Blacklight: Tango Down Co-Op Interview with Producer Andy Kipling
Blacklight: Tango Down is a recently announced downloadable title developed by Zombie Studios and powered by the Unreal Engine 3. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC game follows two competing factions; The Order and Blacklight in a world that is not that different from our own, but it's just different enough to be slightly "unsettling."
The game has a strong focus on customization and character progression. Players will be able to upgrade their character through experience earned, as well as customize weapons via unlocks.
While Blacklight: Tango Down was initially announced to offer a full suite of multiplayer versus modes for up to sixteen players, it was recently announced to include a mode called Black Ops, which is cooperative. We sat down with the game's producer, Andy Kipling, to get the details on just what to expect.
Co-Optimus: Can you tell us a bit about the co-op mode in Blacklight: Tango Down?
Andy Kipling: First let me say that the inclusion of co-op in Blacklight: Tango Down is something that I am pretty proud of. Already we had signed up to do an extremely ambitious game with a relatively small team and in a relatively short time period. In that, we have created some awesome environments, great levels, lots of varied game modes, innovated the shooter genre with new game systems and in general, delivered what I believe to be a kick-ass product at an amazing price point. And add to that the development of coop gameplay systems, AI, and objective based levels is really saying a lot of what the team has accomplished. The biggest credit for all this goes to the team which really threw their heart into the project and worked some late nights. Additionally we have been extremely pleased with the Unreal Engine 3 and all of the benefits it has provided; from quick iteration to amazing artist driven shaders and content. The fact that we are delivering all of this as a DLC-only product is pretty awesome.
As for co-op, we call it “Black Ops,” and in it players will join together in groups of up-to-four to play as a team from the Blacklight faction (there are two factions in the game, the other being The Order). Yes, you can play by yourself as well, but it is that much more fun with friends. The co-op missions are objective-based and players team up to take on enemies from The Order. The gameplay is really fun, fast-paced and allows players to earn all kinds of extra stuff, like additional experience, while they try to best their previous times and scores and make a name for themselves.
Co-Optimus: With so many developers simply putting in a survival mode as their co-op mode, why did you choose a deeper objective based mode?
Andy: The setting and back story of Blacklight: Tango Down really lends itself to doing a little more than just a simple survival mode. There is a deep and engaging universe that is Blacklight and we wanted to communicate as much of it as we could through a primarily multiplayer title. Now, in multiplayer, there generally is little to no story. What was the story in Battlefield 2, for example? A great game, no doubt, but there was no story. So here we have a multiplayer game with a great story, but few mechanisms with which to tell it. So we have to rely on other systems, and Black Ops is one of those. Yes, it is not a single player, so the story that is told through Black Ops is no single player campaign story, but that is where we have a lot of other alternative media to help with that. Black Ops does, however, provide a much better context for communicating more of the story and the universe to the player. Add to that things like the comic book that we are developing and releasing and the back story of the game will really begin to shine. Our hope is that players will be asking for more and that is something we would be happy to oblige them with.
So yeah, an objective based co-op system is better suited to tell the story of Blacklight than a horde mode. Although, I must say, horde mode can be pretty fun and we do have some horde mode like moments in the Black Ops which prove to be pretty engaging and exciting.