Interview: Kristoffer Bergqvist talks Medal of Honor: Warfighter
PC World was in Sydney for the EB Expo this past weekend, and we got the chance to speak with Danger Close Games’ Kristoffer Bergqvist, who’s in charge of the multiplayer for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. He chatted to us about a renewed focus on teamplay, as well as new toys and a ‘support point’ system.Siobhan Keogh | Thursday, October 11 2012
PC World was in Sydney for the EB Expo this past weekend, and we got the chance to speak with Danger Close Games’ Kristoffer Bergqvist, who’s in charge of the multiplayer for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. He chatted to us about a renewed focus on teamplay, as well as new toys and a ‘support point’ system.
PCW: Can you explain a little bit about what you do as the head of multiplayer?
KB: I’ve been making shooters for EA for the last ten years. I relocated from DICE and Battlefield to Danger Close two years ago. Basically what I do is to work with the team to define the creative vision for multiplayer, and then try to steer this awesome ship towards that goal.
PCW: What do you think distinguishes Medal of Honor’s multiplayer from Battlefield and other military shooters?
KB: We work a lot with the Battlefield guys still. I have friends there and we work on the same tech now, which is great because we can help each other out a lot. So for us Battlefield is about the sledgehammer. You know, large-scale, invasion sized frontlines with helicopters, jets and all that.
We’re the scalpel. We’re the Tier 1 guys on the ground, close-quarters engagement. Man versus man. That kind of thing. When it comes to distinguishing us from the other shooters out there? I think Medal of Honor has always been about the real soldiers and the real stories, so we’re obviously modern-day. We put a lot of pride into giving you the correct gear: all the right, correct tools that the guys are using out there.
PCW: Speaking of the story, you’re going some interesting places that haven’t been covered in games much before - like Somalia and the Phillipines. Will those carry over into the multiplayer?
KB: Absolutely. We are developing, for Somalia, multiplayer maps there and the Phillipines as well. Also, Northern Pakistan - they’ve got Karachi, it’s a beautiful place.
PCW: In the past there’s been more of a focus on single player [in Medal of Honor games]. Are you trying to shift that with this game?
KB: Absolutely. This is the first time in many years that we’ve made the multiplayer in-house, it’s traditionally been outsourced to DICE in the last one, and I don’t remember when we [last] had multiplayer internally. It’s a big effort for us this time to have a full-sized - more than full-sized - multiplayer team. We’re trying to expand a lot on what’s going to be the core experience of Medal of Honor multiplayer. We want this to be a game you play for months and months and so we do a bunch of things.
In the core experience, we’re just adding features. We’re having six classes now, instead of three in the previous game. They all have their unique support actions - class-specific scorestreaks, weapon types, grenade types... even different things like guns. We’re just trying to make as much as possible happen there.
And we’re also introducing end-game features - such as we have platoons. Battlefield 3 introduced these platoons and we’re taking them one step forward. What we’re doing now is that each platoon has a ranking and there’s a matchmaking system so you can go online with your platoon, with your friends, and get matched with another platoon that is in the same skill range. Then you battle it out. And that affects your ranking, obviously. You battle it out in a game mode that we designed specifically for end-game, pro-level gamers.
PCW: And it’s very team-based, right?
KB: It’s very focused on team play and it’s focused on what we call ‘fire teams’, a new feature we’re introducing this time around. It’s a way for us to bring co-op into multiplayer. You have a friend who you have a special bond with - NAVY Seals call it a swim buddy - and we took the idea from there. You can see where your friend is, what he’s doing, if he’s low on health, whether he needs ammo, whether he’s on fire or anything.
If one of you goes down, you can respawn on the living player, [as long as] that player is staying out of combat. It creates this cool tempo where you first need to be aggressive, get them on the ground, and then one of you falls, and the other one has to stay safe for five seconds or so. Then you can spawn back into the fight.
There’s also another mechanic more attuned to more aggressive counter-play. When your friend goes down, you can see an outline around the killer for a couple of seconds, and if you hunt that guy down and shoot him, your friend will spawn.
PCW: In the past you’ve talked about the fire team mechanic being a ‘sixth sense’. How do you know when your teammate needs help?
KB: There are UI elements doing this. There’s actually always an outline around your friend, so you can see if he’s doing something, you can see if he’s engaging someone and so on. It also shows you who the best fire team is, so you need to step up.
PCW: You’ve talked before about ‘support points’ [which you can spend on special abilities], and them being more from completing objectives than just getting kills. What kind of things can you do to earn support points?
KB: Basically everything that gives you score. It’s healing your teammate, it’s handing out ammo, it’s getting kills and bonus points for killshots, or for headshots rather. You also get a small points bonus for what your fighting buddy is doing. So if your fighting buddy is shooting someone, some of the points are going to be given to you, just to emphasise how important that teamplay is. And the actual support actions are unique per class. So Demolition class will have an IUD bot that can get kills and you get points from that.
You can also choose whether you want an offensive one or defensive one if you unlock the next tier [with support points]. Offensive ones are... it’s fully automatic weapons, grenade launchers, whereas the defensive ones are health, ways to replenish anything that needs a cooldown; it’s also stuff like UAVs.
PCW: What other new toys will people have this time around?
KB: Oh, there are so many. Since all classes now have their own unique ones, there’s way too many. A couple of my favourites: we have something we call the spider-mines. It’s actually called M86 Pursuit Deterrent Munition, but we call it spider-mine. You throw it on the ground, and it fires out trip wires in all directions, and if someone walks over that it goes boom. And it creates a lot of cool gameplay. You need to be strategic about where you place it, because the trip wires can only be so long and you don’t wanna be too obvious. It also creates cool gameplay if you’ve found one, because if you can see it you can jump over it.
Also, like, the ultimate, king, awesome new toy is the Apache gunship. That’s a two-seat helicopter so you can bring your fighting buddy with you. One of you is driving and shooting the rocket, and the other is manning the gun. That is awesome.
Are those the ones that are also capable of being the mobile spawn point?
The mobile spawn point is the transport helicopter, it’s the Black Hawk. So you can call it in and one person will stand on the minigun covering the area, and the rest of the team gets instant spawn points and is repelling into the battlefield.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter launches in New Zealand on 25 October. The multiplayer open beta is live now on the Xbox 360.
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