Co-Optimus: Is Co-Op Playable both online and via a LAN?
Relic: Co-op is playable online as it requires that you be signed into Games for Windows Live in order to invite your friends to the campaign.
Co-Optimus: What sort of tutorials can we expect in the game? Will there be any kind of advanced options other than the typical - "This is how you move!" and "This is how you build a soldier" ?
Relic: Instead of a tutorial, we use something called a “Simplified Entry Point”. When you start a campaign you aren’t posed the question of whether you’d like to try a tutorial, you just start playing. For those at home in an RTS setting they can simply go about playing, those that are treading new territory have access to quick tips which explain the basic functions in the game similar to a tutorial. If something is too basic you can simply close it and move onto the next tip or continue playing.
The main thing we try to employ in the campaign is a sense of pacing and gradually increasing the number of squads and abilities that the player has access to. As you are granted access to controlling a new squad you receive an objective which highlights their core abilities and role. For instance with the scout marine Cyrus, a stealth specialist, you are told to destroy a building that houses an enemy heavy machine gun. Running your troops up in the open is a bad idea, and so you are told to infiltrate, flank the building and then deploy a demolition charge which will solve the problem in a pile of crumbling concrete and chunks of flesh.
Anything more advanced then that we leave up to the player to discover on their own. A lot of the fun in this and many other games come from discovering interesting new ways to use units and abilities. I look at the units, their wargear and abilities as tools that are a part of helping solve tactical puzzles. When the game is released there are going to be lots of people finding new ways to solve these puzzles in ways we never imagined.
Co-Optimus: You guys seem to have a good partnership with Microsoft with the Games for Windows Live stuff as well as with Valve for Steam (the beta is exclusive to Steam) - what was the thought process behind using to services like this?
Relic: Games for Windows Live offers a lot of the features that we need to make a successful and competitive multiplayer community. It has excellent NAT negotiation which aids in connecting players, TrueSkillTM matchmaking, leaderboards, game invites, built in voice chat and friends management.
Steam is an excellent distribution platform and allows players to access their games from any PC without a disc, receive continual updates and has quickly become a standard amongst hardcore PC Gamers.
It made sense for us to partner with both Microsoft and Steam for a successful Beta launch.
Thanks Relic! We can't wait to get our hands on the full version come February 19th!