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
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.
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.
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.