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SWAT: Urban Justice News Interview
Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson :: 12:00 AM @ May 17th, 2002 :: In-House: Interviews
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GameGossip: It seems that Sierra is aiming for that Swat 4 will be an even more realistic game than its predecessors were. Following recent events, the gaming industry and the tactical shooter games specifically have been blamed for being too realistic and for teaching youngsters tactical ways to kill. What is your opinion about this matter? Are games these days too realistic?
Rod Fung: Our intentions for the SWAT franchise are certainly not to train youngster's tactical ways to kill; in fact our SWAT games promote life saving in a very unique way. By representing SWAT teams as a real life entity, we promote tactical ways to solve problems without shooting a shot. Sure there are times in the game that shooting is necessary but as in real life shooting a suspect also means saving the life of a hostage (s), sometimes the suspects gives the SWAT officer no other choice. Yes, many games in the genre are moving toward more realism as that is what some consumers demand. Personally I feel that some games go over the top in glorifying violence and mayhem. The SWAT series in general has always walked a thin line in this area as well, not in that we are showing too much violence, but that we are showing off too many secrets in the tactical "real life" community of SWAT teams and military Special Operations.
GG: Swat 4's storyline features a war that is being fought against L.A. gangs in the year 2006. This continues the tradition that recent tactical shooters decided to go with: completely ignore what has been going on in the world since September 11th. Did the Swat 4 development team think about making the game really realistic and include the world's war on terror in the storyline?
RF: I actually believe that most of the other games in the genre are featuring war against terrorism. We on the other hand have focused on what SWAT deals with on a regular basis; street gang warfare in the streets of large metropolitan area. We thought the gang warfare in LA was a unique storyline to feature and it has added quite a bit more flexibility into the game.
GG: How is the team assuring that the game will be as realistic as possible? How are the SWAT special tactics being implanted into the game (any special advisors etc')?
RF: Yes, as in past games we have numerous LAPD SWAT advisors on the game and we have spent countless hours working with them to make the game as authentic as possible. Myself and many of my team members have worked with SWAT for many years now (9 years for me) and have gained a vast knowledge on the subject matter as well.
GG: Will Swat 4 feature realistic physics powering the game's objects, environments and enemies?
RF: Yes, we have a nice physics model built into the game, including movable objects in the environments and very realistic ballistics for the weapons. We have an especially nice particle system as well that is the best I've seen in a game.
GG: Tell us about the game's AI. How will the AI differ itself from all the other tactical shooters on the market?
RF: Not sure as I haven't seen all of the latest titles coming out this year. We really have focused on making our AI not only better than SWAT3, but more realistic in the way that SWAT teams operate.
GG: How many different missions will the game have, where will they take place, and how many gaming hours are you aiming at?
RF: There are 16 single player missions in the game all set in the city of Los Angeles. The missions locations are varied such as a museum, a strip club, a diamond wholesaler, a couple historical landmarks, a recording studio, etc.
GG: What different enemies will the game feature, and will each one of them have special abilities, skills and level of training?
RF: Yes, each will be unique and different. The gang guys have quite a few unique abilities.
GG: Swat 4 will feature a mission, career and multiplayer modes. Please explain about the career and mission modes.
RF: Yes, we'll have career mode which will take you through a story of battling gang crime in the big city. In Mission mode you can play any individual mission, and in multiplayer you will be able to play as a SWAT officer or a gang member in all of the usual MP type games.
GG: How many weapons will be available throughout the game? Will the missions' success be affected by the choice of your weapon or will you be able to finish every mission with the same weapon?
RF: We have around 40 weapons and counting. All or modeled correctly and function as the real thing. Many are also high configurable so that you can setup your firearms for the mission at hand. Our ballistics modeling for SWAT UJ is much more in-depth than the SWAT 3 model as well, taking into account a much wider range of bullet types and ammunition.
GG: Will Swat 4 be an event-driven game or will one mission affect the other?
RF: It will be event driven and depending on the outcome of certain missions, you might encounter some of the same gang members if they happen to have gotten away in an earlier mission. This will effect the story in various manners.
GG: The Swat series has grown out of Sierra's Police Quest series. Is there any chance we are going to see another Police Quest game or is the series dead? Did Sierra decide to abandon its 1980-1990's legacy and trademark: the adventure game?
RF: Yes the SWAT games evolved out of the Police Quest series. Sierra Entertainment still owns the trademark "Police Quest" adventure game but we currently do not have any plans for a future PQ game. I get asked this question quite regularly; perhaps we'll need to think about a PQ adventure game for the future.
GG: "SWAT: Global Strike Team" is scheduled to be released this year for the Xbox. What will be the differences between Sierra's two Swat games, other than their storylines? Will the console players get a chance to play Swat 4 on their favorite console, or will they have to settle for Swat: GST instead?
RF: SWAT UJ and SWAT GST are very different games that are created specifically for their intended hardware. Each game is related in that they are both under the SWAT franchise and I am involved with both of them. Console players will need to play SWAT UJ on the PC only.
GG: Anything special you would like to share about Swat 4's multiplayer mode?
RF: 24 player capability that supports LAN, Direct IP and its dedicated server based.
GG: Will Sierra be showing a playable version of Swat 4 and Swat: GST at E3?
RF: We are showing SWAT UJ at this years E3. GST will be shown next year as it's a 2003 release. Please stop by the Sierra Entertainment area for a demo if you happen to be at the show!

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