Conflict: Global Terror Designer Diary #1 - The Rundown

Pivotal Studios managing director Jim Bambra fills us in on the backstory of 2K Games' upcoming squad-based shooter sequel.

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Conflict: Global Terror is the fourth and latest entry in the long-running Conflict series of tactical, team-based shooters, and it's the first one to use a contemporary military setting. The game will offer refinements in just about every conceivable area of gameplay, not to mention an entirely new engine. In our first designer diary, Jim Bambra from Pivotal Studios breaks down the game's storyline and the squad that fans of the series have come to know and love.

Reforming the Squad

By Jim Bambra, Managing Director, Pivotal Studios

Look for some familiar faces in your squad in Conflict: Global Terror.
Look for some familiar faces in your squad in Conflict: Global Terror.

When we started to design Conflict: Global Terror, we decided that it would be great to use the same Special Forces team as had been featured in Conflict: Desert Storm I & II. After doing two games with these guys we knew them very well and were keen to develop them further. Many Conflict players were also great fans of the characters and were demanding their return.

This time we wanted to do something a bit different. While everyone knew that Bradley was the leader, Connors was the heavy weapons expert, Jones took care of demolitions, and Foley was the sniper, little was known of their personalities. While everyone at Pivotal plays Conflict games slightly differently, many people thought of the characters in similar ways. Bradley emerged as "the mission must come first" leader; Connors as the brash and aggressive action hero; Jones as the worrier; and Foley as patient and cautious, as befits his role.

Having sketched out the characters, we then explored how they would work in a team dynamic. We wanted to show the characters discussing what was going on, offering their opinions on events, and generally having a good-natured go at each other. Then to spice things up, we got rid of Foley partway through the game and introduced a new female sniper. Now the team had to deal with the loss of a long-standing member, but also integrate a new member at a time when it becomes apparent that someone was setting them up. All this has enabled us to grow the characters and show them as real people.

The Story

Global Terror is the first Conflict game to use a contemporary setting.
Global Terror is the first Conflict game to use a contemporary setting.

Conflict: Global Terror is set in the fall of 2006. Its near-future storyline is based on real events as well as recognized terrorist threats. Early on, the decision was made to focus on terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda. A look at known terrorist groups showed them spread across the world; each interested in their own goals, but also loosely linked to one another. At the same time we spoke to our expert consultants who confirmed that terrorist groups often traded weapons and drugs with each other, and were even known to carry out terrorist attacks for one another.

After two games set in the deserts of the Gulf and one in the jungles of Vietnam, we'd pretty much had enough of those environments. It was time to do something more varied and on a global scale. Rather than go for a loosely linked series of defeating terrorists wherever they appeared, we needed to link them together in an overall story arc which would end in a major world-shaking event. To do this we needed a backstory that would link the terrorist groups together but also personally involve the team. From this the characters of a double agent, and terrorist organizer Karl Mandel, were born.

In the early phases of the game, Mandel appears as a target to be captured. He is to be brought in for interrogation. As the game starts, he's known to be in Colombia dealing with a narco-terrorist group. A high-profile member of the team's organization is on Mandel's payroll and tips him off about the team. The team is captured by the narco-terrorists, but manages to escape and finally capture Mandel. Unfortunately, this isn't achieved without a price to pay. Foley goes MIA and is left behind by the team. At this stage the team is unaware who betrayed them, but they link Foley's disappearance directly to the traitor.

A series of events unfolds that takes the team to South Korea, the Ukraine, Chechnya, North Africa, the Philippines, and finally to the mountains of Kashmir. Along the way the team gets to fight terrorists in the streets of Seoul, at a chemical plant, in a nuclear reactor at the time of meltdown, a jungle base, and at a Korean village and bunker complex. As they do so they discover more about Mandel and find out who has betrayed them. The organization that Mandel and the traitor work for also becomes apparent, and their plans for global destabilization are revealed. The story builds towards its climax with Mandel inciting a major war. At the end, it's a race against time to stop Mandel and avert a major terrorist threat.

