Q&A: World in Conflict's Nicklas Cederstrom

World in Conflict designer talks about the game's single-player campaign, character interactions, and '80s movies.

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World in Conflict, the upcoming action-oriented real-time strategy game from Swedish dev house Massive Entertainment, has been garnering plenty of attention for its fast-paced multiplayer design, but few details have been released so far about its single-player side. GameSpot AU caught up with lead designer Nicklas "Cece" Cederstrom at last month's GO3 Conference in Perth, Australia, to talk more about what solo campaigners can expect.

GameSpot AU: Why has all the focus on World in Conflict been on the multiplayer side thus far?

Nicklas Cederstrom: When the project started out, it started as a multiplayer game. We wanted to get that right first, so we focused on that and spent the first 16 months on getting the feeling that it's going to be a great multiplayer game. When we knew what we had was really good, we started focusing on single-player, and we've been working on that for over a year now.

GS AU: So is it a multiplayer game first and foremost?

NC: No, absolutely not. It's 50-50. It has a rock-solid and very interesting single-player campaign, but with the added depth of multiplayer.

GS AU: Why did you decide to lighten the RTS elements in World in Conflict--such as having no resource gathering?

NC: First of all, we wanted to make a great game that a lot of people will play. Massive has done two games before--Ground Control I and II--and they both got great reviews, and everyone that played it loved it. But it didn't reach the mass market. This time around we decided to focus on a setting that we knew would draw more people, a setting that we all fell in love with from Red Dawn, the old '80s movie. We decided to make a game that's easy to get into, and we focused on action--this is an action game. Personally, I don't even call it an RTS, because it's just pure action.

GS AU: If it's not an RTS, what would you call it?

NC: That's hard. Internally we sometimes call it RTT--real-time tactics. But basically I would just say it's a come-together-with-your-friends action game. We want it to be the Counter-Strike of RTS gaming. So in multiplayer, we have 20-minute matches, so that you know when you get into a match it'll be 20-minutes or shorter. You can play two or three games in your lunch break--if you do a traditional RTS, you can be in a match for up to four hours or 14 minutes.

GS AU: Tell us more about the single-player storyline.

NC: World in Conflict is played out in 1989, and the Cold War has gone hot. When we set out to make the game, we really wanted to have a plausible war scenario. So what we did was contact Larry Bond--who is the Tom Clancy cowriter--and he's a Cold War-era expert. We asked him to write for us a plausible invasion scenario for the Russians coming into the US. So he made up this great story, where the Soviet Union is on the brink of economic disaster--they go to the UN to try and blackmail them to give them unconditional aid. Of course, they refuse, and the Russians invade Europe. In doing so, they attack NATO and kill a lot of US soldiers, which draws the US into the war in Europe. The Russians then do a sneak attack on the western coast of the US, where they arrive on civilian ships like tankers, but they have military hardware with them. They invade Seattle, and it goes from there.

When we came to the single-player, we decided we really wanted to have a great story. And great stories are told from the perspective of people, so we decided to have a strong line of characters that we follow throughout the war. You are not the supreme commander in our game--you are basically one of the guys in the trenches fighting for your life and your men. You are playing a character called Parker--he's anonymous, he never speaks, and you never really see him. The leader of the pack is Colonel Sawyer. He's an old school military man that's been in a lot of wars. With him is Bannon, a West Point graduate--he's basically come out from military school, he thinks he's the best. We compare him to Hudson in Aliens--because he's so cocky in the beginning, but by the end he's going "Oh my God, we're going to be screwed." It's going to be the character of Bannon that's really interesting to follow, as he goes through so many things in the war. And finally we have Webb--very straightforward, calm and cool.

GS AU: How do these characters interact with each other?

NC: We have different game mechanics to do that. First we have some in-game cinematics, and there are a couple on each map setting up scenarios and breaking up the middle of the game to tell you the story. We also have message boxes in missions for dialogue that's going on throughout the game. We also have two other game mechanics that will drive the story forward, but we're not talking about them right now.

