Echelon update

We speak briefly with producer Todd Vaughn about Bethesda's futuristic combat flight sim. Four exclusive screens inside.

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GameSpot caught up with Echelon producer Todd Vaughn to get a short update on the status of the futuristic combat flight sim, which is nearing completion. The game was developed by Russian studio MADia, and it is scheduled for release in the US by Bethesda later this month. Vaughn talked about what was left to do on the game, and some of the achievements the Echelon team accomplished.

GameSpot: First, how far away is the game from completion? What's left to do?

Todd Vaughn: The game is in the 11th hour of production, with just a few things to button up and secure in regard to the English localization and testing--readme text [to be] updated to reflect any last-minute changes or updates; outside compatibility testing is underway; and we're making a review of things like in-game text and doing some general bug hunting and play testing. A master candidate should make its way relatively quickly.

GS: Have you added or changed any major features in the past couple of months?

TV: Surprisingly no, the designers and programmers actually had a very good sense about what was necessary throughout the game's development: From its interface and multiplayer features to its flight models and visuals, they were very focused from the beginning on what they wanted.

GS: What aspect or aspects of the game is the Echelon team the most proud of?

TV: I can't speak for them directly, but I would imagine it would be completing the game as a whole so close to the original vision that was set out several years ago. It was a huge undertaking, with a lot of ambitious goals--and I would say 95 percent of what was in the original design documents made it into the game.

GS: When can we expect to see the game in stores?

TV: End of April.

GS: Looking back, what has been the biggest challenge the Echelon team has faced so far?

TV: There were a number of challenges, but on the whole the scope of the game was likely the biggest challenge--creating content for a continent-sized world and making it fun for a variety of flight models and play styles is not something to consider lightly. There were a few hiccups and delays because of this, but the results should speak for themselves.

GS: Thanks, Todd.

For more information, take a look at our previous coverage of the game.

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