Laying in Wait
May 4, 2009 – On the heels of Fallout 3, Bethesda Softworks is fast closing in on Rogue Warrior, a first-person shooter that puts you in the shoes of counter-terrorist hero Richard Marcinko. Announced back in 2006, Rogue Warrior is being developed by Rebellion (Rogue Trooper). The game was originally in the hands of Zombie Studios but seems to have since changed hands. With so much time in the oven, what can we expect from this latest action adventure?
If you’re not familiar with the name Richard Marcinko, or Demo Dick as he’s oft referred to, he’s a man of many faces. An ex-Navy SEAL and commanding officer of Red Cell (a U.S. counter-terrorism unit), Marcinko is a real-life war hero (or anti-hero, depending on who you talk to). Though his actions in combat have been scrutinized by politicians and other government officials, his larger-than-life persona will command the helm of this latest venture by Bethesda.
The beginning of the story focuses on North Korea during the cold war (1980s), and as the rogue warrior, it’s up to you to unravel a conspiracy that threatens the entire globe. You’ll eventually make your way into the U.S.S.R., using both strategy and raw savagery to tear through to the truth as something of a one-man army. Bethesda boasts over 25 “brutal kill moves” in the game to allow players to experience all the grit and gore they desire.
Though the game is being promoted as an FPS, most of the screen shots we’ve seen thus far show Marcinko from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective. Considering the game seems to have a heavy focus on stealth and tactics, moving into the third-person seems like a welcomed option. You’ll eventually go up against entire squads of enemies, and sabotage and the element of surprise will often be the best weapons of choice.
The gameplay and story are based upon the real-life recollections of Marcinko and his experiences with black ops. He’ll command a small unit of soldiers, using whatever means necessary to fulfill his objectives.
There are several multiplayer modes in place as well, and the online options do ring a tad familiar. With the spotlight on – once again, as Bethesda likes to term it – “brutal kill moves,” we’re expecting something along the lines of a Gears of War-type, head-to-head experience. However, 10 gameplay modes, along with a system that allows players to compete on some 200+ maps, promises to make Rogue Warrior an extremely valuable gameplay package. A squad-based, cooperative option for the story mode has also been hinted at, which would certainly be a major plus in an adventure such as this, where working together in the shadows takes precedence over straight-on, run-and-gun action.
Rogue Warrior is a heavily story-driven experience; however, as is Bethesda’s forte, the game will afford players the freedom to tackle the experience in their own way. Environments are massive, with a focus on freeform thinking, rather than scripted events. The game also sports advanced A.I., able to execute flanking maneuvers and act as part of a team.
The game is being constructed using the Unreal 3 Engine and makes use of streaming technology. In layman’s terms, that means the game will pre-load required elements as needed, rather than forcing the player to sit through load screens. It also means that the game looks really good up against the best of the best from this generation. Rebellion seems to be making very good use of Epic Games’ cutting-edge technology. Character models exhibit excellent detail, and environments look authentically exotic. We’ve yet to actually view the game in motion, so we’re eager to get our hands on it to see and experience, first-hand, how everything comes together.
One of the more interesting, new developments is the addition of Mickey Rourke to the project. The veteran actor will be voicing main character Demo Dick, and we simply cannot imagine a better choice for the role. Neither can Bethesda, evidently, as Rourke was their first choice to fill the shoes of this infamous character. You may remember the actor from such films as The Pope of Greenwich Village, Sin City, and more recently, The Wrestler.
Originally announced for release in late 2007, Rogue Warrior seems to have taken a few sidesteps, and much like its main character, the game is still very much shrouded in mystery – laying in wait for its release later this year. The pedigree of the publisher certainly gives us plenty of reason to hope big, though there’s still much to learn about the game. We anticipate a major showing at this upcoming E3, so be sure to check back for more on this gritty shooter in the making.
SEALs at their Best
Feb. 1, 2007 – Games like SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs prove that SEALs are hardcore. Everyone knows that, but Bethesda, Zombie Interactive, and Richard Marcinko want to make sure no one forgets it. Rogue Warrior ensures no one ever will. Even with a market flooded with military first person shooters, Rogue Warrior is breaking the mold – forever.
