411 Interview with Blacklight: Tango Down Lead Designer Jared Gerritzen
On Weds., July 7, Ignition Entertainment and Zombie Studios released Blacklight: Tango Down for the Xbox Live Arcade, with the PlayStation 3 and PC versions coming soon.
I had gotten a bit of hands-on time with the game at E3, but wanted to talk to the development team a bit more about some of the aspects of the game, including what sets the game apart from Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2, how they came up with some new features in the game and more. So, read on and check out my interview with Zombie Interactive lead designer Jared Gerritzen.
Adam Larck: The multiplayer was being shown at E3, but will there be any single player in the game? If so, what will it be?
Jared Gerritzen: We didn’t focus on single player at all. We wanted the experience to focus on playing with friends. However, we do have Co-op missions you can play by yourself, but they’re pretty hard without any back up.
AL: Switching to co-op, are there any plans to have co-op in the game, and what will it be like?
JG: Co-op missions are very intense. Our lead level designer really set the combat to “eleven” with the amount of AI that are attacking. The idea of Co-op with Tango Down is to give a players that ‘just want to play with friends’ a way to do so.
AL: I noticed during my playtime that there seemed to be turrets guarding spawn areas to prevent spawn-killing. How did you guys come up with this idea?
JG: The idea came from team members playing like JERKS. We took the turrets from CO-OP and put them in the bases to really change the way the maps play. It gives the team that may be getting OWND a chance to get out of the base.
AL: While customizing weapons, I saw a slot for weapon tags but nothing was available to choose from. What will weapon tags do for guns?
JG: Weapon tags are an item that you can add to your weapon, kind of like a cell phone tag. We found an article about Special Forces operators hanging cell tags on their weapons to make them even more their own and customized. We took that idea and added it to the weapons, we really want each player’s weapon to be their own, and recognized by others. The weapons tags are randomly unlocked to players, so most players won’t even have the same tags unlocked. I catch myself yelling at other team members because they have a cool tag that I want unlocked for myself. It was something we tried and turned out to be really cool.
AL: The Hyper Reality Visor seems to be a big play mechanic for the game. How did you come up with the idea of showing all enemies for a short time?
JG: HRV happened in a bar, one of our team members had a cell phone app that showed restaurants and bars in the area. We spent the night using it and talking about how crazy it would be to track other people with the app. We ended up putting it in game and testing it out; to our surprise it was really fun and made the combat even more fast and fun.
AL: Will the game feature any free-for-all modes, or is everything team based?
JG: Yes, we have standard death match “free-for-all.” It’s pretty insane with a full server.
AL:Players will be able to gain 70 levels during their play, but what will be available for players to do after hitting the level cap?
JG: If players hit 70 levels, they are my hero. The math of getting up to level 70 is about 100 hours of gameplay. I would have to say once a player gets to level 70 what they truly get is the most out of their money, 100 hours of play for 15 bucks.
AL: Has there been any thought about adding new weapon parts in the future to increase the customization?
JG: We could add “map pack” and “weapon packs” to eventually make the fans pay an additional price for the game after a few months. But with other games bleeding fans for maps they already had, it really put me off of map packs. We have 12 maps in the game, we could have easily pulled a few back and made people pay for them later, but I want people to be fans of the game, not think we’re trying to pull the same crap others are.
AL:How many different types of equipment will be in the game, and what will they all do?
JG: The player will have 4 different equipment types to select from. Standard grenades, they blow up. Proximity mines, they blow up if they smell you. EMP grenades (flash bang), that will blue screen your HUD on explosion. And finally the Digital grenade (smoke), it scrambles the players HUD not allowing them to see through its field. It’s a pretty standard load out, but we focused on the idea of changing the items to fit the world. I want players to pick up the controller and get it as fast as they can and have fun as soon as possible. It’s all about having fun, some people forgot that.
AL:What will make this game stand out from other shooters like Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2?
JG: It’s faster paced, you can get in to combat and have a fighting chance if you’re better. It’s not about who sees who first, because everyone can see everyone. We also have a customization system they don’t have that allows player to define how they want to play. OHH, and were selling the game for the price that they sell you a few maps.
You can check out Blacklight: Tango Down today on Xbox Live for $15, and soon for the PS3 and PC. Expect a review of the game up soon as well.