GDC 2012: Medal of Honor: Warfighter detailed

gdc 2012 medal of honor warfighter detailedAlthough we’ve known for a while now that a follow-up to the 2010 Medal of Honor was in the works, it has only been over the last few weeks that EA and developer Danger Close have officially shown us even a hint at what we can expect when the game ships on October 23.

Other than a peak at the box art and confirmation of the subtitle two weeks ago, we really didn’t have much to go on beyond guesses. Even the teaser trailer that was released yesterday (see below) wasn’t exactly flush with details.

That changed (a bit) last night, as the game had its official reveal to a crowd of journalists at GDC.

The theme that will continue to emerge regarding this game is realism. Every game with a real world setting touts some degree of realism, but Warfighter goes further than most. The story will once again put us in the shoes of Tier 1 operatives, many of which return from the 2010 game. The details of the overarching plot are still being kept quiet, but there will be an overall plot that will take the operatives around the world.

The manuscript for the game was written by a ex-Special Forces operatives, and many former operatives are serving as advisors to the project. Each of the missions will be inspired by a real event in the world, and they will all be literally taken from headlines. The enemies you face are modeled on real world terrorist organizations, and you will complete your objectives in a manner similar to how real Special Forces teams would approach them.

Of course, it is still a game, but Danger Close is walking a thin line between real life and entertainment. Using Dice’s Frostbite engine, the graphics look incredible and will push home the sense of realism.

A brief demo of the game was shown which took place in the Philippines. After a group of civilians was taken hostage, it fell to the Tier 1 team to step in and rescue them, even as a storm threatened to flood the island they were on. As the team pushed through the building—a rundown hall that has seen better days, but which looked incredible on Dice’s engine—enemies attempted to flank the player, and keep the pressure on the Tier 1 team but using heavily defended positions.

While one part of the team kept the attention of a mounted machine gun, the other snuck around to a door, breached it, and flanked the turret. Following an intense shootout, the team reached the target room and kicked in the door, which initiated a slow-mo sequence that let the player skillfully eliminate the hostiles and rescue the hostages.

The next scene shown continued the mission, as the team reached two waiting boats, both with mounted machine guns. As the storm raged on, the flooding in the town began to cause massive obstructions, and the team is forced to avoid both debris and waiting enemies. After a close escape as a building crumbled, the boats hit open water and were collected by two helicopters waiting to take them off.

During the presentation, one of the members of DICE compared the combat of the Battlefield series to that of Medal of Honor. He described Battlefield as a hammer, and said that MoH was a scalpel. That was more than just rhetoric too. In the Battlefield games, the idea was to create a sense of a massive conflict. Those games are all about war on a major scale. Warfighter is a more intimate game. The Tier 1 team is tasked with surgical strikes. They are ghosts. They move in, accomplish their goals, then extricate before the enemy knows what happened. Or at least that’s the plan. As with most games of this nature, somewhere along the way things will likely go badly.

But even beyond the action, Danger Close is aiming for a more personal touch to Warfighter. The first clip we were shown was a few brief images of a Tier 1 team preparing for deployment, while a voice over conversation between a soldier and his wife (presumably) talked about how difficult it was to have him constantly disappearing to join his team. It was meant to highlight the lives these soldiers live, and it will probably flavor the story throughout.

The multiplayer was also briefly discussed. Danger Close will be handling the development on that as well, rather than Dice, who created the MP for the 2010 game. The game modes aren’t being discussed yet, but there will be several allied Special Forces teams available for what the developer described as “blue on blue” combat. That means you may see Rangers fighting SEALs, or SAS versus the German KSK among others. We’ll likely be seeing and hearing a lot more on this in the coming months, and E3 will certainly feature more info.

So for now we will have to wait for more on Medal of Honor: Warfighter, a game that promises to be among the biggest releases of the year.