Rogue Warrior is based on the autobiography Rogue Warrior, by former Navy SEAL commander and founder of SEAL Team Six, Richard Marcinko. In the autobiography, Marcinko retells the events of the Vietnam War for his team. The game takes a different route. Mirroring the headlines of today, you lead Marcinko and a team of three others into North Korea and infiltrate a submarine facility to acquire information on the nuclear capabilities of the country. While gathering information behind enemy lines, North Korea invades South Korea, thus the drums of war begin to beat with you in the middle of a hot zone. Now your mission is to navigate your team out of North Korea before you are captured.
Innovation is the admirable trait of Bethesda, developer for one of the top RPG franchises of all time, Elder Scrolls. Instead of using the same formalities of previous games, Rogue Warrior will not be using the “rail” system of a normal FPS. You will have to strategically map out which way you want to go, tactically, stealthily, or down in a blaze of glory. This broadens the depth of the game and allows the player options instead of just one locked path. Rogue Warrior will have the largest levels, in scale, of any FPS. Bethesda has even went the extra step to appeal to fans of military games, not just the FPS lovers, by including the option to switch from FPS to third-person. The AI of the enemies promises to be as innovative as the rest of the gameplay. You’ll start out with low level North Korean soldiers, moving your way up to the elite, with the intelligence level becoming more advanced with each new confrontation.
Have a couple of friends that you would like to play with instead of against? The co-operative mode will allow any of your friends to jump in and out at their leisure, replacing them with AI controlled characters with ease. Another advantage to the co-op mode is that if you are injured during a mission, one of your buddies can step in and heal you. The cooperative play will be available online, along with a massive multiplayer option. While having up to 24 players competing in several gameplay modes, 11 so far with more possibly coming, is impressive, the new tiling system adds more player control over the online gaming experience. Where you compete against another team is up to you, them, and the server. You will be given several map options to choose from, each team selects one, the team votes on the map area, and then the server randomly selects the middle area of the map. For those players needing to refine their skills, you will able to participate in the gameplay modes with full AI bots. In addition to the tiling system, here are some of the modes currently being worked on:
1. DM – Straight up Deathmatch.
2. TDM – Team Deathmatch.
3. CTF – Capture the Flag variant. The team needs to move a “flag” from one capture point to another to capture it. Victory conditions can be based on number of capture points or total time capture points are held.
4. VIP – Only one member of each team (the VIP) can capture the control points. Each time the VIP is killed, a new VIP is chosen. Victory conditions can be based on number of capture points or total time capture points are held.
5. Hold and Conquer – The team must capture and hold all the domination points at the same time to win.
6. Squad Capture – To capture a point, the team needs more than 1 player alive at the capture point. Victory conditions can be based on number of capture points or total time capture points are held.
7. Capture Once – Once a control point is captured,s it can’t be un-captured. The team that captures the most points the fastest wins.
8. King of the Hill – Only the Center Tile’s Control point(s) is active. Victory conditions can be based on number of capture points held at one time or total time capture points are held.
9. Pure Time Capture – Time points are awarded for each control point held. Only one team member is needed to capture each point. The more points that are held, the more time bonuses are given. The team that holds the most points and for the longest amount of time, wins.
10. Promotion – For each successive kill you get, you are awarded more points, but you obtain the most points/highest rank, by killing those who rank above you, less points for killing those below you. Goal is to be the highest ranked player at the end of the match.
11. Demotion – One player is randomly chosen as the Fleet Admiral. Everyone else tries to kill them. The person that kills the Fleet Admiral becomes the Fleet Admiral. The longer they stay alive + more kills they obtain, the more points they accrue. The winner is the person who is the Fleet Admiral the longest.
Using the Unreal 3 engine, the same engine used for Gears of War, Rogue Warrior looks impressive even in this stage of development. The character models look smooth and capture the features of the SEALs nicely. Highly detailed environments will be interactive as well; shooting certain spots on a vehicle will leave certain kinds of dents. In addition to Richard Marcinko, the other SEAL members that are represented in the books provide their voices to their digital representations. With Marcinko’s known language of choice, if you have read the series of books, being that of a sailor, you can bet that the dialogue will be insightful, colorful, and humorous.
Rogue Warrior looks to be the next big title to look for. With all of its features changing or updating how things are done currently in the genre, too much change could be a bad thing. However, with Bethesda, a company known for sleek environments, interesting characters, and desire to improve upon gaming experiences, and Zombie Interactive, the company that brought you the Spec Ops series, you can bet we are in for one heck of a ride. Rogue Warrior is set to be released Fall 2007.