People expected that the release of Medal of Honor Allied Assault would be popular but no one expected that the PC WWII first person shooter game would not only receive high marks from game reviewers but also stay on in the top 10 best selling list of PC games for over nine months. Naturally, the game's publisher Electronic Arts wants to continue the success and as such is getting ready to complete Spearhead, the expansion pack for Allied Assault that's due out next month. HomeLAN got a chance to ask some questions to the game's executive producer Rick Giolito to find out more about their plans for Spearhead which is being created by EALA. HomeLAN - MOH Allied Assault has remained in the top 10 best selling PC games list for over nine months. Did you have any idea the game would continue to be this successful? Rick Giolito - Obviously, we are thrilled at the success of the product and the franchise as a whole. We focused on creating a deep, immersive and compelling gameplay experience with the expectation that consumers would appreciate it. The response to the title has certainly surpassed even my high expectations, but I think it’s the result of delivering AAA product. I have the best first person team in the world….people like Brady Bell (Producer), Mark Dochtermann (Technical Director) Davis Nash (Lead Designer) and Paul Keet (Lead Engineer). These guys constantly push each other to raise expectations in terms of quality and gameplay. You’ll be able to witness that for yourself in MOH Spearhead. HomeLAN -What were the main goals for creating the upcoming Spearhead expansion pack? Rick Giolito - Our goal was to create the next generation Allied Assault experience in both single and multiplayer modes. The game has a much more cinematic presentation style, a stronger narrative, deeper character development along with a multitude of new characters, weapons, environments and objectives. We also focused on increasing the size of our levels, allowing the player more choices and paths in his effort to overcome obstacles. The game is more open, with multiple paths and ways to reach specific goals. Technologically, the game is a significant step up from Allied Assault. The first thing you’ll notice is the lighting. We brought in Tom Allen as lighting Director. He had just finished up Spiderman (the movie, not the game) and he has taken it levels beyond what AA was. The game is absolutely beautiful. We’ve also worked very diligently on the particle and effects system and the result is breathtaking. Finally, we really wanted to step it up in multiplayer. Our team was able to come up with a plan to increase the size of the levels without sacrificing performance. They are HUGE, exponentially expanding the gameplay possibilities. We added an array of new weapons such as operable Flak guns, 88’s, mortars, smoke grenades as well as the Soviet 7.62mm DTM and the British Sten MG, to name a few. Also included is a full compliment of new British and Russian characters with brand new animation sets, deepening an already realistic library of AI animation. We we’re also able to spend time focusing on our Tug of War mode……stepped, objective based teamplay maps. They’ve become the favorite of the team and testers alike. All in all this goes way beyond what the consumer would normally expect from an add-on pack. Two more missions and we’d have to market this as a frontline product. Its just that good. HomeLAN -What can you tell us about the storyline for the expansion pack? Rick Giolito - Players will take on the identity of Sergeant Jack Barnes, an American soldier. Jack Barnes, born Jack Cameron Barnes, from North Dakota. Jack joined the Army in 1942, at the age of 24. Upon hearing the possibilities of a newly formed regiment, he was moved to Toccoa, Georgia and activated along with his other counterparts as the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (501 PIR). Training and preparation culminated in the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944. The 501st PIR, along with the 101st Airborne and the British 6th parachuted behind the Atlantic wall to secure highways, railways and bridges – from Arnhem to the Willemsvaart Canal. This corridor was known as “Hell’s Highway”. The 501st PIR, during the German winter offensive in Ardennes, the 501PIR were jammed into trucks for an overnight rush to Bastogne in Belgium on December, 18th. The 501 PIR was the first unit to arrive and moved out at dawn to meet the approaching German column three miles beyond town. It stopped the enemy cold and held until the rest of the division could arrive. The “Battered Bastards” staved off elements of