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Brink Interview with Steve Hessel

by on 04/28/2011

We had the opportunity to play Brink multiple times at PAX East last month, and it has become one of my most anticipated games of the year. Bethesda appears to be laying down some heavy hitting titles for the rest of the year with Brink, Hunted, Rage, and of course Skyrim, and all of the titles are pulling me in. I am not even a huge fan of Bethesda titles but the amount of customization, teamwork, and gameplay in general I see from Splash Damage and Bethesda is sort of pushing me in that direction.

So after we had the chance to play it, I was still enamoured with questions and finally got my answers from Steve ‘badman’ Hessel, the man in charge of Community Relations for Splash Damage. With the game only being two weeks away, according to a friend, people are craving more information. And lucky for everyone, we got some more to sink your teeth into.

VGR: Will you be having two different sets of customization for the Security class and the Resistance? So depending on what team you are on you have a character customized for both sides.

Steve Hessel: That’s absolutely right. You’ll be able to toggle back and forth between the two factions in the appearance customization menu, so you’ll have a customized outfit for either one. Each of our factions has unique clothing for you to choose from, so your two outfits will look different from one another.

VGR: Will you be able to unlock everything by playing as one faction or do you have to play both Security and Resistance to earn everything?

SH: There’s a huge amount of unlockable stuff in Brink, including dozens of different player abilities, outfits, weapons, and weapon attachments. Even if you play through both the Resistance and the Security campaigns, chances are you still won’t have unlocked everything. A huge part of what makes Brinkso fun is its infinite replayability, be it in single player, coop with friends, or full-blown versus multiplayer. No two games will play out exactly the same and that’s the kind of emergent fun that has allowed our previous games, like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, to still be played today.

VGR: I got a brief taste of that at PAX East and I was a huge fan of the Rainbow Six Vegas customization, so I can’t wait to waste hours perfecting my guy. Can you give us more details on the ranking system? Is it military ranks, numbers, etc?

SH: We’ve got 20 different player levels in the game, and they’re divided up into what we refer to as Ranks. Each Rank comprises five levels, so up until and including level 4, you’re Rank 1, level  5 – 9 is Rank 2, and so on. These Ranks allow us to group people of similar skill together in matchmaking, so we can make sure that new players won’t run to a level 20, fully kitted out character during their first time playing the game.

You can also elect to join matches that are open to higher ranked players , but you cannot join matches below you. It’s all about keeping things as fun as possible for everyone.

VGR: That will definitely be a nice upgrade to matchmaking, I know that some games that have low population suffer from not being able to play against higher levels so are stuck in ‘limbo’ and I am glad to see you have a solution. Will “Light” players be able to face-off with “Heavy” players and still have a pretty good shot of winning?

SH: Playing as a Light, is very different from playing as a Heavy. Because your health is lower, you’ve got to rely on your superior movement to outmaneuver other players, such as taking advantage of things like wall-hops and the movement combos. If you run straight at a Heavy from the front, don’t expect to walk away unharmed. Outflanking is going to be your biggest friend in that situation.

VGR: From my hands-on experience I learned that movement is huge, if you master it, there is no reason you can’t kill two or more enemies at a time. How exactly does your ability energy meter work? I remember in the hands-on we played it would fill up, but I wasn’t sure if it was from scoring points or if it just regenerated.

SH: Your Supply bar is divided up into segments, or Pips. Each time you use an ability, it consumes one Pip. The bar slowly recharges over time, plus there are abilities you can purchase that will increase the overall size of the bar as well as its recharge rate. In addition, capturing Supply Command Posts will add one Pip to the Supply bars of everyone on your team.

VGR: Well we can’t thank you enough for answering our questions and we are looking forward to seeing a FPS with some much needed innovation. Luckily it is only a short time away and although it has been delayed several times, I am happy to see it comes out at the end of my semester, for full gaming action ;).

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