Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel Interview – ‘Action Rules The Day’
It’s hard to get that excited about Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel. After two decidedly lackluster games, EA finally decided to turn to the safe development hands of Visceral Games to set the series straight.
But, can its special brand of dude-bro antics and co-op design ever produce something worthwhile?
Visceral seems to think so and The Devil’s Cartel producer Greg Rizzer believes the addition of ‘co-opetition’ is key to making Army Of Two successful…
So how did Visceral come to be working on the Army Of Two series?
Rizzer: The previous Army Of Two games, everybody thought that they were strong and that there was some stuff there that was good and there was some stuff that didn’t work. Ultimately, it felt like if we took Visceral’s attention to detail and ability to execute on some things and really nailing those, it would be good for the brand.
Having new technology with that, too, just really worked out well for us.
Was there any cross over with Dead Space 3’s co-op development?
Rizzer: Like I said, the previous Army Of Two games did a lot of things ok, but when you look at games like Dead Space, there’s a core experience there that’s really unique and [Visceral] own that and execute on that to a high level of polish and that’s what we wanted to do.
It’s interesting though, I’m actually from the Redwood Shores office and I know a lot of those, but there are plenty of games out there that do competition extremely well. It’s my personal opinion that, I mean we even have Battlefield 3 that does it really well, but I think that games like Army Of Two there’s no reason to put in competitive multiplayer here.
Games have done that in the past and it just ends up being a bullet-point on the back of a box. Me personally, I haven’t even played the Dead Space co-op yet, and I’m really excited to check that out. I think it’s a really good fit for them as apposed to competitive multiplayer.
There seems to be a renewed focus on the cover system in The Devil’s Cartel?
Rizzer: Yeah, there are obviously plenty of cover-based third person shooters out there, but we wanted to make it a pretty easy snap-to system so that if there’s another piece of cover nearby you can just hit the button, no directional [input] required.
It’s cool, especially with the level of destructible cover that we have in our game. When you think you’re safe there’s a moment of ‘oh shit, I’m not’. I like that feeling, but it’s also a little frightening when you hear a grenade coming in and you realise ‘oh, I’m in trouble now’.
I think the cover systems turning out to be really elegant and it feels good. I think it has the proper weight that a cover system needs to have with guys slamming into it.
The violence thing, it’s definitely an M-rated game. [laughs] There are a lot games out there right now that are trying to be the most realistic and at the end of the day I’m totally happy with us saying that we are an over the top shooter.
It’s over the top and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re not trying to compete in that space, we’re trying to compete in the space where players really want to pick up and have fun and have those ‘oh, damn’ moments. And we’ve got plenty of them.
So there’s less of a focus on the story, then?
Rizzer: We have narrative, obviously, but action rules the day.
Would you say studios are looking to develop games laterally, including things like co-op, as they’re unable to improve things visually?
Rizzer: Well, that’s really interesting. I think obviously as the capacities expand and what not and we have more opportunity to try more complicated things things, that’s going to happen and Fuse is a really cool looking game.
Obviously, it’s cool to see another co-operative game, but at the end of the day, I think we always go back to games that make you feel good when you’re playing with your buddy, whether that’s split-screen or whatever.
I think we’ll always go back to this stuff, especially for me because you always want to be in touch with the younger gamers, but I don’t always want to go into a game and have some 14 yr-old talking about my mom. It’s not my thing. So co-operative gameplay is great and it’s great to see more of them.
I’m a huge fan of Borderlands 2 and again, it’s co-opetition. We’re playing though these checkpoints and you get your report card, you’ll see who did better at each checkpoint. That’s cool with me. We’re still playing it together, but we’re still competing with each other.
Who came up with ‘co-opetition’?
Rizzer: I think I might of, I don’t know. I’m not going to stake-claim it or anything, but I might have had something to do with it. [laughs]
Have you included any ways to grief your co-op partners?
Rizzer: Because you still ultimately have to work together to complete the game, I mean, we have a leaderboard and you’ll be able to check all that out. But, there’s nothing like in the way of really messing with your buddy that much or anything like that.