GDC 2012 — Medal of Honor: Warfighter Demo


The Medal of Honor series, in its modern incarnation, is very keen to burnish its credentials for both visceral action and authenticity. Danger Close’s presentation at EA’s GDC showcase began with a live-action video. A hostage situation in the Philippines seemed certain to turn ugly, until a sudden off-camera intervention by a team of Tier 1 operators left the captors dead on the floor.

Exotic locales are the order of the day in Warfighter, as the forthcoming sequel is subtitled. Players will travel the globe combating terrorism, interceding in a series of events that all connect to a single, monolithic threat. This is no mere Modern Warfare fiction, however. Each mission, according to the developers, “has a dotted line to a real-world event.”

International flavor will also be provided by giving players access to special forces soldiers from around the world. Danger Close are “taking a page out of the FIFA playbook” and allowing gamers to play as the British SAS, the Australian SARS, the German KSK, and the Polish GROM, among others. A special “blue-on-blue playlist” will pit these highly trained warriors against each other.

More than two-dozen real special ops commandos assisted in creating the game. Their combined experience includes “every relevant mission,” dating back to the capture of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. To underscore this commitment to authenticity, two former Tier 1 operators were brought up on stage to explain their connection to the game.

After the soldiers left the stage to warm applause, Danger Close showed a live gameplay sequence. Set in Isabella City, Philippines, the mission amounted to an in-engine version of the hostage crisis depicted by live actors at the beginning of the presentation. U.S. Navy Seals storm a flooded city hall in the midst of a typhoon, taking out hostiles and searching for captive aid workers.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is powered by the Frostbite Engine, which was in fine form. The soldiers sloshed through realistic, thigh-high floodwater, and detailed Asian architecture disintegrated in a hail of bullets.

The gameplay was standard shooting gallery stuff, with lots of conveniently sized cover to hide behind. When presented with a closed door, the demonstrator accessed a kind of radial menu that presented various breaching options — flash-bang, C4, or simply “kick.”

Having rescued the hostages, the Seals escaped in swift boats. Though essentially a rail-shooter, this sequence showed off beautiful, convincing weather effects as it depicted the typhoon’s rage. The Navy pilots steered a precarious course through flooded streets and around collapsing buildings, as the player character unleashed a flurry of fire. Eventually, they rendezvoused at sea with a helicopter extraction team, just as the storm abated and sunlight began streaming through the clouds.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter comes out October 23rd.

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