BROTHERS IN ARMS ROAD TO HILL 30 - Official Website

Based on a true story... Set during the famous airdrop before the invasion at Normandy, where Sgt. Matt Baker and his squad of 101st Airborne Paratroopers are scattered over the French countryside.

As the story unfolds, you must choose between the success of your mission and the lives of your men - your brothers in arms.

Brothers In Arms will immerse players in the historic eight-day invasion of Normandy - with unparalleled imagery, authenticity, sound, and gameplay.

Features:

  • One of a kind: Brothers In Arms is the only first-person tactical shooter set in WWII.
  • Real military tactics: Intuitive and easy-to-use squad controls appeal to both the hardcore and mainstream gaming audience.
  • Real soldiers: Featuring a cast of more than 20 characters, each with a unique personality, appearance, and style.
  • Revolutionary AI system: Allies and enemies use the standard operating procedures of fire and maneuver to flank and kill their foes.
  • Unprecedented authenticity: Historically accurate and detailed battlefields, events, and equipment re-created from Army Signal Corps photos, aerial reconnaissance imagery, and eyewitness accounts.
  • Innovative multiplayer: Players command three-man AI teams in a battle of wits and skill to accomplish exciting objectives.
  • Award-winning team: Gearbox Software, creators of Half-Life Opposing Force and developers of James Bond: Nightfire, Counter-Strike and Halo (PC).
Game Chronicles goes inside this groundbreaking new WWII experience with a GCM exclusive interview.

GCM: Thank you for your time! Please get us started by introducing yourself and telling us about the team behind Brothers in Arms.
Marc Tardif: My name is Marc Tardif I’m a producer on Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30.

Gearbox Software is located in Dallas, TX and employs over 40 of the industries best artists, programmers and level designers, all of which played a significant part in the creation of Brothers in Arms.


GCM: What was your initial inspiration for this project and how do you plan to put a fresh spin on an event that has already been covered extensively in movies and games?
Marc Tardif: Our primary goal going into this project was to create the most authentic portrayal of squad combat and the brotherhood between soldiers possible. We wanted to give players a glimpse of what it was really like to be a soldier. It wasn’t until we met Col. John Antal, the historical director for the game, that we started narrowing down the game to focus on this particular squad of the 101st Airborne. After countless hours of research and listening to Col. Antal tell stories of the paratrooper’s role in the D-Day invasion, we knew that this was the compelling story that would captivate our audience.

GCM: Brothers in Arms is being billed as a first-person “tactical” shooter. How much direct input will the player have over their squad and how much will you be relying on AI control?
Marc Tardif: Brothers in Arms is all about authentic military fire and move tactics. In the game, you have the same amount of control that a real squad leader does. In real war, the squad leader is not responsible for telling each soldier where to stand, what type of stance to take or what weapon to use. The squad leader barks out basic orders, the soldiers rely on their training to know how to execute those orders. Our game works the same way. You order your fire teams to an area and they automatically know how to take cover and how to act. If you tell them to suppress an enemy, they automatically know which weapons to use and when to use them. It is a very powerful and easy to use one-button system.

GCM: What is the estimated gameplay balance between action (Call of Duty) and tactics (Full Spectrum Warrior)?
Marc Tardif: Good Question! I usually tell people that if Call of Duty and Full Spectrum Warrior had an illegitimate love child - Brothers in Arms would be the result. We possess the intense action of Call of Duty and the tactics of Full Spectrum Warrior. I would maybe weigh us a little more toward Call of Duty because our squad control system is in real-time from the first person.

GCM: War is serious but often the intensity is removed when your character can survive a dozen bullet hits. What kind of damage model and healing system are you going to use to keep the game realistic short of a Rainbow Six “one-hit kill” system?
Marc Tardif: When you’re playing Brothers in Arms, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there isn’t a numeric display for health. This is just one way we try to make the experience more intense for the player. People tend not to be too worried when they’re playing a game with 97% health.

We also do some other effects to help the player feel threatened. We’re not afraid to knock the player to the ground or make him dizzy if an explosion goes off near by. The player may occasionally get a “grazing shot” that will whiz by their ear or glance off a piece of cover. All of this is done in an effort to make the player feel like he’s in danger without killing him with one bullet. In practice, I believe it works amazingly well.


