Monday, March 3, 2008

Army of Two

If any of you have been keeping up with the game list for this month, you would know that EA's new game "Army of Two" hit shelves tonight. This is a new third person combat game the closely mirrors the style of Gears of War. A02 is one I have been anticipating for a little while now.

Originally the game development got off to a slow start as the team had to make quite a few adjustments. One thing that has me excited about the game is that it brings back the long loved split-screen 2 player co-op to the Sony (As Gears did with X-Box.) I have not heard yet if there will be online co-op, but I am sure it will be an option as there is for sure an online vs. mode.
It has been a rough few years for the split screen and I am really beginning to miss it. Out of the 20 games I have played for PS3 so far, none have been two players on the same system. While I am a huge fan of the online multi player features that are now common place on our next gen systems, I miss smacking my friends in the back of the head after fragging them. (I'm sure they don't.) I will write more on this topic later.

For those of you who want to know more about this game's development. Below is a quick Q&A with the games Lead Developer, Matt McDopeblog.

In some recent articles, it seems that some vehicles were taken out of campaign mode. What was the reasoning behind this, and will we still see vehicles in the multiplayer mode?

-We ended up cutting a couple of vehicles (namely the tank and dune-buggy) because they weren't quite up to scratch with the rest of the game in regards to pace and flow. When we sat down and made our polish plan those two sequences ended up low on the priority list and we felt that the game would benefit more from not having them at all as opposed to having half baked idea. BUT we were able to implement a couple of them in the versus mode...oh yeah. That made us happy. Want to know which ones? Buy the game!!!

How does co-op campaign work when playing people over Xbox LIVE or PSN? Do you keep a saved file for each person you play with, or can you hop in at any point no matter how much you've played the game before?

-The guest must have played up to, or further than, the current checkpoint of the host in order to join the game. Once a player has completed the whole game once through, they can jump in anywhere or start new games from anywhere.

When you are playing by yourself with an AI partner, how do you control the AI?

-You are able to give the PAI loose directives. They are: Advance, hold position and cover me and each one of these directives has an aggressive and passive mode. There are two ways to order him. The primary way is to use the D-pad but the secondary (and cooler way, in my opinion) is to tell him using your microphone...yeah that's right.

For people looking for a big challenge, is there a hardcore type mode that is more realistic?

-Yes "Professional". It's pretty rough-neck and not for the faint of heart. You can only unlock this mode by first finishing the game in "Contractor".

If one player is new to the game and they keep dying, is there a limit to how many times they can be revived?

-The healing mechanic is infinite provided your partner stays alive and is able to drag you to a safe position to heal you...which can get tricky if the person who is down likes to play Rambo and run around in the open blindly firing.

Multiplayer Questions:

Are you able to upgrade your weapons in multiplayer? Does the money you make in campaign mode transfer over to multiplayer or vice versa?

You can't upgrade individual parts of individual weapons like in the campaign mode but can buy weapons kits during the matches. The campaign and versus operate of completely separate economies so there is no crossover between the two.

Since the goal of multiplayer is to get the most money, does buying weapons reduce your overall score, or just your personal money ?

-Well, the team with the most total money at the end of a match wins. And the total money is the sum of the team's personal accounts. So if you drop 250k on a sweet kit it will diminish your money and in turn your team's yes. BUT they are much more powerful guns so it can be worth it. It adds a certain balancing act to the matches which is fun. And of course if you drop half your money on the most expensive kit with 1 minute left in the match and you lose because of it, it will affect your overall scores on the leader boards.

In versus if you die do you lose all your weapons?

-No sirry-bob. We're not nuts.

Will there be split screen online in Army of Two? (2 people on one console vs. another team of two over the Internet)

-Yup. You can play split screen (if you are on the same console) against 2 guys playing split screen or 2 people playing with each other online...

Can you customize matches in non-ranked versus mode? If so, what options can you change?

-Yup. You can pick the length, mode and map in any kind of match.

What game modes will we be available for online?

-Bounties - Ao2 Bounties is a fast-paced 2 vs. 2 experience that challenges opposing teams to destroy important objectives and assassinate key enemy targets. A quick strike can turn the tide of war!

-Extraction - Ao2 Extraction is an intense and strategic 2 vs. 2 experience that challenges teammates to work closely with one another to complete challenging escort and defend/attack objectives. In times of strife, it's important to protect high-profile targets!

-Warzone - Ao2 Warzone is a diverse and chaotic 2 vs. 2 experience that has a wide variety of objectives including: attack/defend, extract, guard, assassinate, destroy and more. In the heat of battle, anything can happen!

How do you think fans will respond to Two vs. Two online, whereas some previous games allow up to 24 players online?

-Army of Two is a heavily co-op focussed game which requires two man tactics and two man strategies. It's an entirely different game then previous shooters and therefore a different versus experience. I think that it's different enough to attract the attention of gamers out there and they will like it.

Any plans to release new map packs after launch as Downloadable Content?

-You know it. When? Post launch. What? Wait and see. All I can say is that it's awesome.