MyGaming recently had the opportunity to play through a chunk of 2K Games and Yager Development’s upcoming 3rd person shooter and franchise reboot, Spec Ops: The Line – you can read the preview here.
Following that, we had a chat with senior developer Shawn Frison to find out more about the game.
A quick recap; Spec Ops: The Line is the first game in the Spec Ops franchise in about a decade, and it has adopted a 3rd-person shooter style, straying from is FPS roots.
Players will fill the combat boots of Captain Martin Walker of Delta Squad, and be accompanied by two squad-mates as they enter into Dubai city ravaged by apocalyptic sand-storms.
The mission is to investigate a distress signal coming from U.S. Army Colonel John Konrad and his 33rd Infantry, who went in to assist the evacuation, but were presumed dead during 6 months of silence.
It quickly becomes apparent that there is much more going on in Dubai than a struggle for survival. The game will pack loads of shooting action of course, but will also rely heavily on its driving narrative to keep gamers engaged through to the end.
As discussed at length in the preview article, the game’s narrative took much inspiration from Joseph Conrad’s book “Heart of Darkness”.
Unpacking the titular concept of “The Line”, Frison said that one can view it as the line between a few different things, such as “the line between what’s right and what’s necessary.”
“What’s interesting is that everyone brings a little bit to the interpretation; the line between good and evil, the line you cross and you can’t go back. I like that there’s a little bit of ambiguity to it,” said Frison.
The Line is constantly being redefined through the narrative. The squad reacts to individual decisions, the game is kept moment-to-moment; there’s no tracking of moral choices.
However, the characters are affected over time and elements of this are reflected in the script, and how they act toward one another.
The character models bear the scars of the journey, showing progressively more damage as the game goes on. The voice acting also reflects the changing mood, with dialogue and tone becoming darker as the game progresses. All three characters change, but each is affected in different ways by the war around them.
Frison believes that what makes Spec Ops: The Line stand out from the crowd of third-person cover based shooters, and military shooters in general, is that very few games take on the psychological side of those situations.
Spec Ops: The Line is heading to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC around Q1/Q2 2012.