We speak to Richard Ham, creative director at Brink developer Splash Damage
Multiplayer has become the reason many people invest in a game - is Brink’s ambition to marry single and multiplayer a reaction to this?
Actually, our fusion of single and multiplayer gaming came about for the opposite reason. We think there are still too many players out there who love solo shooter gameplay, but never go online once they’ve finished their single player campaign, and therefore are missing out on some of the best action videogames have to offer.
With Brink, it’s really important to us that there are no barriers to entry that would prevent players from going online. So while they’re playing through the campaign, we’ll actively encourage them to make the jump and play the story online, with their friends in co-op (up to 8 players), or taking that next step and trying to play online competitively. But no matter how they play, they’ll still experience the same story, they’ll still earn XP and unlockables for their characters, and they’ll have a fantastic time.
It’s interesting too that it goes the other way. For players who traditionally only play online and ignore the single player game, they’ll find themselves experiencing stuff they don’t normally get to see when they jump from random match to random match: an actual story that ties everything together, collectables that flesh out the background of the world and the conflict, and tons of great character customization.
It seems the designing of Brink centres around enticing players to work as a team by designating XP - why did you come to this decision?
Teamwork has been really important in Splash Damage’s previous Enemy Territory games, and Brink is taking it to the next level. And while there are plenty of great games out there that encourage team play, most of the time, a player’s experience in those games will still be that of a bunch of individuals running around, pursuing their own agendas, ignoring their teammates; basically being lone wolves. We feel there are very few players who ever really get to experience the incredible rush you get when you’re working as part of a well-organized squad, accomplishing objectives and defeating the enemy together.
So in Brink, we’ve added a lot of features that really enhance teamwork, and make it rewarding to accomplish. One of the biggest features centers around communication, ensuring that everybody knows what’s going on everywhere on the map, so they can make smart decisions.
For instance, if you’re alone standing guard at a computer server that the enemy is trying to destroy and bad guys start to attack, your character will automatically tell the rest of the team, via radio, “We’re under attack in the server room”, and everyone else on the team will get new objectives to come and help you defend the room. They’ll also have their mini-maps updated immediately to show where those enemies that you’ve spotted are.
That sort of thing happens automatically, so as a player in this situation, you can really just focus on the task at hand: defending the position. But because that report has gone out, everyone else knows what they now need to do, and they have interface systems that make it really easy for them to get their jobs done. | More
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