape with the help of the Rocket launcher a nice racetrack with a few Jumps. In Multiplayer I rather scout with the Jeep (or the Humvee) or fly around with the Apache until I got shot down. 

The game will take place in 2010, and feature some futuristic weapons and some in development as we speak. How in-depth did you and the team research in order to create accurate representations of future military weapons?    

Most research we did was done with Books and Magazines like: Gun & Anno, Soldier of Fortune, Future of War, Tomorrows Soldier, The American Military in the 21 Century, World Defense Almanac and many more. As usual the Internet is always a huge help too. 

In a couple of days we'll provide a list of all used research Materials on the official Söldner Homepage www.secretwars.net  so make sure to check the site.

The game will feature online playability with up to 32 players. Will Söldner attempt to create a different multiplayer experience then other FPS's? 

That's the Plan. Söldner's focus is on multiplayer and we have several features which helps us to create a pretty unique MP-feeling. You'll get the most out of the game if you play in a team, even better in a clan. Our Clan support includes features like the Unit Customization System (UCS) which allows you to change the look of your Soldier (over 60000 possibilities). Clans will be able to register their Clan Tag and their name.

 

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Well that's all just visual stuff; we also have some nice gadgets when it comes to communication: You can stay in contact with your Clan at any time, even if you are not in the same game. You will be able to talk to your clan mate using the integrated messaging system.  Then there is the Commander mode which gives the head of the team (Commander) the ability to coordinate the team action. He will be able to set waypoints, assign Tasks, requests reinforcements and some other stuff I can’t reveal yet.

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Politics seem to be a major factor in the progression of the story. Why is the story so important, and how will in-game politics affect the story? 

The player has to choose from which Country he will accept Missions. If he continues to choose Missions for the same country again and again he will probably piss off some other Country, which means that he won’t be able to get the rewards that Country has to offer (Weapons, Vehicles) and will get an enemy. That will be the main impact the political system has on the Player. 

What is your favorite feature of the game? Why? 

ADS, I always wanted a game where I can blow up everything. Now I have it… 

Why choose the title "Söldner"?  

We had a list of around 400 possible names for the game and narrowed it down to Söldner (Söldner means Mercenary in German). First working title was Secret Ops but with more and more Games being released with similar names we thought that we have to go for something different.  

Teamplay and squad-based command seems to be the essence of the game. How will the squad-based action work?  

After the MP game is set up using the CMM the Team needs to be deployed from the Base to the Mission Area. When the Squad has arrived at the Area they can start to scout out the Mission Area. The Commander is the Coordinator for that, with setting the tasks and waypoints. Depending on mode and settings killed Soldiers can re-supply at the base and rejoin the Battle. There are multiple ways how you can communicate in battle. First there is the usual team chat, and then there is the commander who can send each team member messages, waypoints or tasks. If typing would take to long then it is possible to use the Advanced Gesture System (AGS) which allows communicate using standard Military gestures. 

After seeing all of the games at E3, which was your favorite? 

Easy call: Half Life 2 

Do you think the charging of monthly fees to play games online is something we will see more and more? 

As far as I know that's only common for persistent state online worlds. I have completely lost track on how much MMOG's (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) are in development now and I am pretty sure a lot of them will fail short after release as the market is not that huge and if someone plays one MMOG he wont have the time and probably the money to play a second.   

Developers seem to be concentrated more on graphics these days, then on any other aspect. Technology has outrun all other aspects. Is Söldner going to rely on the same precedent set, or take advantage of all gaming aspects to create a truly complete experience? 

In Söldner you are going to be part of a mercenary squad undertaking missions against overwhelming odds. The player should get the feeling that he is actually there. Having great Graphics is only one part to achieve that.  

Also there is always going to be a compromise between "total realism" and "enjoyable fun gameplay". While the realism fans want to have the opportunity to be able to kill an enemy with one shoot the other group wants a more "forgiving" gameplay where you can take your time and if you got injured medics can fix you up. 

There is a lot of more to a make a great game then having kick ass graphics. We are listening very close to our fan base on www.secretwars.net to ensure that we will deliver on their hopes. 

How will the enemy AI react to the player’s tactics and movements? Will it be scripted? 

The enemy AI has some sort of a "Consciousness" if they are aware of a Player they won’t just go for him. They will analyze the situation and choose the best possible approach. Part of the AI is scripted (Waypoints, Guard points) but the biggest part of the AI is calculated.  

Thanks again to Udett and Kay at JoWood for making this interview possible. :)

 

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