WWII shooters, modern day tactical shooters, sci-fi shooters...and a Civil War shooter? Yep, later this fall developer Cauldron and Activision Value will release History Channel: Civil War – A Nation Divided, a game that they hope will rise above most value prices titles with some interesting historical twists on the FPS genre. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Activision producer Chris Owen about their plans for the game which will come out on the PC, PS2 and Xbox 360.
FiringSquad: First how did the idea for a Civil War themed FPS game come about?
Chris Owen: We were looking to do something new and different for a First Person Shooter military based game. We had previous success with Civil War titles on PC and wanted to find out if a Civil War concept for videogame consoles would resonate with FPS consumers. To our pleasant surprise, the answer was a resounding yes and the concept was amongst the highest we’ve tested with uniqueness scores off the charts.
FiringSquad: How did Cauldron get the gig to develop the game?
Chris Owen: We did an extensive search of a number of developers who had experience in multiplatform FPS development. We were very impressed with Cauldron as they had an impressive FPS tech demo, a portfolio of other games under their belt, and a team eager to go to work. In the end, we decided to give them a shot and we have been very pleased by their performance as they’ve put together a great FPS game.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the single player storyline and how it follows the real battles of the Civil War?
Chris Owen: First, let me say that encapsulating the Civil War into a video game is a daunting task. On the upside, there is a lot of material to pull from. We did loads of research from books, the internet, videos (thanks to The History Channel), and consultants to help get our facts straight. On the downside, there is far more material than could be used. Where do we start? Who is the player? How do we progress from level to level? These are questions we asked ourselves early on in the project. Ultimately, we decided that the best approach would be a linear progression through some of the most famous battles fought in both the North and South. Each level is a self-contained story which takes inspiration from real Civil War stories. For example, in Gettysburg, there is a popular rock formation known as Devils Den which soldiers used as a strategic location for sniping. The player starts out in that location in the Gettysburg level.
FiringSquad: What sort of battles and locations will players get to see in the game?
Chris Owen: The game features 12 of the most famous and bloody battles in our Nation’s history including Gettysburg, Bull Run and Antietam and famous locations within each battle such as Little Round Top and Lookout Mountain. The game is divided into two sections: the Northern and Southern campaigns. In the North, you will progress through battles primarily won by the North: Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, and so on. In the Southern Campaign, the player will experience the battles primarily won by the South: Bull Run, Antietam, Shiloh, and a few more. The type of terrain encountered in each level varies depending on the location of the battle. There are forts, enemy camps, mills, train depots, trenches, towns, beaches, swamps, forests, and so on.
FiringSquad: What sorts of weapons will the player get to use?
Chris Owen: One of the interesting things that I learned when researching weapons was that the Civil War was one of our nation’s greatest periods of greatest military innovation as both sides were trying to find weaponry advancements to win the war. Weapons such as Gatling guns, repeating rifles, hand grenades and exploding artillery were used by both sides in the Civil War and are featured in the game. All of the weapons are authentic to the Civil War era and also include period muskets, revolvers, sniper rifles, sabers, and knives. Here is the full list of weapons:Sheffield Bowie Knife
U.S. M1860 Light Calvary Saber
Colt Army Revolver Model 1860
1861 Springfield Musket
Target Rifle (i.e. Sniper)
Howitzer 9 lb Cannon