Summary: Ever wanted to fight the Civil War, from a perspective on the ground? JCal gets the scoop on just such a shooter.
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:
Chris Owen: This will be handled in a similar fashion to other FPS games. The player has a button to perform a melee attack. The actual attack varies depending on the type of weapon the player is currently using. The player can throw punches, use the butt of his weapon, or use a bayonet if there is one on the weapon. The player can also perform combo hits by repeatedly tapping the melee button. As melee combat was incredibly important during the civil war, we tried to keep it as fluid as possible.
FiringSquad: Will the game feature any multiplayer modes?
Chris Owen: No.
FiringSquad: What other gameplay features do you consider to be important?
Chris Owen: The thing that sticks out in my mind is the variety of gameplay objectives from level to level. In one level, you need to be stealthy in order to invade an enemy camp and sabotage a hot air balloon. In other levels, you need to blow up train bridges or sniper towers. There’s even one point where you have to use cannons to fight off an oncoming column of enemy soldiers. The game definitely offers a lot of variety.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the graphical features in the game?
Chris Owen: We consider the graphics for the game to be stunning and well-rounded. Most important, we wanted to make sure the weapons and environments looked great. We paid special attention to surface properties so that metal looks like metal and reflects light as you would expect it to. The same goes for other surface properties like wood, skin, cloth, and so forth. And, as the weapons are authentic to the period, we took the extra time needed to create high quality reload and firing animations for each.
FiringSquad: Will there be a playable demo of the game released?
Chris Owen: Unfortunately we do not have a demo available. We will have a trailer available through Xbox Live.
FiringSquad: What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?
Chris Owen: The game has been completed and will be released on November 7.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about History Channel: Civil War – A Nation Divided?
Chris Owen: This game is not your typical FPS military shooter. In Civil War – A Nation Divided, you’re in a world where ammo does not unload as quickly or accurately as in modern military games. Because of this, each shot is a strategic action. Don’t let this fool you though. There are plenty of intense battles, and moments where you will get to unload your aggression with the Gatling gun. Regardless of the battle, however, you always need to be thinking about the best time to reload your weapon and where to take cover when you need it. With frequent close range fighting, melee becomes a necessity – more so than for other games in the genre. In short, due to the nature of the game’s context, Civil War – A Nation Divided has developed its own unique flavor as an FPS military game.
|© Copyright 2003 FS Media, Inc.|