GCM: Brothers in Arms is based on a true story about real people in real places. What steps did the design team take to achieve maximum authenticity, not only in tactics but also in actual scenarios?
Marc Tardif: An amazing amount of research went into this game. When you claim to be the most authentic WWII game on the market, you better be able to back it up with the goods.

Every member of the design team has been to Normandy at least once. We’ve sent research teams to our national archives and based all our missions off of actual WWII aerial photography and actual after action reports. Our Weapon modelers have held every weapon in the game and fired a majority of them. (I’m not really sure why there are laws against civilians firing a Panzerfaust) We even had every member of the team go through several days of boot camp to learn what being a soldier was all about. All this combined with having a world-renowned military historian on staff (Col. John Antal), has helped us live up to our claims.


GCM: By its very name, Brothers in Arms gives us a vivid sense of camaraderie. What steps are being taken, both in story and gameplay, to get the player emotionally attached, not only to their character, but also the rest of their team?
Marc Tardif: We spent a lot of effort trying to make the player associate with the characters in the game through script, cut scenes and in-game actions. Perhaps the single best way that the player grows attached to the characters is through going to battle with them. More so than in other games, the player really must rely on the AI characters in the game to survive. Without them, the player will not be successful in his missions.

GCM: What is going to be your approach to multiplayer for this game? Will it be strictly cooperative or will there be special battle maps and the chance to put on a German uniform?
Marc Tardif: The best way we can describe the multiplayer portion of Brothers in Arms is that it’s similar to a single player cooperative experience however all the enemies are controlled by humans. Like the single player game, players control squads of AI in unique missions. There is no generic capture the flag or deathmatch here, just pure competitive and tactical action. Can you play as a German squad leader? Well, someone’s got to play the enemy, right?

GCM: With all of the military games currently available, most gamers have been through virtual “boot camp” numerous times. Are you planning anything special for this game’s tutorial, perhaps some paratrooper training?
Marc Tardif: We are big fans of “in the field training” in games so all of our training takes place during missions. We don’t throw a ton of lessons at the player rather just introduce him to a feature and explain how to use it. Its then time for him to prove he was paying attention because you can bet that there will be a test after the lesson.

GCM: Games that are heavily rooted in story are often notoriously short. About how long do you expect the single-player game to last, and will there be any “incentives” to make gamers want to replay anytime soon?
Marc Tardif: Game length is always difficult to estimate. But since you asked… In testing, the majority of players take 15-20 hours to get through our game on “Normal” difficulty setting.

The game has a absolute ton of extra bonus features that are unlocked every time you complete a chapter on a difficulty setting. These extras consist of research material, “making of” type stuff and some other things that are so cool that I can’t tell you about them. :-)


GCM: Brothers in Arms has a stunning musical score worthy of a feature film. Can you tell our readers how the sound effects team went about capturing all the authentic sounds of war?
Marc Tardif: Music and sound is one aspect of games that is commonly overlooked. For Brothers in Arms, we created a custom score that was recorded with the famous Prague Symphony. The audio team also spent an amazing amount of time and effort making sure that the sound effects in the game were as accurate and cool as possible. The result is one of the most immersive sounding games I’ve ever seen… errr heard.

GCM: With more than 20 unique characters in this story, can we expect any Hollywood talent to lend their voices to this project?
Marc Tardif: Early on there were discussions about hiring recognizable voice talent for the game. However, after further discussion we decided that having recognizable voices might detract from the player’s experience. All of a sudden, the player doesn’t see the redheaded guy as Hartsock, rather cool actor guy who stared in that crazy film. We didn’t want to risk coming across as “gimmicky”.

GCM: Will there be any significant technological or gameplay differences between the PC, PS2 and Xbox versions of the game?
Marc Tardif: All versions of Brothers in Arms use the same underlying technology and are tailored to take advantage of the platform they are on. The Xbox and PC versions of the game were created internally by Gearbox. The PS2 version was created using our source and code by Ubisoft’s Shanghai development team (famous for their amazing version of PS2 Splinter Cell).

GCM: Thank you again for your time! Do you have any last impressions or thoughts for our readers?
Marc Tardif: Gearbox just hopes that fans have as much fun playing the game as we had making it. Thanks!