Can you say a little more about the maps in the game? All the maps that we’ve seen today are all based on real-world locations. Could you tell us a little bit more about the types of locations we’re seeing in the game?
Sure, well the first thing is that we have always had this goal of map uniqueness in the game. So that’s to say that each map has a plot to it, which is a beat in the story in the Strogg invasion of earth. And, in having a plot, that determines whereabouts the map is geographically – you know, whether it’s in Australia or Norway or North Africa or the Nevada Desert, for example – and then, this plot determines what the objectives of a particular map are going to be and what it is that you are trying to achieve… Such as, the Global Defence Force, having captured slipgate technology are trying to hang onto this slipgate that they have in a map called Area 22: Under The Ground. The Strogg are attacking and trying to destroy it, so that the GDF can’t reverse engineer it… So this hooks into that plot later in the Quake II
series of games.
So that setting, Area 22 in Nevada, is an arid environment, which sets it thematically. It’s set in daylight, so you have clear skies. The environment doesn’t have any large water bodies, which makes it quite unique say, from the Refinery level you were playing earlier today. So despite both maps being ‘arid’ – one is ‘mountainously arid’ as it’s in Nevada and you’re surrounded by western architecture and it’s bright clear skies.
Refinery, on the other hand, is based in a desert in North Africa and you have sandstorms blowing around and reduced visibility and you’re surrounded by Arabic architecture. So there’s clearly a big difference between the two maps, despite them being thematically similar.
In the pursuit of this ‘map uniqueness’ what we wanted to achieve is this notion that you as a player, when you connect to a server, are instantly reminded of the cool thing that you did when you last played. That the gameplay feels different between maps and the tactics you employ on a particular map are unique – it’s really to create a ‘landmark’ or a distinct gameplay experience for each map.
How many different maps are there going to be when the game launches?
Yeah, there’s twelve maps spread across four campaigns in North America, the Pacific, Europe and North Africa – so there are three maps per campaign. Each represent this story arc – tying into the story of the Strogg invasion of Earth. Map times are twenty minutes. For the duration of the campaign you receive experience points in different skill categories for your team-play actions. And these result in rewards – attribute modifiers, unlockables, alternate modes for tools and things that you use. Then at the end of the campaign, these are all reset, to make sure that the playing field is completely level for the beginning of the next campaign.
But all of those stats are stored online – and if you’ve completed certain tasks then you achieve medals and you also receive promotions in military rank. And that’s reflected consistently.
So. The gameplay-affecting rewards are reset at the end of each campaign to keep the playing field level, while your persistent stats reflect your status as a team player. You can’t just snipe on top of a hill for six months, for example, you actually have to go and do all the different stuff in the game and become familiar with it and demonstrate your ‘team-player-ability’ to go and get all the medals and promotions.