Medal of Honor: Airborne Designer Diary #1 - The Freedom of Starting Anywhere

Producer Chris Busse explains how Medal of Honor: Airborne's "start anywhere" functionality lets you choose the course of each battle.

The Germans referred to the Airborne paratroops of World War II as "the devils in baggy pants" for good reason. These elite soldiers parachuted behind enemy lines in order to disrupt the enemy and pave the way for ground forces to follow. You will be able to experience this for yourself in Medal of Honor: Airborne, the next game in EA's popular first-person shooter franchise. You'll play as an Airborne paratrooper caught up in some of the biggest battles of the war.

One of the major new features in Medal of Honor: Airborne is the ability to "start anywhere", which lets you determine not only where you start, but how the rest of the battle unfolds. This is a huge chance from earlier Medal of Honor games, which basically were highly-scripted experiences that gave you little control over the battle. To learn more, we caught up with producer Chris Busse. Medal of Honor: Airborne will ship for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 later this year.

Start Anywhere:

By Chris Busse
Producer, EA

This map of Operation Husky shows you the many different starting points that you can choose from in this battle.

With the "start anywhere" feature in Medal of Honor: Airborne, you no longer fade up from black or out of a cut scene at the start of a level. Nor do you run along a rail to the final objective; you choose where to begin your experience. Even more importantly, if you are curious about what might have happened had you started somewhere else in the operation, you can jump again and choose a new starting location…and again, and again, and again. Personally, I've played some of our levels hundreds of times and I still have a new experience every time. The development team had hoped for some replayability when we started down this road, but it has massively exceeded our expectations.

As with many features found in Medal of Honor Airborne, the airdrop experience and resulting "start anywhere" feature was inspired by the experience of real paratroopers. Airborne paratroopers in World War II were assigned drop zones (DZs) where their plane was directed to take them in order to jump. In our game, for the sake of gameplay, you have more choice as to where you drop into. Often during real paratrooper operations the Airborne were left scattered all over the place, sometimes a dozen miles away from the DZ or more!

Here's an example of "start anywhere" in application. Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, with its dense housing, provides several tactically advantageous landing positions for players to choose from. One place you can choose to land is the town hall roof. This landing spot is at the head of the beast; there is a lot of resistance here. You have very little time after hitting the ground to react and start engaging the Axis troops. Immediately, you have four troops in your sights. The good news is that you have one of your objectives, the antiaircraft gun, within grasp.

Landing on a rooftop can give you a big elevation advantage over the Axis.

Another landing option is the tower plaza. This quiet and safe corner of the village is marked with green smoke and a flare. This is a great choice to land to gather your wits before heading out into the town of Adanti. Allied troops will land in and around here, and you are able to pick up the fight with your fellow soldiers and take it to the enemy. Very quickly from here, you can get into the town square and up to the town hall, or you can move down into the Northeast gate area and begin assaulting that encampment of enemies.

Marketplace rooftop is a perfect landing spot to start this operation and really showcases the verticality of gameplay in Medal of Honor Airborne. With the advantage of the roofs, you can quickly reach each of the major battles of the mission. The clever player that lands here can choose to use the height advantage to engage either the town square or town hall. You could choose to stay up and pick off enemies or find your way down and jump right into the action.

Although making the choice to land at the Northeast gate can be dangerous, it will give you close access to one of your objectives, a heavily-defended antiaircraft gun. Luckily, you can bring other Allied troops to the battle, and they can distract the German machine gun on the second floor balcony. If you bring your Thompson to bear, you should be able to find some good cover and remove the rest of the troops.

If you choose to start in the hill houses you can begin the encounter on the main street with your Allies. Carefully balancing your play to bring other Airborne troops with you can be a great way to overcome the enemy and take the advantage, but, it isn't required. In Medal of Honor: Airborne, the choices are endless.

The goal in Operation Husky is to eliminate key antiaircraft positions.

Some of the other landing spots that you can choose from include the village wall, offering easy access to the rooftops as well as to most points in the village; or the basement back alley behind the town hall, which allows you to sneak behind enemy lines, albeit alone. The church steeple proves your worth as a paratrooper by requiring you to land on the steeple, but this advanced landing spot earns one of several skill drops. Landing on the tower affords height advantage over Axis troops. Besides these landing spots, you can choose your own path by steering to your own landing spots throughout the village and craft custom assault tactics on the Axis forces. You're the hero in this game--it's time to start making some heroic choices.