GS AU: In the World of Conflict multiplayer, players have to take different roles, which then affect how much support units will cost them. Will there be roles in the single-player game?

NC: No, we made a decision early on to not have the roles in the single-player. So what we are doing are essentially faking roles in some maps. For example, if we have a helicopter map, we'll give you the air role, but it's not really that because we allow you some ground-based vehicles as well. The cost is independent of the multiplayer.

GS AU: Will your single-player comrades' actions be scripted or dynamic?

NC: It's different on different maps. We will full-script them and let them loose depending on which map you are on. On some maps we are testing to have them totally free, but it's always risky, because they can of course decide to complete an objective you haven't got to yet. It's dangerous, but we're trying it out.

GS AU: One of the coolest things about the multiplayer demo was the ability to use a nuclear weapon. How will that fit into the single-player campaign?

NC: We can't say how it will exactly play out yet, but there is a nuke in the single-player campaign.

GS AU: How long will the single-player campaign go for?

NC: Final length hasn't been decided yet because it's still a work in progress. But I'll guess it'll be between 15 and 25 hours, depending on how hardcore you are. It depends on how many side objectives you complete and how aggressive you are. As from now, we have 14 maps in single-player.

GS AU: The single-player game only focuses on US. Was there any discussion about including the Russians?

NC: We talked about it early on, but when push came to shove, we decided to focus on one campaign. For me and many of the guys at Massive, the key line from World in Conflict is that war is coming home. And home for many is the US, because we are all so familiar with their culture, and we have seen it all in movies. So having the Russians invading the US, that was the core of the game in my opinion.

GS AU: Thanks for your time.

Discussion

50 comments
fishheads111
fishheads111

wasgood1 just please shut-up, as for the game tho, it's pretty much gonna kill nearly every RTS out there...correction...it really matter on what you LIEK in an RTS, obviously if you like the empire builder/civilization management, and diplomacy, then you will like games like Empire Earth 3, if your looking for sheer scal, the Supreme COmmander would be your forte, but if action and fast paced on the fly strategy is what your looking for, this will be your game, DoW: DC will have to do for now tho:P

linkthewindow
linkthewindow

It sounds promosing "The Counter-Strike of RTS gaming" That could be fun.

wasgood1
wasgood1

System requirements please.

AFWorm
AFWorm

Sounds interesting... it would have to really compete game-play-wise with fps for it to be worth while.

rsgould
rsgould

i think personally..... that I would love to be the Russians for a change. Kinda like C&C red alert 2.... be different to be on the other side and actually see what the other side might see. I mean yeah deff have the Americans as an option. But i think we should get a chance to play a different side to.

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

Meh I guess it's for the better. I know very few rts' that have an amazing single player.

charlie43
charlie43

NOOOOOO, cant belive they dont make a russian campaign was one of the only reasons i wanted this game so tired of being american and european all the time.

Nikalai_88
Nikalai_88

I definitely won't be getting this for the Campaign, they said it won't be one sided but it seems to me that its nothing but one sided. Anyways didn't they try to appeal to a wider market with GC2? I didn't like it as much as the first one.

kliu0
kliu0

i really like this game and all i've heard is that its good, very good so now i cant wait for it to come out. but i have this feeling that my pc might not be able to run it. my pc is 2 yrs old contains a pentium 4 3.2ghz with HT tech processor, 2.5GB Kingston Hyper X RAM, Ati X300 128MB PCI graphics card. can someone tell me if it will run on my pc? plz

ncsf5
ncsf5

hey lyndonrebutoc if you want FPS and strategy then you should play Battleground Europe. High command orders/plans attacks and supply whilst you can fight it out fps on foot, vehicle, ship or plane.

masterlu
masterlu

A "modern Company of Heroes"? I would hardly call the current CoH all that old-fashioned...

lyndonrebutoc
lyndonrebutoc

The Developers of this game are also experimenting to bring FPS to the game like you control one player in the war but you can switch to Strategy where you control many units. I hope they can put that gameplay, I always dream of game like this, Like a Modern Company of Heroes with FPS style!!! Can't wait!

