Stealth. It has emerged a reasonably dirty word in videogaming circles, Metal Gear Solid seemed to have set the trend with its excellent example of how it should be done. This trend has since become endemic in games however and what we tend to find is that it is implemented poorly or almost worse, for no reason whatsoever. When stealth is implemented well it can be fantastic and there's not much else like the feeling of tension that generates in a life or death situation...in a videogame.
One such game that understood stealth and understood that when it was core to the gameplay it was a valuable tool was Sniper Elite. Despite being received well by critics and users alike the game enjoyed limited success, but this year we have the tantalising prospect of the World War 2 stealth and assassinate-em'up re-emerging for the masses with Sniper Elite V2. We had a quick word with the lovely folks at Rebellion about the up and coming sequel.
The original Sniper Elite emerged as a bit of a cult classic, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of the original can you explain the original premise and how the sequel ties in?
As in the first game, you play an Allied OSS secret agent in Berlin in 1945 as the Third Reich draws to a bloody close, and the city is in ruins as the Nazis desperately try to hold back the Red Army. Your job is to slip between the two opposing armies and complete your mission. Sniper Elite V2 has the added element that you’re involved in the ‘brain race’ to capture or kill the men behind the Nazi V2 rocket programme before the Russians can get to them.
With shooters being dominated by the contemporary warfare arena it’s refreshing to see a return back to the World War 2 era. Was this a conscious decision to fill that gap that currently exists?
We wanted to follow on from the original game, though we did a lot of research into other wars. But we kept coming back to these few crucial weeks in Berlin in 1945 – it’s got Nazis against Soviets, the technology ‘brain race’, the interplay with the Allies and the beginnings of the Cold War. It also has a sufficiently low-tech approach to sniping, so there’s a feel of it being very much a more ‘personal’ act to stalk and shoot your enemies.
Its been roughly seven years since the original, with technological advances being what they are what has been the greatest addition to the series that wasn’t possible with the original?
Graphics have come on so much since 2005 that we’re able to produce a much nicer looking game, but also the sheer power of the new generation of consoles makes such a difference to what we can achieve with the gameplay .
In terms of historical and ballistic authenticity, how did the team go about researching the era and its weapons?
We took tens of thousands of photos of Berlin for research, as well as accumulating a huge library of books and DVDs about sniping during World War II. If there’s a book the developers haven’t read about it, it’s not worth reading! Seriously though, we’ve tried hard to maintain the first game’s reputation for accuracy and delivering an authentic sniping experience.
How has the team handled the difficult task of bringing this title to the cross platform market and is there a lead format for the game?
We’re very happy to be working with 505 on co-publishing Sniper Elite V2 but we’re also excited to be self-publishing the PC version, which we feel is quite a brave move in the current climate. This won’t be a port, we’re engineering a version specifically to take advantage of the PC platform, but the core of the game will the same across all platforms.
Should we be expecting a solid multiplayer element to Sniper Elite V2 or even a little taste of co-op action this time around and is there a plan for DLC post release?
Keep your eyes peeled for news about multiplayer – both on console and PC and as we’ll be self-publishing the PC version there will be on-going support after launch. We’ve not announced our plans for this yet but we’re very excited about them.
What element of the game are you most excited about gamers experiencing, especially those who were silly enough not to have picked up the original?
It has to be the KillCam. None of the shots you’ll see are pre-rendered – the mechanics of the engine take account of your angle, the position of the enemy, the speed of the bullet, the strength of the wind and the force of gravity. We’ve plotted well over 100 different combinations so far and predict there could be upwards of 500. It brings the terrible impact of a single bullet home to players who may well be more used to ‘run and gun’ games.
Sell Sniper Elite to the gaming public in a tweet.
Move silently, stalk your targets, take the shot – Sniper Elite V2, the shooter where a single bullet could change history. Make it count.
Sniper Elite V2 is due for release on the 4th May 2012 on PC, PS3 and Xbox360. Many thanks to Rebellion for taking the time to answer our questions.