GameStop Exclusive Q&A with David Votypka & Joe Halper at Kaos Studios on Frontlines Fuel of War!
1. What was your biggest challenge when setting out to design Frontlines?
From a design standpoint, the biggest challenge of this game was designing for a non-linear, open world single player experience. In most FPS games today, the experience is very controlled by the game designer in the sense that nearly every element in the experience is pre-scripted. This certainly has its advantages, but also has disadvantages of predictability, low replay value, and the feeling of what you might call, ‘being herded like cattle'
In Frontlines, it was very important to us to make the game all about player choice and freedom. So in the single player campaign, there are always numerous objectives that you can take in any order, and you have a whole arsenal of high-tech weapons that you can use to choose how you want to attack them. Everything from hand held weapons to helicopters and tanks.
Designing this system and also designing the AI systems necessary to handle the player being able to approach from any direction and attack with many different strategies and weapon types was definitely one of the biggest challenges we faced. But looking back we wouldn't have changed the decision to go this route, the game lets you choose how to approach the battle, and is exciting and unique because of this design.
2. Were other games used as inspiration when designing Frontlines?
The work we did on Desert Combat was in many ways a driving force for Frontlines. The way DC filled the void for modern day military shooters at the time, is the same way Frontlines was conceived; to fill a void for near-future military shooters where players could experience the weapons that the military is prototyping now, for use on tomorrow's battle grounds. Of course our involvement with the Battlefield series and being a part of DICE during the development of BF2 continued our role in this genre of gaming.
3. What are the key differences between Frontlines and so many of the other first-person shooters currently on the market?
The saying around Kaos is that the recipe makes the cake, and it's the combined mix of ingredients in Frontlines that you will not be able to find in any other first person shooter out there. Frontlines contains a compelling story-driven single player experience that features open world non-linear gameplay (which is rare for an FPS these days), and it's full of both infantry and vehicle combat with weapons that the military is prototyping for use in war 20 years from now.
In multiplayer you have an entirely new game mode that is one of the most innovative and successful parts of this game. The system centers the action so both teams are fighting in the same area of the map, keeping the intensity at an all time high. You have to play it to really believe it, but the action and the way that the game mode inherently makes teamwork occur is a huge positive of the game.
Lastly, Frontlines is completely based on weapons that real world militaries are prototyping now, which gives players the chance to use these high tech weapons and drones that would enter military use in the near future. You can fly jets and helicopters, use tanks, armored fighting vehicles, anti-aircraft vehicles, deploy turrets, call in air strikes, and use high-tech remote control drones. No other FPS gives you so many weapons at your fingertips. Most military shooters are either historic or current day, Frontlines brings you tomorrows weapons today.
4. What are the 3 biggest, most exciting features of Frontlines?
If we had to narrow it down to three, we'd probably have to say:
- Besides the new next-gen vehicles and weaponry, the drones in Frontlines will be something you've never seen before and is often commented on as one of people's favorite aspects of the game.
- The Frontline system and its innovative contribution to team based gameplay.
- The open world single player experience. The sense of freedom and tactical choice given to players is really engaging throughout the campaign.
5. What makes the Frontlines System so unique?
The Frontline System effectively keeps both teams centric to the action. Instead of having both teams spread out across the map capturing undefended points, there are 2 or 3 centralized points at a time being fought over. Once a team seizes these points in battle, their frontline will advance deeper into enemy controlled territory, and suddenly one team is on the defensive, scrambling to recover lost ground. Whenever you want to know where the actionis, you just head to the frontline. As part of it, the Roles system plays a big piece of both an individual's strategy, as well as the strategy of your overall team. With 24 combinations of weapons and Role specializations to choose from, each team can have a great variety of soldiers on each side. Everything from Drone specialists, to deploying turrets, to calling in air strikes or disabling enemy drones and vehicles with EMP technology. The choices made by each side play a large role in which direction the frontline will be moving.
6. Are there plans for a game toolkit or editor to be made available for the mod community?
Soon after the initial release of Frontlines there are plans to release an editor for PC that will give the PC community full mod support. Some of the core Kaos developers come from the mod development community so we realize there is a mountain of potential content that the fans could create that would further enhance the experience that players will have with Frontlines. We look forward to seeing what the fans are able to produce!
7. Can we expect expansion packs to be released in the future?
Yes, additional content for the game is currently in the works and we are planning on various new maps, weapons, vehicles, and possibly game modes. Stay tuned because there will be a lot to look forward to in the future with Frontlines!
8. Do you have any hints or tips you can share with us on how to play the game?
The game is all about player choice and high tech weaponry to choose from. Youcan freely choose how to explore and conquer the large open worlds in Frontlines while picking up new vehicles, weapons and drones along the way. The key is to use the frontline System wisely in both single player and multiplayer. In single player, while completing one objective on the frontline may give you a drone to scout out the location of enemy infantry, or take out an enemy vehicle, the completion of another objective could give you access to a tank, or even an enemy helicopter!As a tip for multiplayer you want to fully utilize the Frontline's Role System. Not only are you given the ability to choose 6 different loadouts from each side but you also have the ability to match it up with any of the 4 unique roles per side that have 3 levels of upgrade each. You rank up each Role per round, so the choice you and your team mates decide on will determine how you match up against the opposing team. The combinations in Frontlines feel endless and it is up to the player to choose what is right for their play style and team strategy!