In conclusion, starting anywhere is just the first step of embracing total player choice. The jump and the airdrop takes you to your starting point, but depending on what you choose from there will offer you the ability to change your entire experience. Weapon loadouts and play style are all choices and preferences that vary from player to player. With this game the team has had to make sure that each operation plays well from all directions and caters to all different play styles. Allowing you to pick your start position, as well as what comes next, created a design philosophy that forced the team to change everything about how we designed and programmed Medal of Honor: Airborne. You have complete control over where you start, and finding a new way of attacking an objective, with new weaponry, a new flank, or a new angle, is when you can really start to appreciate the "on your feet" thinking that real Airborne heroes had to use many years ago.

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Discussion

112 comments
handyandy808
handyandy808

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! this is a really good idea i wonder how they think this stuff up *this is my 1st comment*

PS3Compass
PS3Compass

Being able to decide where you start each battle...Amazing.

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

This looks amazing! i will definetly buy this ythe day it comes out. I wonder if there is online multiplayer where the allied teams get to parachute dow to the battlefield. That would be sweet.

joolsonline
joolsonline

Landing by parachute, very immersive and cool

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

WWII shooters have worn out. I hope this game is something revolutionary.

snipercomplete
snipercomplete

*gasps while sobbing and jumping around: OMG!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!

raymondcs123
raymondcs123

wow so many sarting points, must be amazing~!

Schumock
Schumock

All I have to say is: : ) : D = ) =D YUP!!!

Lord_Quizar
Lord_Quizar

Looks pretty cool, but they seem to be pushing the start-point thing pretty hard. I'm sure it'll be good though

mcksnk
mcksnk

Gonna be like Battlefield with no-respawm and ability to save game

enrico2000
enrico2000

Defenitally gonna use the roofs to pop up behind those nazi's, can't wait for it to release.

andyduus
andyduus

Really nice feature with the self chosen startpoints :-D

doodeeman
doodeeman

Seems like it'll be great!!! And for all you people wanting games in different War Eras think about what each was like: WW1: Trench warfare (me personally i'd like it, running the Somme and the cliffs of Turkey) Korea: Constant beach attacks and other things.... i don't know much about the korean war, so yeah... Vietnam: Mostly consistant walking around in the jungle singin "walking thru the jungle, what do we see? a big bunch-a Vietnamese stabbing at me." sounds boring.... Desert Storm: Too fresh in people's memory and it was mostly Tank battles they are all the major Wars fought in the last 100 years... WW2 was just the only battle fought across hundreds of different areas of combat, and all that junk... Now what we need is a FPS in WW2 when you are a German! But then people would get pissed 'cause they wont like bumping off Americans or the British...

jamalnos
jamalnos

tomnuke, thank you for your article. But you forget one more very basic thing and it is. The PS3 is the newest (For us the PAL version) launched in March, 2007 that mean it is a very fresh console system. It is only time matter for PS3 like others. So there is nothing wrong, this is a natural reason for any new console. However XBOX 360 launched in the last quart of 2007.

BDL91
BDL91

jamanlnos every one is entitled to there own opinion and most of us arent spoilt little brats who can afford both 360 and the $999 Ps3 so we go with the 360 which has the very popular halo series

tomnuke
tomnuke

you know what mistakes sony made no standred mulitplayer feautres no cares go argue in the system wars fourom jamanlnos you suck a f*** yourself and xbox 360 has better games and it will have halo 3

mYslead
mYslead

what mistake they did? I say that the 15% market share that they hold can say everything.

jamalnos
jamalnos

Hippopotymus, thank you for your opinion and for your lovely words. Any way, that was only an explanation for why PS3 cost more than XBOX 360 although I have both of the consoles. You are really Strange

Hippopotymus
Hippopotymus

Jamalnos, I think I speak for all Xbox360 owners when I say "Go **** yourself", no-one cares about what you have to say so just **** off, wanker.

jamalnos
jamalnos

Guys, please wake up and know the truth, Xbox 360 machine is less price than PS3, that is true but why? I will tell you. With Xbox 360 If you want to communicate by wireless you must buy it separately, if you want to attach removable memories cards or flashes you must buy another part separately, if you want to see HD movies you must buy another part separately, if you want to save game progress or any other files you must buy a HDD separately, beside no HDMI port yet, and that huge power adapter (where will you put it?). At the end your Xbox 360 will be like a spider web with the devices attached into it . Finally all of that will be the same price of PS3 or more. But in the PS3 side, all of that is built-in inside it. With Blu ray technology, HDMI technology, 1080p technology, CELL Processor (Parallel Power) technology, PS & PS2 emulation power, user friendly interface and that sexy design. So what is the mistake that Sony did? This is Living, this is Entertainment.

tomcat51
tomcat51

Who cares about multiplayer, you play one death match, you've played em all.