seven German divisions before Patton broke through the encirclement on December 26th. On January 20, 1945 the now tattered Airborne division was hurried to Alsace where Hitler’s "Operation Nordwind" offensive, under the personal direction of Heinrich Himmler, was threatening a sector of the Seventh Army front. The 501 PIR, now to 60% strength, occupied defensive positions there until returning to France early in March. As the war in Europe was nearing its end, the 101st division was sent to the Ruhr pocket to help in mop-up operations. The 501st remained in France, preparing to jump on POW camps if deemed necessary to rescue American prisoners -- which it never was. In August the regiment was detached from the 101st and sailed for home to be deactivated at Fort Benning, GA. Campaign 1: Normandy Mission 1_1 Welcome to France: After parachuting in about five miles inland from Omaha Beach with the British 6th Airborne division, you set out on a top-secret mission to destroy German fortified artillery positions. In a matter of hours, Allied forces will begin the D-Day invasion. Your success or failure in knocking out these installations will have a huge impact on what happens when the troops land on the beach. Mission 1_2 The Causeway: Your new mission arrives via radio transmission: destroy a key enemy-held bridge and eliminate the German colonel in charge of defending it. After recovering from the jump, you and your five-man squad, you move forward knowing that your highly dangerous mission is of vital importance. By successfully destroying the bridge, you will cripple the enemy’s ability to transport heavy artillery by train to the Normandy coast. Before blowing up the bridge, you must first cross the river to locate the Nazi colonel … and it won’t be easy. Mission 1_3 The Other Side of the River: After crossing the river, you and the remaining members of your squad must hunt down the evasive colonel. Searching from house to house, you won’t stop until you find him and carry out one of your prime mission objectives—his assassination. You’ll need to be resourceful, using German artillery and locating air-dropped supplies. And you’ll also need all the firepower you can muster when facing German Tiger tanks and other heavy artillery. Ultimately, you’ll need to rely on all of your training to blow the bridge before a train loaded with heavy artillery departs the station for the Normandy coast. Campaign 2: Assault in the Ardennes Mission 2_1 Into the Woods: While attempting to capture a strategic town in the Ardennes, a group of U.S. soldiers has been cut off from Allied supply lines. You and your small squad have been ordered to steal a German supply truck and divert it to the isolated soldiers. Loaded with medical supplies, weapons, ammunition, and food, this truck represents the last hope for the men trapped in the snow-blanketed forest. Camouflaged enemy infantry and tank patrols will be a few of the obstacles you’ll face when attempting this daring rescue operation. Mission 2_2 The Greatest Escape: It wasn’t easy to survive the threats in the forest, but your team finally tracked down the precious supply truck. Now things really get tricky. While another team member commandeers the truck, you jump into the back of an enemy half-track and provide escort. By blasting away at the enemy with the half-track’s mounted machine-gun, you’ll need to run a gauntlet of Nazi firepower before delivering the supplies to the group of cut-off U.S. soldiers. It’s up to you to protect the truck at all costs. Mission 2_3 A Night in Hell: After a few hours after escorting the supply truck to your fellow soldiers, you’re all finally sitting around enjoying some of the hard-fought spoils of combat. In a flash, the scene turns to chaos. A barrage of enemy shells shatters the nighttime quiet, and you’re in the midst of an all-out firefight. With German infantry and tanks storming across the open field, you’ll need to think fast. From picking off the enemy one at a time with your sniper rifle, to mowing them down with a mounted machine-gun, to taking out Tiger tanks with a bazooka, use whatever it takes to stop the advance. Mission 2_4 What Comes Around...: Having survived the enemy assault, you and the other surviving troops advance on a town being used as a base of operations for an artillery company. Just a few hours earlier, the enemy attempted to cross a field and penetrate your lines. Now, you must cross that same field and enter the occupied town. It’s your job to go building by building and room by room to rid the town of Nazis. Just when you think you have things under control, you’ll have to deal with