Your latest mission will send you all over the globe as you try to stop terrorist leader Mandel.
Your latest mission will send you all over the globe as you try to stop terrorist leader Mandel.

The backstory was designed to fulfill many different but related goals. It had to present an exciting and plausible series of events involving terrorist activities as diverse as holding hostages and planting dirty bombs. It also had to depict terrorism on a global scale, and build towards a dramatic conclusion. And it also had to provide a narrative that would involve the team personally and give them reasons to be out risking their lives. It had to provide stunning game environments and greatly varied mission objectives. Most importantly, it had to be fun!

Check out the members of the squad over the next two pages.

Sergeant John Bradley

Role: Team Leader, Rifleman
Height: 6'0
Build: Muscular, Slim
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Age: 39
DOB: May 15, 1967
POB: Chicago, Illinois

Military Record
101st Airborne Division
US Army Rangers
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta Force
CODEX Red Team

Profile

No Caption Provided

Natural leader and all-round action hero, Bradley is one of the most respected Special Forces operatives in current active service. Implicitly familiar with any form of assault rifle or pistol, Bradley's cool composure under fire inspires confidence in all who serve with him.

Preferred weapons
M4A1 assault rifle with M203 grenade launcher attachment
Mk23 silenced pistol
Claymore mines

Corporal David Jones

Role: Demolitions
Height: 5'11''
Build: Muscular, Slim
Ethnicity: African American
Age: 35
DOB: March 2, 1970
POB: Detroit, Michigan

Military Record
US Army 3rd Infantry Division
US Army Rangers
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta Force
CODEX Red Team

Profile

No Caption Provided

Ignoring his parents' advice to not play with fireworks, Jones has grown up to become the Special Forces' explosives expert. A demolition genius--be it destroying fuel and ammo dumps or clearing barriers--Jones also doubles as a dependable shotgun-toting combat operative.

Preferred weapons
MP5SD silenced machine gun
Striker automatic shotgun
C4 charges

Corporal Mick Connors

Role: Support Gunner, Antitank Specialist
Height: 6'2''
Build: Heavy, Muscular
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Age: 35
DOB: January 28, 1971
POB: Hell's Kitchen, New York City

Military Record
US Army 1st Infantry Division
US Army Special Forces Command (Green Berets)
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta Force
CODEX Red Team

Profile

No Caption Provided

Connors is a one-man army and heavy-weapons fetishist. His superior build allows him to carry the largest arsenal, and he's happiest when laying down cover fire for the rest of the squad. Predictably, Connors is also the man best equipped to dispose of tanks or to take over gun turret duties.

Preferred weapons
M60E3 light machine gun
0.50 cal Desert Eagle pistol
LAW 66 antitank rocket

Corporal Paul Foley

Role: Sniper
Height: 5'9"
Build: Athletic, Slim
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Age: 36
DOB: April 18, 1970
POB: Jacksonville, Alabama

Military Record
US Army 3rd Infantry Division
US Army Rangers
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta Force
CODEX Red Team

Profile

A sharpshooting sniper extraordinaire, Foley still holds the record for the longest-distance single-shot kill of an enemy positioned nearly two miles away. Exceptionally cool and calm under pressure, Foley can be relied on to cover your back.

Preferred weapons
WA2000 sniper rifle
Beretta 93R pistol

Corporal Carrie Sherman

Role: Sniper
Height: 5'8"
Build: Athletic, Slim
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Age: 27
DOB: June 8, 1979
POB: Seattle, Washington

Police/Military Record
Seattle SWAT
CODEX Red Team

Profile

No Caption Provided

One of the first women to be assigned to an active Special Forces unit, newcomer Sherman is an accomplished counterterrorist sniper instructor with considerable field experience. Her excellent tactical knowledge and rock-steady aim make her the perfect addition to the team.

Preferred weapons
DSR-1 sniper rifle
MAC10 silenced submachine gun

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