Seriously, who does the trailers for Danger Close?
Inside a club in San Francisco, after the end of GDC for the day, the lights dim as a live action trailer starts to play. I feel something blowing against my leg, and a machine disguised as a net covered crate is pouring out fog, which pools around the legs of the attendees.
“I don’t know why they do that,” says a tall, bearded man behind the velvet rope next to me. We both look at the machine, baffled, which prompts us both to smile.
“How many times have you watched this?” I ask, nodding towards the video.
“About a thousand times,” he says with a grin.
The video reaches its conclusion, a hostage situation in the Phillipines suddenly ends when the hostage takers are downed by bullets fired from hidden locations. As if fired by ghosts. Badass ghosts.
The guy I had the brief exchange with turns out to be Greg Goodrich, who mounts the stage to talk about the game the trailer was for—Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It’s clear that Goodrich, the game’s Executive Producer from developer Danger Close, is proud of the franchise and excited about the direction it's going.
The new installment has added a global element to its Tier 1 war on terror, and this is accentuated in more ways than one in the design. In multiplayer, players will have access to Tier 1-level operatives from around the world, with Special Ops units from 12 different nations represented, allowing people to have a greater degree of diversity and regional pride. In the single-player campaign, the missions happen all over the world, rather than in one fixed location.
Goodrich then invites two Tier 1 consulting experts to the stage, one of which explains the validity of this international approach: “Terrorist organizations are flat structures." Because of that, they can be more widespread and can act more independently. He also explains that the first game started as a narrative he and a friend had written about, a what-if scenario that considers how they would have fought the war in Afghanistan if they hadn’t had to deal with bureaucracy.
Following a brief Q&A, we’re treated to a live demo of a level set in the Philippines, with the Tier 1 operatives fighting to retrieve some hostage aid workers in the middle of a typhoon. The level, a half drowned hotel, makes for an exciting battlefield. The Danger Close employee playing the game delighted in placing the crosshairs over the face of every insurgent that pops up from behind cover…
Headshot. Headshot. Headshot. Each with a splashy burst of blood. A piece of audio dialogue plays, with a soldier speaking with his wife on the phone, saying he didn't want to fight. The wife snaps back, “You live for it.”
While the story may be more realistic for having the Tier 1 consultants on it, elements of the gameplay remain as wonderfully fantastical as you’d expect from a modern military first-person shooter. The player switches from machine gun to side arm, and back, in half a second; upon a successful breach with a flashbang, time slows down, a la Modern Warfare for precision kills. An on-rails section by boat through the flooded streets of Isabella City has the main character sweeping rooftops with a mounted automatic grenade launcher, picking off targets by exploding conveniently placed billboards next to them. It makes for a frenetic series of set-pieces that never lets the adrenaline stop pumping.
After the demo, Goodrich gives us a release date: October 23rd. Until then, fans will have to be sated with their amazing trailers, because damn, those look good.