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

The graphics are off the hook! I'm still skeptical for the system requirements being lower than Company of Heroes for graphics like that.

Blud-Fiah
Blud-Fiah

how u get a hold of the alpha

ickSoldier
ickSoldier

i played the alpha and this game is soooooo damn good def wait and buy this

mp503
mp503

for the guy below me u should get C&C cuzz it is a great game also but this game probally be one of those once in a life time type games kinda like how big halo was this game will prbally set the way RTS is played for years to come.

DayLightBreak
DayLightBreak

Should I get Command & Conquer 3 now or later...cause im so freaking bored!

Somini
Somini

To bad that they can't spell his name correctly... Nothing strange though, since the english alphabet has three letters less than the swedish, still, they should write it as Cederstroem or Cederstrum, would make more sense... but it won't make any sense to most of you. (This was an unneccesary comment from me, ignore it)

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

ill play it prolly but i want C&C3 for my 360 now! And yes i do like PC gaming and yes i have a good graphics card (8800GTX) but i like my 360 more so there!

LtHolt
LtHolt

No russian campaign! thats to bad, i have a strange urge to play as the ruskies :)

wolfboy20
wolfboy20

Awsome!!!!!!! Cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Interesting how Nicklas Cederstrom bases his ideas on the 80's

mach-stem
mach-stem

mouldy, you'd be surprised. They are presently optimizing for older systems. It won't look as nice, but it should run. What are your specs?

mouldy133
mouldy133

cool but i dont thin my 3yr old pc will handle it

MioyokosShrink
MioyokosShrink

This game is getting better and better, you can play as the Soviets, Americans and Western Europeans in multiplayer. Can't wait. Believe it or not, Red Storm Rising featured a scenario in which the Soviets discovered they were running out of fuel, so they created a distraction in Europe (invasion) so they could occupy the Middle East without interference in order to obtain some natural resources. This book was written by Tom Clancy. So don't diss Larry! (I will concede that Larry Bond helped out on this book but still) I think an expansion pack will be released with the Russian Campaign and maybe one in which you play as the Europeans. Who knows? война приходит домой

mach-stem
mach-stem

I still wish I could b the Reds invading US soil. I would love to take out national monuments with nukes and HINDS :) Still, after having played the ALPHA portion of the multiplayer WiC, this is definitely one of those games I will be pre-ordering. Cold war gone hot? You jut got another fan! :) PEACE

biowulf
biowulf

Sounds like awesome multi-player, wonder if it can compete with Quake Wars.

Somini
Somini

I would've liked a Russian campaign too, invading is so much more fun than defending. If the game had both sides, then I would be interested, but now I'm not too excited.

monco59
monco59

Can't wait to get my hands on this one! Although the story isn't exactly what I'd call revolutionary, or even belieavable. I mean, the Russians are close to total economic collapse, yet they still have the resources to muster up not one, but two major invasion forces? I guess that's the reason everyone knows Tom Clancy, but no one knows Larry Bond :)

pwilletts
pwilletts

The multi-player is rock solid just like there saying, even in the alpha its fun to play.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

That is so darn biased to one side. First, you stated both sides would have just reasons for what they're doing but it looks pretty darn one-sided to me.

Makhdoom82
Makhdoom82

I would like to get my hands on that for sure !!!

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

I saw the one Jason playing on OTS and it looks really good

zsc4
zsc4

By reading this, it doesn't seem to interest me. But Alpha is fun playing.

lazynerd
lazynerd

Online alpha is crazy fun already!

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

The version played for OTS looked pretty nice.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I am ready for this game

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

The online will be the best part of this game. I'm definitely gonna play it.

thebubbleprince
thebubbleprince

great interview! Some questions have been answered finally :D

Strike_Zer0
Strike_Zer0

Interesting. Sounds like it could be pretty good.

7W17CHY
7W17CHY

WiC is really strong in its multiplayer. Even the alpha looks great, already! Sure, they need a little touch up on it, but I do believe it will become the "Counter-Strike of RTS"