Who is this guy?
Game Designer – Red Storm Entertainment
Lead Multiplayer Designer
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Franchise
Ghost Recon: Island Thunder – Xbox
Ghost Recon 2 – Xbox
GR2: Summit Strike - Xbox
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – Xbox 360
USMC - 1995-1999
Started out making mods for Rogue Spear
How are military games different?
Movie Trend Influence on Perception of Reality
Military Games, especially shooters, are heavily influenced
by movies, because the public’s perception of what is “real”
is so heavily influenced.
Military Shooters tend to have an older audience than other
shooters. Many military shooter fans, especially in
multiplayer, want a more mature audience, as opposed to
more mainstream shooters.
A critical part of marketing and selling a military shooter is
Example: Ghost it from in the market. Sci-Fi games can
Recon & themselves visually, even if the gameplay is the
same. Military games lack some of that versatility.
Why does this matter?
Recap of last years talk –
Navigating the Minefields
Range of Military Shooter Games
The Next-Gen Military Game
What’s the difference now?
What gamers expect
The majority of military gamers don’t want a “sim” or an
“action game” or an “arcade shooter.”
They want it all!
Riveting Single Player
“John Wayne, Chuck Norris,
and Tom Hanks”
As war movies have progressed and
matured, so have games.
Games Evolve, Developers
Next Gen doesn’t change the focus, only the
Breaking the mold
Identifying your strengths
Blending realism, fun, and action
Answering the question – “What is your game about?”
Franchise Development – Keeping the core, refresh
Perception, Perception, Perception!
It matters what the player perceives, not what is
Production Challenges in
the Next-Gen Military Arena
The Push for More and More
As a larger scope is demanded from the
games, the need for a strong vision is even
The sheer volume of production material is
not just a challenge for the Producer. The
keeper of the vision must be able to adapt
to new expectations of development
Bigger isn’t necessarily better!
Is 200 guns better than 50?
There is a tendency to reflexively add “more” of everything.
The standard hasn’t changed – quality over quantity.
You must balance variety versus gameplay distinction. The
more of anything you have, the less distinctive those items
will be. This is especially true of weapons.
Map size and player fun
or “Now lets make every map 10Kx10K!”
Play space size must be tailored to movement speeds,
engagement ranges, types of transportation available,
field of view, etc. etc.
“Big” can mean different things to different
people, and on different playspaces.
LOS directly affects “size”
More investment by developers and
publishers means more pressure on
existing military franchise
Can “New Features” overshadow the
core gameplay of your game?
The more detail in a project, you either need
GR2 Xbox GRAW 360
more time or
(Entire Game) more people. If you end up
with more people…
You must now Communicate Authenticity &
Vision to hundreds of developers, not dozens.
Delegation of the Vision becomes key!
You can’t do it all now!
The Killer is in the Details…
With a next generation game, the
expectation of quality and the scope of
content demand more attention to military
authenticity than ever before.
Example: Authenticity Check on a 500 poly weapon
model, vs 1.2 million poly normal map model
Authenticity vs Product Placement
“The Real Deal” can be great, but put the game
before your contractors, and don’t let consultants
overwhelm you. Focus on what benefits to the game.
Case in Point: GR2 v GR3
Ghost Recon 2
Nov 2004 – Xbox
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Mar 2006 – Xbox 360
GR2 Xbox & Summit Strike
Staff of ~50
Experienced GR vets, with new folks
Established “GR” Map Design/Mission Flow
Managing New Directions
“Oh, we are are #2 on Live?”
“Hurry, change the ads!”
GR:AW Xbox 360
Staff of 250+, 4 studios
Managing Authenticity Feedback
Figuring out who is who?!?!
Separate SP & MP Development
Changes to SP meant double the work for MP Team
Managing Consistency while balancing Gameplay
“Old Team” & “New Team”
GR:AW Xbox 360
Ambitious SP Plan
How to adapt to Single Player?
Focus on SP Consistency, MP Variety
Dedicated MP Team
Initial MP Direction – “Put Everything in!”
Innovating through design
Customizable Game Modes
Marriage of Marketing and Development (gasp!)
Selling our Features!
GRAW 360 – The Good, The
Bad, And the Ugly
Separate MP Development led to dedicated MP features
Power of next-gen hardware allowed graphics & art to
Separate MP Development led to
tons of headaches and work replication
Graphics and Art flourishing was a lot of
Handling team morale
Designing in a Vacuum
Thanks for your time!