Medal of Honor Warfighter, like its predecessor, has been touted by EA and Danger Close Games as the most realistic and authentic shooter ever created. On the other hand, it's still very much a video game. So just how realistic could it be? And what makes it so realistic?
We had the chance to chat with the game's Lead Multiplayer Producer Kristoffer Bergqvist about exactly what went into Warfighter, including the developers' close relationship with Navy SEALs and Tier 1 Operatives. We also got to ask about toeing the line between fun and respect. Check it out.
Complex: What makes Medal of Honor Warfighter so authentic?
Bergqvist: I think it comes from how we work with [Tier 1 Operators]. And the single-player campaign storyline is written by two Operators. It was written while they were deployed. And they wrote this as kind of a vent book, to get everything they experienced down on paper. It was a way for them to kind of help with the situation I think. So everything comes from them. It's of course a very authentic and real story because they wrote what they were doing and what they were experienced, and they also wrote about everything else that they experienced in terms of what happened back home. I mean, because when you're away for 300 days a year, you get pushed into very violent situations a lot, and in your line of work, how it affects who you are and how it affects your family is—we were able to take that…and that is adding a level of authentically portraying these guys that I think no one else is coming close to right now.
And then, we've been working with those two—they have been with us [for four years]…and through them we have met more guys, and we've had something like two dozen Operators working with us on a regular basis. And they look at everything from, like, the storyline, to how you handle your equipment, what kind of equipment you have, and we weren't really satisfied until they felt like they had total sign-offs on this and said, "Yeah, that's right. Get it in the game."
How much of a direct influence did they have?
So it has been obviously not all two dozen of them have been here every day. But the two who wrote it have been here at least on a weekly basis. We also hired an ex-Army Operator full-time, so he's been here. He's always here. And he's part of Danger Close, like, the dev team. And they're part of—of course, the story and all of that is a big thing—but it's also just having them sit down and work with our animators, and just making sure [it] looks correct. We had this situation where we were trying to design the typical anti-personnel mine, like, claymore gameplay. I'm not sure how much multiplayer you've played, but it's that kind of—you place something on the ground, someone comes close, and it blows up. It's a way of kind of personal defense, protecting your back. And we didn't get that fun, and it was a little bit too simple. So now we have sat down and talked with Operators and they're like, "We don't use those anymore. We use these new things." They call it M86 Pursuit Deterrent Munition (PDM), we call it Spider Mines because it's easier to say. Basically a mine you throw out on the floor, it fires out trip wires all the way around it, and you hit the trip wire, it blows up.
And that created really cool gameplay from both where you plant it, because you need to be strategic with where you place them, because those wires need to connect with something, and it's also pretty cool gameplay when you encounter it, because you can walk over those and jump around it. So that was an example of when they being with us, bringing [knowledge of] real gear, really helps us to develop gameplay in a very direct way.
So it's been high or low, everything from making sure that the tone in single player—we deal with very serious topics, that they feel they are represented correctly—down to these things, like how does this new mine work? What kind of sound does it make when you activate it? So it's been high or low.