Medal of Honor: Warfighter interview: Danger Close multiplayer creative director, Kristoffer Bergqvist

PC World tries out the sequel to EA’s 2010 reboot of the Medal of Honor franchise
Danger Close Games multiplayer creative director, Kristoffer Bergqvist

Danger Close Games multiplayer creative director, Kristoffer Bergqvist

Electronic Arts recently allowed the media to get an early look at a build of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the follow-up to the publisher’s reboot of the franchise in 2010. The first playable mission, titled Shore Leave, consisted of storming a building and using teamwork to clear it out. The graphics were detailed and smooth on the high-end tes PC, so it will be interesting to see how Danger Close Games scale down the graphics for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The gunplay from 2010’s Medal of Honor was intact, which meant that gameplay was familiar.

The highlight was the second playable mission, titled Hot Pursuit, which put the player at the wheel of a vehicle. The goal of the level was to pursue a fleeing vehicle through a busy town, complete with traffic and marketplaces to avoid. The level was well paced and did a good job of capturing the feel of chase scenes in Hollywood films. Small details, such as chickens flying past the windshield when crashing through boxes in the market, added to the overall feeling of immersion. The responsive controls also made the driving section fun.

Following the play test, PC World had a chance to speak to Danger Close Games multiplayer creative director, Kristoffer “Hoffe” Bergqvist, about the game.

2010’s Medal of Honor was quite a significant reboot of the series that made a name for itself for representing World War II. Was did you find was the response by players to it?

Danger Close Games multiplayer creative director, Kristoffer “Hoffe” Bergqvist (KB): Our audience really appreciated the new Medal of Honor. We got a good response to the authenticity and the close collaboration we had with the special operations community. It was a big step for us as a studio, tying all of those contacts together and bringing in together all of the operators that we still work with together. It was also during that game that we got hold of the storyline that we tied into Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

What do you feel is shaping up to be the most interesting aspect of the sequel, Medal of Honor: Warfighter?

KB: I’m having a lot of fun with the fire team mechanic in the co-op multiplayer. You get paired up with another friend and fight together. You come up with really good cooperative team play, such as faster response, more ammo, and so on. I’m incredibly happy with how that is shaping up.

Has anything come out of testing of the game that surprised you?

KB: The balance within the fire team depending on the classes they pick. We see some new and cool combinations come up. From the beginning, it was traditionally pick two fast classes and two slower classes. Now we’ve seen guys play with one demolitions unit, which has the ballistics armour and can take a lot of damage, and the point man, which has good medium to long range. They send in the demolitions unit in first to draw fire, and slightly behind it is the point man shooting at enemies. That kind of dynamic I didn’t expect, which was cool to see.

What do you feel is the key benefit of play testing?

KB: We added a lot of features during play testing. The great thing with the Frostbite 2 engine is that we had a playable version of Medal of Honor: Warfighter two years ago. Since then we’ve done daily play testing and that has allowed us to add a lot of features and still make sure they are balanced. So that’s how we ended up with six different classes with over thirty different abilities, from UAVs to tripwire mines to flyable Apache gunships. That came out from all of the play testing that we did.

The Medal of Honor franchise consists of many different instalments, but it traditionally focused on World War II until recently. As such, do you still turn to those games as a source of inspiration for the Medal of Honor reboot?

KB: We look a lot at them, especially when it comes to the tone and how we work with the military. A lot of the inspiration for the game comes from the real soldiers, the guys that are out there, the ones with the “boots on the ground” so to speak. That was what Steven Spielberg looked at when he made the first Medal of Honor, and we still base a lot of our design on that.

Multiplayer seems to be a big focus for Medal of Honor: Warfighter this time around. What is driving this?

KB: This is the first multiplayer that we’ve done internally for a while, as that was outsourced a lot in the past. It’s great to be in the same studio and working closely with the single player team, which mostly consists of the same people that were there when the original Medal of Honor kicked off fifteen years ago. It’s a big step for multiplayer to use the input they have.

In addition to releasing Medal of Honor, publisher Electronic Arts also released Battlefield 3 last year. What do you feel is the key difference between the two franchises?

KB: I am a big Battlefield fan and I worked on the franchise for many years before I came to Danger Close and worked on Medal of Honor. The main difference is that Battlefield is what we call “the sledgehammer,” which is big scale warfare. We are “the scalpel,” tier one units fighting close quarter combat and man-to-man. That has been the defining line since day one. We’re going for a personal experience where you can see the enemy.

Medal of Honor was compared to Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare titles, but it seemed to be more similar to Battlefield 3, at least stylistically. Is there a lot of close collaboration between Danger Close and Battlefield developer DICE behind the scenes that may have resulted in similarities between both titles?

KB: We talk to each other a lot and try to learn from each other. We have a lot of ex-DICE people on our team and we know each other really well. Having said that, we are actively trying to make it into two different experiences. It is important for both franchises that we are unique. At the same time, we play test each other’s games and come up with feedback that we send back and forth. We also help each other out when it comes to resources, so our team did help them out with finalising Battlefield 3. It’s great to be able to work like that, especially since we’re on the same game engine now and we know each other really well.

With Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the storyline introduced in the Medal of Honor reboot will be continued. Are you keen to make this storyline into a trilogy?

KB: [Laughs] I’m not really ready to talk about what happens with this storyline, how it ends, or the plans for the next instalment. What I will say is that we’re really happy with the characters and we’re starting to get to know them, since they’ve been used in two games in a row. We’re fond of these characters and we’re looking forward to hopefully doing more things with them.

Want to read other video game interviews with key figures from Sony, Microsoft and more? Then check out PC World's complete interview archive.

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Patrick Budmar

Patrick Budmar

PC World
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