Crispy Gamer

Enemy Mine

When the original Quake came out in 1996, the only way you could play against your friends was on PC, but thanks to integrated Internet access, online gamers can play the latest entry in id's sci-fi first-person shooter series with a controller as easily as they can with a keyboard. In Enemy Territory: Quake Wars -- which id and Activision will be bringing to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 27 after months on the PC -- gamers can team up to defend Earth from the invading Strogg army, or can join together to overthrow those pesky humans. While the basic gameplay is staying the same, there will be some differences, and not just in the controls, as we found out when we spoke to Executive Producer/Chief Technology Officer Bill Chinn and Associate Producer Shin Ohyama of Underground Development, which is doing the PS3 version, and Designer Greg Stone of Nerve Software, which is developing the 360 edition.

Crispy Gamer: I think it's safe to assume everyone know what Quake is, but what is Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and how do you play it?

Shin Ohyama: In a general sense, it's a class-based multiplayer first-person shooter where you have objectives that you have to either attack or defend.

Bill Chinn It also distinguishes itself from other first-person shooters because it's mostly outside in large, expansive areas. It has more depth than some online shooters because the objectives change over time. It's not just Capture the Flag and Deathmatch.

Crispy Gamer: There was a previous Enemy Territory game for Castle Wolfenstein [2003's free Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory]. Besides not letting you kill zombie Nazis, how is this different, gameplay-wise?

Greg Stone: Well, there are a lot of parallels, but the main differences are in the scope and scale. While Wolfenstein had tight environments, they're much bigger in Quake Wars, and now there are vehicles as well as deployables, things like artillery. There's also more depth to the classes.

Crispy Gamer: of War. Are they wrong?

Chinn: Yes and no. In many ways, they share the same characteristics, such as large areas, classes and vehicles, but I think Enemy Territory has more depth than Battlefield because your objectives are more complex and they require the participation of the classes to succeed. It's far more cooperative.

Crispy Gamer: In terms of those objectives, some have the humans attacking and the Strogg defending, while others have the humans defending while the Strogg are attacking. Since the game is set on Earth, with the Strogg invading, does that mean there are more missions where the humans are on defense?

Stone: It's almost even, but, surprisingly, there's actually more where the G.D.F. [Global Defense Force, aka the humans] are attacking than defending. There are a lot of areas they're trying to reclaim from the Strogg.

Crispy Gamer: How many missions are there in the game?

Stone: There are twelve missions. There are four campaigns -- Africa, North America, Asia and Central Europe -- and three maps in each campaign.

Crispy Gamer: There haven't been any yet, but are there plans to add more maps or campaigns later on?

Stone: That's one of those things that comes down to how well the game does.

Crispy Gamer: The game already came out on the PC and Mac. Are there any major differences between those versions and the ones for the 360 and PS3?

Stone: Yeah, watching people playing on the PC gave us the benefit of seeing what worked and what didn't.

Chinn: Which is why the interface is different.

Stone: Yeah, we redid the entire user interface, not just the menus but the HUD as well. We really tried to de-clutter the screen. There are also things we've done with the grenades. Originally, when people threw out ammo packs, they included grenades, but we decided to cut that out because the game became just a fragfest of grenades. We also streamlined the artificial intelligence, especially in the Easy mode.

Crispy Gamer: Does that mean the bots are dumber when you're playing the game on Easy?

Stone: No, not necessarily. They just don't do certain things. Like, they won't drop as many deployables or use as many flying vehicles, but they still know what they're doing.

Crispy Gamer: Does the PS3 version use the controller's motion sensitivity?

Chinn: It doesn't, mostly because of the kind of game it is, though it is compatible with the DualShock 3, so we use the vibration for heartbeats and damage and all the stuff you'd expect.

Crispy Gamer: Are there any differences between the PS3 and 360 versions?

Chinn: Well, because every PS3 has a hard drive, which the 360 doesn't have, we actually have streaming music, which even the PC version didn't have.

Stone: We, of course, have Achievements. In fact, we encourage people to play both as both the Strogg and the humans with Achievements.

Crispy Gamer: How much of the original PC code were you able to use when making your version?

Chinn: We used a lot. We're very faithful to the original's level design, and were able to use their art files, as well.

Crispy Gamer: When did you start working on your version of the game? I assume id didn't just toss you a copy of the finished PC version and say, "Here you go"?

Chinn: Actually, it was just like you said. Activision saw how well the PC version [which was done by Splash Damage] was coming along, and realized that it was a game that would work well on the PS3 [and the 360].

Stone: Though we were actually involved in the game almost since the beginning because we put some input into the designs of the original maps and worked on the training missions.

Crispy Gamer: All of this sounds like fun for people who like to play online, but what about those of us who don't play well with others? Does the game have a single-player mode?

Chinn: It does. You can play with bots, and the bots will actually carry out the objectives on both sides, so you can take whatever role you want.

Ohyama: Single-player is actually great for learning all the tactical options and strategies.

Stone: Unlike on the PC, which was just set up so you could play the game offline if you wanted, we've made it much more of a single-player campaign mode by adding the ability to save during the campaigns, which makes them feel like an ongoing campaign. You can still go do whatever campaign you like, in whatever order. You can even save in the middle of a campaign and then start another campaign.

Crispy Gamer: Do you mean that if I get stuck in the middle of the African offensive, I can switch over to the Asian, and then go back and finish Africa later?

Stone: Right. And, as with the online, you can play these campaigns either as the G.D.F. or The Strogg.

Crispy Gamer: When Quake IV was released on the 360, it included a version of Quake II. Will Enemy Territory: Quake Wars include a copy of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory or the original Quake?

Stone: That's a good idea, but there hasn't been any talk of doing that, as far as I know.

Crispy Gamer: Has there been any talk of doing a new Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory?

Stone: I'm not in on those talks, to be honest with you, but I wouldn't doubt it. It would obviously depend on how well this one does, but it's a franchise at this point.

Crispy Gamer: Do you think there could be an Enemy Territory: Doom Wars at some point?

Stone: Yeah, potentially, or one for that new game id is doing.

Crispy Gamer: If it was up to you, what other game -- id or otherwise -- would you like to see get the Enemy Territory treatment and why?

Ohyama: I think a Call of Duty version would be phenomenal.

Chinn: Yeah, that would be very interesting.

Stone: For me, it's more about the gameplay than the universe, so really, any first-person shooter would work. I just like this style of gameplay.