Turning Point: Fall of Liberty Producer Q&A

Spark Unlimited's Dean Martinetti talks to us about this alternative reality shooter set in Nazi-occupied America.

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Currently scheduled for release toward the end of this year, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is a first-person shooter set in an alternate universe where Winston Churchill, after being hit by a cab in New York in the early '30s, died long before he had a chance to rise to power. In Turning Point's version of events, the Nazis have already overrun Europe and, as the game gets under way, they're launching an offensive on the United States of America. To find out more about this intriguing premise and the gameplay that will complement it, we got in touch with Turning Point: Fall of Liberty's producer, Dean Martinetti of Spark Unlimited.

GameSpot: What gave you guys the idea for a World War II-style game set on American soil?

Dean Martinetti: The original idea spawned from our old design director Eric Church. We took a lot of what he had and reworked it, but kept a few key elements such as Churchill dying in NYC and therefore not making the speech that set the war on fire. It was a cause-and-effect kind of thing. If he is not there to spearhead the resistance from the UK and the US...then none of those things (Pearl Harbor, D-day, and so on) would have taken place.

GS: What sources did you draw on and what factors did you consider when crafting Turning Point: Fall of Liberty's version of history? Formulating a historical "what if" scenario can be a tricky business.

DM: We did a "what if" scenario, as you say... We took a look back at key elements in the war (Churchill dying, let's say) and said, "Well if this happened then this would not have happened, which means this other thing would not have happened." And then we said to ourselves, "What would have happened?" It wasn't really tricky because we are making a video game, not actually changing real history, so you have more room for things that could be "sorta" plausible... Follow?

New York City is already in trouble when the game gets underway.
New York City is already in trouble when the game gets underway.

GS: For the history buffs out there, which major figures of World War II will figure prominently into the game's plotline? Did any of the war's famous, or infamous, players survive longer in your timeline than in the real one?

DM: Due to license restraints, none, I'm afraid. But, we do have people in Turning Point: Fall of Liberty who are their "what if" counterparts to the famous chaps you are thinking about.

GS: We've previously seen the game's opening level, set in New York City. What other areas of the United States will we be seeing invaded?

DM: NYC and Washington are in the game; we wanted more but the schedule didn't allow for it. If the game does well and we get the blessing to do a sequel...well, hell...there are a ton of things we can do for the sequel we could not do on the first...

GS: How did you come up with the designs for weapons, equipment, uniforms, and so on that we'll see in the game?

DM: We took the actual WWII weapons and again added a "what if" to them. What would the Germans have done to advance their weapon tech? What did they actually have in R&D? We did find information that is now public domain on German technology and the things they wanted to create. Some of it was just amazing, even for today...just stunning. And a lot of it actually worked--they just never got a chance to use it. Which to that I can only say...thank God!

GS: So you've got a unique, historical context. How will Turning Point: Fall of Liberty set itself apart from other WWII shooters in purely mechanical terms?

DM: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty has fewer calories than your normal shooter, chicks dig it, and it stays crunchy...even in milk. But beyond our totally unique vision of WWII, and alternate history, and updated Germany weapons and vehicles, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty also has a unique new grappling system. Since you aren't part of this super invading freedom force in our game, players are always outmanned, outgunned, and need to rely on hand-to-hand combat in order to save ammunition. It also looks pretty sweet when you bust a German soldier up with your mitts, take his gun from him, then take him hostage and use him as a human shield while you mow down other German soldiers...just for example.

GS: How are you making use of Epic's Unreal 3 engine? Any nifty new technology you're bringing to the fore?

DM: Wait...we're using Unreal 3? I thought we were using the Tetris engine! Actually, I'd rather not say anything other than the fact that we are under the hood a lot and we have done a few things.

Many of the weapons and vehicles are more advanced versions of those used in WWII.
Many of the weapons and vehicles are more advanced versions of those used in WWII.

GS: What can you tell us about Turning Point: Fall of Liberty's multiplayer features?

DM: There are two core gameplay modes in Turning Point: Fall of Liberty's multiplayer. There's deathmatch and team deathmatch. The idea is to make more available via XBL and the PS3 store later on down the line. Who knows...only the people can dictate what will happen. If the game is received well...we will keep making content.

GS: We've heard that Turning Point: Fall of Liberty will feature a grappling system of some sort. What can you tell us about that?

DM: Wait...who told you that? I want names and home addresses. Actually, I kind of got into the grappling system a bit above. Short version is that you're going to have to use hand-to-hand combat more in our game than any other WWII game out there. And aside of just fistfighting Germans until you win, we've also got a few places in the game where you can use the surrounding environment to your advantage, like throwing a guy off a rooftop, or sliding somebody across a kitchen table and down a trash shoot, and so on.

GS: Since you're not going to be playing as a soldier per se, will you be spending the entire game fighting solo, or will you ever get to team up with Allied forces?

DM: In Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, you play as Dan Carson, a reluctant NYC construction worker turned US resistance fighter. As you progress through the game, you'll meet people along the way that are like you...regular folks. Like them, you just want to survive, so you may work together for a bit. But like typical human beings, they won't stick around. No one knows if you are going to make it. You are just a regular guy surviving on instinct. So they may break off at some point, or die, or stay where they are after you fight together. It's totally about survival. Everyone is in it for themselves. It sounds horrible, but it's not really. You do what you can to survive... So do the NPCs in our game. They will stick with you as long as they think you have what it takes to get them out alive. The minute you do something that seems a bit risky...they will leave you.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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