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PAX Developer Interview – Brink

By Dave "Boris" Orosz | 11 September 2010 | Conventions, Editorial, Interviews, PAX | , , , , | 0 Comments   

Bethesda’s Brink is a title I’m very excited about getting my hands on.  It does what no other multiplayer game does and provides a full storyline to squad based versus action.  I find myself not playing squad based games frequently enough because there’s no start or end points, just a series of rounds.  The ideas governing Brink give me a little more brain juice for my online experience.  Richard Ham, the game’s Creative Direction, was on the scene to help feed my Brink desires.

BRINK.mp3

I also got a chance to throw down some Brink action of my own in the demo they had running.  Here’s a video highlighting sections the demo level running at PAX.

Here are my reactions to actually playing Brink as seen on my recap of PAX Day 3.

“There have been a few multiplayer games during the show so far that I’ve been impressed with for their innovations, and Brink is yet another one.  Brink is a squad based single player game that has no line separating it from the multiplayer game.  There is a full story line and chapter system.  You pick your character, customize him and enter him into the next chapter of your adventure (though you actually have the option to play any chapter in any order).  When you start the match, you are placed in a squad with 8 other people in your allegiance.  Depending on player availability, the game will provide you with AI controlled or player controlled characters alongside you in the squad.

The idea is there is a civil war on this floating city, the last known civilization in the world.  Resources are running out and two sides are forming, those who want to protect the city and those who want to escape it.  Your first task in the game is to pick your side.  Point of view is incredibly important in this game, because whichever side you pick, your goal is justified.  The Resistance believes that the city will die without venturing out into the world to find new land.  The Security wants to see the city remain safe and must stop the infighting.  There are conspiracies happening on both sides that test the player’s confidence in their allegiance throughout the game, but still, it’s the brink of civil war and both sides are committed to the fight.

Your squad is one of the sides, the other squad is the rival side, all can be human players following the opposite plotline.  Regardless of your allegiance, the cutscenes you get and the storytelling you experience is specific to your place in the story and your role in the war.  In actuality, this game is the first multiplayer versus game I’ve ever seen with a full storyline.

As for the game, it’s a basic FPS with squad and class based gameplay.  You can be medic, engineer, soldier, etc.  I was impressed with how advantageous each class is to have.  You can actually go to a console at your base and take a look at how many players are what type of class so that you can strategically change your class mid battle.  You gain experience points to level up abilities in the class of your choice for your character, but YOU gain the experience instead of the character.  Let me explain.

Instead of the character you’re playing gaining the experience, you gain the experience and apply it to the characters you choose.  This way if you have a maxed level (the game maxes at level 20) engineer and you want to develop a medic, you can put the experience you earn as the engineer towards the medic so that you can wait until they’re more powerful before you use them.  You can have a whole range of characters to switch between freely before each chapter depending on how you feel like playing at the time.

There’s also a bit of an acrobatic element to the movement.  There are some characters that can do wall vaulting, slides and so on, but the efficiency is based on skill.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be skilled to maneuver the environment.  There’s a “SMART” system to the movement that will assist the player in performing specialty movements.  Using this system will result in a slower execution of the move.  It’s always advantageous to become good at the moves, but it’s not impossible to perform the move without it.  I didn’t get to see as much of the movement abilities as I would have liked to, but what I did see worked well enough.

All these elements are explained in greater depth during my interview with Richard Ham, the creative director, so when it’s posted, you can find out the finer details of Brink.”

Brink sounds like a very unique game and I wish them the best in driving the idea of the multiplayer storyline even further.  For now, look for Brink sometime next year.

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