Q&A: Hidden & Dangerous 2: Sabre Squadron

We get the latest details on this expansion pack from assistant producer Petr Miksa.

Most tactical first-person shooters, in which the player must use real-life tactics to succeed, tend to focus on modern-day conflicts and operations, like counterterrorism. However, Illusion Softworks' Hidden & Dangerous series combines this gameplay with tactical strategy--and it all takes place in the rich and storied setting of World War II. In last year's Hidden & Dangerous 2, you played as a member of Britain's elite SAS commando unit as you and your computer-controlled teammates undertook missions behind enemy lines. Illusion is now at work on the expansion for that game, Hidden & Dangerous 2: Sabre Squadron. We turned to Petr Miksa, Sabre Squadron's assistant producer, to get the latest details.

There are new weapons to play with in Sabre Squadron, along with plenty of old favorites.

GameSpot: Can you tell us why Illusion decided to create an expansion pack for Hidden & Dangerous 2? Was it because there were interesting features and levels that didn't make it into the final game? Or because there were requests from players for specific features?

Petr Miksa: We decided to make a mission pack because there were a lot of additional things we wanted to implement. When Sabre Squadron is finished I can say that the whole game will boast more features, have better multiplayer, and, best of all, be more fun to play.

GS: We know the single-player campaign in Sabre Squadron will consist of nine missions spread across four areas. Tell us about these new missions. Where do they take place, and what will your objectives be?

PM: There are nine single-player missions that take place in Brest, Libya, Sicily, and Burgundy. The first mission in Brest will lead you through a submarine complex, where your objective is to sabotage German submarines. It's a very dark mission, in stormy weather, that requires full cooperation with your AI teammates.

The second campaign in Libya will take you to the scorching desert, where you must rescue the pilots of a downed English bomber, who are being held as prisoners of war in a Libyan town. Then you must travel through the desert (which is patrolled by well-trained German forces) and find the crash site, where you must destroy any remaining equipment so it doesn't fall into enemy hands.

The first mission in Sicily will ask you to disable a seaside cannon battery, and the second Sicily mission will require you to secure a bridge that will be used by Allied forces to access the interior of the island. The last two missions in Burgundy are about saving other SAS commandos from execution. All missions are based on real events.

The expansion is set in Libya, France, and Sicily. It's like a Mediterranean vacation with guns.

GS: We know that the expansion will also have eight multiplayer-only missions. Will these missions feature any new gameplay modes? What fixes and additions will be made to Hidden & Dangerous 2's multiplayer with Sabre Squadron?

PM: There are three deathmatch levels: Libya1, Burgundy3, and Poland. Poland is a good map that you'll have lots of fun in. In Libya1, you can search for many hidden spots to camp and snipe at your friends.

There are also three new maps for the occupation mode. Alps3 is a very nice map made for people who liked Alps2. It features varied gameplay and is lots of fun. Normandy4 is set in a ruined part of Normandy, and the use of vehicles is essential there. Ardennes2 is set on the frozen plains of the Ardennes, where you must push together with your team to achieve victory.

The last two maps--Alps3 and Ardennes1--are for the objectives mode. You play on the German side in Alps3 and must escort a damaged German vehicle through an Allied zone. Careful planning of the whole operation is needed, which encourages team play. In Ardennes1, the Allies must destroy German mortars to achieve victory.

The multiplayer has been given some other new features as well. You can now switch your crosshairs off for more-realistic aiming. You can also hold your breath while using the sniper rifle for improved aiming. We also had some complaints about instant healing, so that has been addressed for better gameplay.

GS: Will Sabre Squadron have cooperative play? That was one of the most popular features from the original Hidden & Dangerous. If so, how has this been implemented?

PM: Yes, Sabre Squadron has the much-requested cooperative play. You can play all nine Sabre Squadron single-player missions with your friends cooperatively. All levels have been slightly modified to provide more fun, because that's what we want to give our fans. You can play the missions in the same order as in the campaign mode, but you can also change their order in any way you want or even play only one mission.

GS: Tell us about the new weapons and vehicles that will be featured in the expansion. What will they add to the single-player game? What will they add to the multiplayer?

Sniping has been improved, as you can now hold your breath to improve your aim.

PM: We added some rifles, pistols, and a new antitank weapon for the Axis side. The Axis side lacked semiautomatic rifles in the last game, so we gave them a G43 rifle, which balances the game a bit. The lack of silenced weapons on the Axis side was also bit annoying, so they can now use a silenced Parabellum pistol. Stationary weapons have also been put in some missions--such as Sicily2, Alps3, and Ardennes2--and you can use them for destroying enemy vehicles.

GS: With a new expansion pack, it seems natural for us to ask: What's next for the series? Is this the last Hidden & Dangerous product that Illusion will develop, or are there more on the way?

PM: Nothing we can talk about at this time.

GS: Is there anything else you'd like to add about Hidden & Dangerous 2: Sabre Squadron?

PM: Just that we hope fans of Hidden & Dangerous 2 will enjoy playing co-op online!

GS: Thanks, Petr.

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