the early morning strafing runs of a Luftwaffe fighter. Not the best way to spend Christmas morning. Campaign 3: The Fall of Berlin Mission 3_1 A Traitor Amongst Us: The German forces have been routed on all fronts. All that remains is Berlin, the still-pumping heart of the once-mighty German war machine. American and British forces have ceased their advance, conceding the capture of the city to the Russian Red Army. However, before the final assault, you’ve been ordered into the city to uncover vital documents, including lists of double agents, traitors and corrupt politicians. The Russians have begrudgingly agreed to give you a small window of time to retrieve what you can before they launch a full-scale assault on the city. Don’t be long, though. The Red Army is not as interested in these documents as it is in crushing the last remaining Nazi stronghold and bringing the Third Reich to its knees. Mission 3_2 The Empire Falls: After locating the documents, now comes the hard part: getting out of the city alive. It took longer than you would have liked to find the papers, and now the first wave of Allied bombers is roaring above the city. A Russian T34 tank stands ready to transport you out of the city. Use familiar landmarks to help guide you as you alternate between firing on enemy tanks with the main turret and picking off scrambling infantry with the tank’s rear-mounted machine gun. At last, you reach the bridge crossing where your mission began. In the massive tank battle that ensues, you must destroy two bridges and fend off many tanks until the next Allied bomber wave arrives to finish off the Nazi forces once and for all. HomeLAN - What new weapons will be featured in Spearhead? Rick Giolito - Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead adds a list of new weapons to your theater of operation. These weapons span across multiple countries, and have significant characteristics to them all. Be sure that you are familiar with the abilities and limitations of each new firearm and explosive prior to any treacherous combat. Grenade Class F1 Fragment Grenade M36 Mills Bomb “Cooking” Fragmentation Grenades M18 Smoke Grenade: American - Red RDG-1 Smoke Grenade: Soviet - Mustard Nebelhandgranate: German – Green Pistol Class Webley Revolver Mark IV 7.62mm Model 1895 Nagant Revolver Rifle Class Lee Enfield Gewehr 43 Machine Gun Class Sten Mark 2 PPSh41 SMG Soviet 7.62mm DTM Portable Maschinengewehr 42 (MG42) (multiplayer only) Stationary Weapons AA Guns Flak Cannon Mortars Neblewerfers Vehicles T34 Tanks PZB41 Tank Busters HomeLAN - What types of new enviroments and locations will be seen in the expansion? Rick Giolito - The Single Player game takes place in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) in WWII. The levels will be set during the Allied invasion of France (D-Day), the Battle of the Bulge, and the Soviet assault on Berlin. The Multiplayer environments are also based in the ETO. HomeLAN - Will there be any new enemies or vehicles to deal with in Spearhead? Rick Giolito - MOHAA Spearhead will introduce some new vehicles like the Russian T34 Tank as well as some new members of the German military. HomeLAN - What other new gameplay elements will be put into the expansion? Rick Giolito - The Expansion Pack will expand the Allied force pool with additional nationalities that were not explored in the original game. In single-player, Sergeant Jack Barnes will be put into situations that introduce British & Soviet troops, language, and weapons. A "Realistic Mode" option will allow players to experience multiplayer levels with highly increased weapon damage if they want to experience the full challenge of WW2 combat. Multiplayer options for server administration will be more flexible and full featured. Most important will be the ability for players to administer more control. Vote for a favorite map, kick or ban an unruly player, or disallow certain weapons from play. With a voting system, players online can voice their opinion through voting and create the specific gaming atmosphere and experience they want. Controlling Tanks: The core behavior of controlling a tank should go unchanged but e have added the ability to control, aim and fire the machine gun Navigating would go unchanged while in this mode and Alternate Fire would essentially act as a toggle between the two weapons. This greatly expands the possibility for more interesting encounters with enemy infantry. Portable Machine Guns: A portable, reloadable German machine gun will be added to multiplayer. Traditional mounted machine guns will still be available for players to control. The portable MG42 will