SWAT: Target Liberty Interview

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posted 7/20/2007 by The GN Staff
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One Page Platforms: PSP
The SWAT series is one of the great PC franchises and Sierra raised more than a few eyebrows when they announecd they were bringing the series to the PSP.  We recently got a chance to talk to Sierra about the move and here's what they said.

Could you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and how did you get into the industry?
My name is Paul Pawlicki and I'm a producer for Sierra. I got my start in games back in 94 as a tester for Sony. For the past few years I've been working on the SWAT franchise, most recently on SWAT: Target Liberty for the PSP.

SWAT is being written by The Shield writer and producer, Scott Rosenbaum, can we expect the same kind of gritty storyline as what we've seen in the television show? The vague and disorienting enemy known as "terrorism" is certainly a wide-ranging target. Has he shifted the expectations of what a "typical day at the office" is like for SWAT? Or will it be business as usual with bomb threats, Anthrax scares, and poisoned pet food?
Scott was amazing to work with. When we contacted him he was busy shooting the season finale of the Shield, which he also wrote. Once he was done with that we got him started on SWAT: Target Liberty. He worked directly with the team at the development studio, 3G Studios, to ensure that we were all on the same page and pursuing the same goals, a good story that leads to good action.
Scott did a great job creating a story that begins with a few standard SWAT calls but then quickly escalates it into something on a much grander scale. The story follows our hero, SWAT officer Kurt Wolfe, through a few days of intense activity in NY City, and eventually has him working to protect the city from international terrorists. Who these terrorists are and what they want becomes clear as you play through the missions.

We know that story-specific details are under wraps, but for any of our readers that may be unfamiliar with the television show The Shield, give us a feel for what kind of story Scott Rosenbaum is writing into the game fabric. Does a conflicted, lone wolf protagonist emerge? Or is it less about dramatic character studies and more about unique, squad-based scenarios? Does it connect with the two decades of PC SWAT mythology at all?
We brought back the cast of SWAT 4 to reprise their roles of the officers.   We liked their previous performance and they have their characters down. In the PC games you never saw the lead character though and he never had a name. That’s because we wanted the player to feel they were the leader.  
 
In Target Liberty we gave our SWAT leader a name an identity. As I stated earlier, our hero is Kurt Wolfe. So while voiced by the same actor as before our leader now has a name and a face. All of the officers take part in the game but the story focuses mainly on Kurt and his interactions with his commander and eventually with federal officers as they try to stop a devastating attack on the city.
 
The game looks like a perfect fit for a multi-player co-op mode, outside of offering local ad-hoc support will you also be offering online WiFi gaming?
We are sticking with Adhoc Multipayer for SWAT: TL. There are 3 different modes and you can play with up to 4 people. They are all competitive in nature so you are always going head to head with your friends. One is based on escorting civilians to safety but other players can come by and kill you and take your civilian for themselves. I know it’s not very SWAT like but it’s a lot of fun.   There is another mode where you kill as many terrorists as you can in the given time, and another that is a variation on a VIP where the other players are terrorist and they are after the person you are protecting.
To make things more interesting we have a random killhouse generator which works in all the modes. It’s really cool. You simply select the killhouse option, choose small, med, or large, and then launch a game. The level geometry will be created on the fly so you get a different experience every time. 
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