SWAT: Target Liberty Interview

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posted 7/20/2007 by The GN Staff
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One Page Platforms: PSP
We hear that all of the characters have their own skill sets.  Can you explain how different each of the characters is and why one character might be better than another?
There are four officers on your team to choose form and each has a skill. You can only bring two with you so it’s a good idea to listen to the briefing to see who might be a good fit. 

Zack “Hollywood” Fields, for example, is the accuracy officer.   He has a higher percentage of hitting his targets. This can eventually improve and allow for mostly head shots when using lethal weapons. The other skills are, observation (how well you can see into rooms using the door mirror), interrogation (how well you extract info from people), and intimidation (affects how quickly people surrender).  Kurt has a leadership skill. As this increases you can command the team further as well as assist in providing medical attention to your wounded officers.
The skill system in Target Liberty is determined by a scoring system that’s based on proper procedure. Killing people in handcuffs for example is not looked upon favorably.   The better you do in a mission the quicker you and your officers will advance.

Did you stumble on any challenges taking this long-running PC franchise to a handheld game system?
The biggest challenge was to make sure that we designed the game for the PSP audience. The pace of the PC games are slow and deliberate. Handheld games need to deliver a somewhat more arcade-like experience and also need to be playable in short spurts. 
We tried to keep the core SWAT values intact, like Less-than-Lethal weapons and restraining suspects, while providing a storyline and settings that allow for a few more gunfights and always keeps the game moving forward. 
To maintain a level of realism that SWAT games are known for we brought back our SWAT consultant, Ken Thatcher. He trained the development team and showed them proper procedure. Everyone learned things like how to open and clear a room and approach stairs and what constitutes an imminent threat. If you want to see what training with Ken looks like be sure to check out the bonus videos. We have included over a half hour of Ken Thatcher training actual officers at the Blackwater training facility.

The game is being set in real world New York City.  Can you talk a bit about where we'll go with the confines of the city?
The development team from 3G went to Manhattan at the start of the project and scouted for locations. They came back with a lot of ideas and a ton of pictures.   The result is that some levels are based on real world locations that the team visited like Central Park, Ellis Island visitors center, and Grand Central Station.  We took a few liberties to ensure the best possible gameplay but they are definitely based on the actual locations. 
Others levels are not as famous, we didn’t want the game to feel like a sight-seeing tour, but they still maintain some of the same gritty urban feel that you experience when you walk around the streets of NY. Even things like the subway cars are modeled and textured to look the same as they do in the city right down to the orange seats. So whether your missions take you to Central Park, or a warehouse, or a subway you should never doubt that you are in Manhattan.  

A lot of people really enjoy customizing their characters; will there be a lot of different weapons to keep the action varied? Are there any kinds of pre-defined classes?
When you choose your teammates at the beginning of a mission you have the option of going in setting their load out. Like our earlier SWAT games for the PC we have a full range of licensed weapons which include, Benellil, FNH, and Sig. At the start your options are a bit limited but you still get a choice of a few lethal and less-than-lethal weapons and a couple tactical grenades. My favorite is the pepperball gun. It’s fast and delivers a round of pepper gas from a paintball type round that drops suspects quick. 
As you progress through the game will you obtain new and stronger weapons. You can also earn many other unlockables that include weapon upgrades as well as additional magazines and more slots for your grenades.
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