appear on top of a tripod that is large but folds up and unfolds fairly easily. The MG42 will have two states, folded up - ready for transport (“portable mode”), and setup - ready for firing (“firing mode”). When a MG42 is in firing mode, anyone can come up and “use” it provided no one else is using it at the time. If the player needs to move to the side or duck, he can simply press “USE” to let go of the weapon and then move or duck. HomeLAN -What new multiplayer maps and options will be a part of Spearhead? Rick Giolito - Medal of Honor Allied Assault Spearhead allows for continued playability with the online community, with 12 new maps and five gameplay modes, including the new Tug-of-War (TOW) mode. Tug of War (TOW) is an objective-based style of multiplayer gameplay that is completely new to Medal of Honor game types. One of the primary objectives is to defend (or attack) team spawn locations. If one side is able to destroy their enemy’s spawn area, that team quickly gains an advantage. Their teammates continue to spawn into battle if they are killed, whereas enemies do not. Other objectives include taking top-secret aircraft, stealing a submarine, or fighting to control Berlin. Teamwork and communication are vital in determining when the proper time to attack the enemy’s base is, and when it’s better to stay home and defend. Here is an overview of the Server Options that are available in the Expansion Pack.: Max Players: Configure the maximum number of players in the game. The default is 32 players. This should be set according to the speed of the server connection. Only servers with T1 or equivalent connections should host a 32-player server. Frag Limit (Free For All and Team Match only): This sets the score at which the player or team will win the current map. Time Limit (Free For All and Team Match only): This sets the elapsed time at which the game ends, the winner being the player with the highest score at that time. Inactive Spectate: This sets the time in seconds after which an inactive player becomes a spectator. To save server bandwidth, 60 seconds is default. Inactive Kick: This sets the time in seconds after which an inactive player is kicked out of the game. 900 (15 minutes) seconds is default. Map Rotation Time (Round, Objective, and TOW only): This sets the maximum amount of time in minutes players will spend in a particular map. Round Reset Time (Round, Objective, and TOW only): This sets how long each round will take, in minutes. This can be smaller than the map rotation time, but not larger. Team Spawn Delay (All modes except Free For All): This sets a delay in seconds between spawns. This is useful if you would like the player spawned in batches, rather than one at a time. Dedicated Server: Check the DEDICATED SERVER box to increase the speed of the multiplayer game by making the host computer a server-only machine. You will not be able to play the game on a machine that is set up as dedicated. Use GameSpy: To use Gamespy gaming service for internet-based multiplayer games, check the USE GAMESPY box. Here are the Game Options HEALTH DROP When checked, eliminated players drop a health pickup that other players can use if they are hurt. REALISTIC MODE When checked, weapons cause more damage and are in general, less accurate. Select this for the ultimate combat experience. FAST RUN SPEED When checked, the speed at which players can run through levels is increased. Leaving it unchecked defaults to Medal of Honor Allied Assault’s run speed. HEAL RATE Determines how fast players heal when they use a health pickup. Players entering a multiplayer game are automatically invulnerable for 3 seconds each time they spawn. This invulnerability is meant to give players a chance to take cover if there happens to be enemy fire at the time they spawn. The effect is negated early if the player fires his weapons. Here is a list of the multiplayer maps that will be shipping with the game. Ardennes_TOW Bahnhof_DM Bazar_DM Berlin_TOW Brest_DM Druckkhammern_TOW Flughafen_DM Gewitter_DM Holland_DM Stadt_DM Untersette_DM Verschnelt_DM HomeLAN -Many mod makers are wondering when there will be a full SDK released for Allied Assault. Can you give us an idea on when will this occur? Rick Giolito - Yes, we are working on an SDK and plan to have it ready just in time for Christmas. HomeLAN -At the moment, what is the current status of the expansion's progress and when will it be released? Rick Giolito - We will have a final version of the software any day now. Our ship date is currently scheduled for 18-November. Pena e que as expansoes normalmente sao mt curtas a nivel de SP... vamos ver.