Delta Force: Task Force Dagger Q&A

Producer Wes Eckhart talks to us about the latest Delta Force game.

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NovaLogic recently announced its fourth Delta Force game, entitled Task Force Dagger. This first-person shooter is actually a stand-alone expansion pack to Delta Force: Land Warrior, and it places you in the midst of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Task Force Dagger aims to re-create the military operations currently underway in Central Asia, and you'll assume the role of a leader of several special operations teams, including SEAL Team 6, Delta Force, US Army Rangers, and the British SAS in an attempt to overthrow that region's military power. We sat down with the series' longtime producer, Wes Eckhart, to find out more about the game.

Vehicles--from pickups to UAVs--will play a big role in Task Force Dagger.
Vehicles--from pickups to UAVs--will play a big role in Task Force Dagger.

GameSpot: First, can you give us a brief description of Task Force Dagger?

Wes Eckhart: Delta Force: Task Force Dagger drops the player into modern-day Afghanistan to battle through missions that may have been undertaken by the Special Forces units that participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. The player will have the option to play as one of 10 different Special Forces soldiers.

GS: All of NovaLogic's previous Delta Force games have been developed in-house. Why was Task Force Dagger outsourced to Zombie?

WE: Zombie is a company with a solid résumé when it comes to military titles, especially their successful Spec Ops series. They have also worked on Red Storm's Rainbow 6: Covert Ops and Activision's Escape from Alcatraz. Their knowledge of real-world weapons and combat environments is extensive. Zombie has a real passion for the Delta Force games and seemed the perfect partner to develop a mission pack.

GS: The game lets you play as one of 10 different spec op soldiers. Do you get to choose which Special Forces branch you want to play as before every mission, or is that choice a predetermined part of the game?

WE: Before each mission, you are given the option to choose from the 10 Special Forces units, including Marine Force Recon, British SAS, US Army Rangers, and, of course, SFOD-Delta Force. So you can play every mission as any of the 10 Special Forces operators.

GS: How differently do these 10 Special Forces behave in the game? Do they have access to unique tactics, or are their differences strictly based on the types of weapons they can use?

WE: The character differences are based on how they employ the different weapons in the game. Some characters will be more skilled as snipers, while others will be more skilled in close-quarters battle (CQB) or heavy weapons.

GS: The focus of the game obviously reflects the current situation in Afghanistan. How closely does the game mimic the events in that region of the world? Are you actually fighting al-Qaeda soldiers? Are you actually participating in Operation Enduring Freedom?

WE: The game takes place in real geographic locales within Afghanistan, specifically Khandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Tora Bora. We are not attempting to perfectly replicate the actions of Operation Enduring Freedom; rather, we are focusing on the heroic Special Forces units that participated in the conflict. Mission objectives include raiding command and control facilities in Mazar-i-Sharif and capturing Kandahar Airport.

GS: Are you concerned at all that Afghanistan might be a touchy subject for some people?

WE: NovaLogic has been a highly respected global game developer and publisher. Over the years, we have developed games of a military nature, using the utmost sensitivity. We do not sensationalize war in our games. We have established good working relationships with the military academy at West Point, as well as defense contractors, such as Boeing-Sikorsky. Additionally, the US Army utilizes Delta Force 2 as training software for their troops. Zombie has a similar respect for the military and keeps in close contact with members still on active duty. This game is about the heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Special Forces operators.

GS: How did you choose which actual missions to use as an inspiration for the game's missions?

WE: Because so many of the missions and roles of the Special Forces units in Afghanistan are classified, it was up to the team at Zombie to go through all of the publicly available information on Operation Enduring Freedom. They chose a wide variety of missions that demonstrate the scope of actions that took place earlier this year.

Missions in the game will mimic the real-world operations currently taking place in Afghanistan.
Missions in the game will mimic the real-world operations currently taking place in Afghanistan.

GS: What kind of research is going into creating the mission structures and actual missions? Did you consult with any military advisors at all?

WE: Mark Long, president of Zombie, is leading the development on Task Force Dagger. He spent several years as a US Army ranger. As mentioned previously, the Zombie team examined a variety of public sources relating to the Afghanistan conflict. They also have ongoing contact with several subject-matter experts.

GS: How true to life are you making the missions? Are you adding more enemies or features that weren't in previous Delta Force games to make these missions more exciting?

WE: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) allow the player to get a bird's-eye view of their objective before moving in. The player will see the area in a top-down view and examine the full area to see where any enemies may be hiding. This gives the player a tremendous tactical advantage in battle. We have also added air strikes in which the player will actually see the bombers fly in and destroy the target that the player has chosen.

GS: There are 17 new weapons in Task Force Dagger, including all the original Land Warrior ones. Can you give us an example of this expanded arsenal? What's your favorite?

WE: With more than 30 weapons in the game, there is a lot of firepower to choose from. Among the new weapons are the M24 Sniper Rifle, the M4 SOPMOD with ACOG Scope, the SLAM (Selectable Lightweight Attack Munition), and the F97 Glock 19, for personal defense. The M60E3 is my new favorite weapon because there is nothing like having fire superiority on the battlefield.

GS: How will Task Force Dagger include any visual improvements upon the Land Warrior engine?

WE: We are working on clearing up some of the terrain artifacts from Land Warrior.

GS: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

WE: This is a great, fun stand-alone mission pack. I really like the idea of being able to reference topical locations that give gamers the feeling of "being there." I think the Zombie team has done a great job in capturing the essence of Delta Force gameplay while adding their own unique touches.

GS: Thanks for yours time, Wes.

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