F1sTDaCuffS
F1sTDaCuffS

how about multiplayer. who cares about single player.

nezmac
nezmac

Can you land into a flak emplacement?!?!

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

If I hear another comment like the following: "The only thing that sucks about this game is that its made by EA" or anything to that effect I will punch your monitor!! They make awesome games...get used to it. Not every single game they create is gold but yeah they know wtf they are doing...YOU don't. Thats why you buy the games and they make em. /rant off

tristanguy28
tristanguy28

And for you Djtim....I truly believe that if you would have just spent a few more moments trying to understand and grasp what that poster was sincerely trying to say.....you woudn't have commented in the fashion that you did. "Greatest war" simply was referring to the "Victory" that fell upon the Allies, in which if this victory did not happen....the world could have been drastically different at this point. So yes...it was great in that aspect. Right? Of course I am. Think before you respond DjTimothy.

tristanguy28
tristanguy28

Besides Call Of Duty series, or Brothers In Arms.....what other FPS WWII games can you think of that are better than EA's versions MR. FraserAlexander? (Remember, there are a TON of WWII shooters out there) This is in direct response to your "only thing that can ruin this game is the fact that it's made by EA). So you certainly must have the ability to inform us all as to ALL those other WWII shooters out there that were superior to EA's all these years. Hmm. I'd like to know what these other "FPS shooter" games are so that I may feel more hopeful that my WWII gaming experience won't be ruined.

FraserAlexander
FraserAlexander

the only thing that can ruin this game is the fact that it's made by EA...sometimes they are really lazy and put out absolute rubish...but C&C was good so,...

pca05th
pca05th

Can i get a hell yeh!!!!

RyanCardillo
RyanCardillo

I'm going to land on a Nazi this game looks good

au25
au25

So i am gonna land front of a machinegun!

bihboy69
bihboy69

ill be happy when an FPS game is as lengthy as oblivion.

foxhunter10
foxhunter10

it is seen very well, the new Airborne way of seems very good, but I agree whereupon the game seems very short

djtim_3000
djtim_3000

NightKiller34 - "WWII was the greatest war ever it deserves another game." I don't really see you can say a war, any war, is the 'greatest war ever'. I mean i think it was pretty sh*t really and millions of people died but ummm ok. *from someone who was bored of WW2 games long ago (that doesnt mean i dont think they can be good games).

frohlich
frohlich

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

tristanguy28
tristanguy28

trane226.......Your'e missing a verb in your post.

DonutTrooper
DonutTrooper

I hope it makes a good addition to the ENDLESS WWII GAMES. But it looks good enough for me to not cuss out, being another WWII FPS. At least it brings intuitive thinking to it.

Jaeme
Jaeme

I hope they don`t use this "unlimited replay value" as yet another excuse to shorten the length of the game. I bought MOH:Vanguard for the wii and I enjoyed all three hours of it(that encludes getting all the extras and medals). That`s about $20 an hour for the game. I`m not going to fall for that a third time(MOH:European Assault wasn`t as much fun as Vanguard but was only about 1 hour longer) I will play a game over and over again, but that doesn`t change the fact that I will do that with a 8-10-12 or so hour long game as well but I will feel like I got my money`s worth out of a 10 or so hour game. EA needs to start providing value to more than just it`s shareholders.

sargentpsgamer
sargentpsgamer

After call of duty left the WW2 scene it was obvious who the real champion was and EA has just proven it even more.

trane226
trane226

this will officially the last WWII game i buy

NightKiller34
NightKiller34

WWII was the greatest war ever it deserves another game.it was also one of the only three wars that had a purpose,but i want this game.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

deadhead127 wrote: holy sh*t! This is more amazing tha anything I've ever seen before! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^^Someone needs to get out more eh?

xtremeg4m3r
xtremeg4m3r

Yet another world war 2 game. At least this one looks pretty good.

Ad-2cool4u
Ad-2cool4u

Wow...This is gonna be sick!!!!:D I cant wait! And to think that people actually did this in real life...In fact, these paratroopers saved my Grampa and his company in the war more than once...

tristanguy28
tristanguy28

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]