Pubisher:Electronic Arts Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP Release Date: January 2010
Recently we got a chance to sit down with EA’s Matt Turner to chat about Army of Two: The 40th Day, which was a good thing since we ended up not paying attention through most of the presentation he made of the game before hand. Understand though, we weren’t being mean – we were just busy jotting down questions and trying not to stare too openly at Tim Schafer whenever he walked by.
We managed to pick up the basics though; casting players as mercenaries Elliot Salem and Tyson Riggs once more, the action is this time set in Shanghai after a disaster and invasion and sees the duo not out to make money, but just looking to escape. We sat down with Matt and a cup of tea to talk about co-op, technology and booze. Here’s what he had to say for himself.
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Bit-Tech:You know, I've always wanted to see a developer abuse the PR privileges like a rockstar and ask for a pint of whisky and a bowl of brown M&Ms or something.
Matt Turner: Yeah, I could ask; Do you have any Glenfidditch? I'll drink it only if it's 14 years of age. That'd be difficult since they only do 12 or 15 years...
BT:You a big whisky drinker?
M: Yeah, I enjoy good whisky. Not by any means a connoisseur, but I have a couple of bottles at home which I save for special occasions. My Dad bought me back a bottle of Oban recently, with a hand-written label and a hand-blown bottle. Really nice - though I've only had a couple of tastes of that.
BT:Saving things for special occasions is hard though. I recently bought my girlfriend a bottle of Ledaig Nine Year Old that's really special and it's taking all my willpower not to drink it.
M: I've never gone quite to that level of whisky drinking. I did have a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label for a while and I thought that was really nice, even though that was a blend.
BT:Before we end up talking about whisky for ages we should probably introduce you properly though. So: who are you and what do you do?
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M: Well, my name is Matt Turner and I'm a producer on Army of Two: The 40th Day at EA Montreal.
BT:So, this is our first proper look at Army of Two: The 40th Day - can you give us a quick overview of what's happened in between the two games and how the story has come along and so on?
M: Yeah, though the first thing to know is that it's not like a linear story. We're not picking up from where the last one left off really at all. It's a new adventure and the characters are in kind of a new world, a little bit. What I mean by that is that the game isn't really about cash and brotherhood, like the first Army of Two. It's more about the players just being caught up in the aftermath of this catastrophe. The circumstances for the adventure has changed.
There is referencing back to the first game though. The characters, Elliot, Salem and Alice are still running their own company, Trans World International. They are still a mercenary team, that's what they do and what they are there for. They still have all that past, but the game doesn't focus on it. It's about what's happening now.
BT:And has a lot of what you've been doing been based on feedback and the criticisms leveled at the tone of the first game?
M: Oh, yeah. There's been a lot of tweaks and we've been very aware of all that stuff. We're trying to address it and fix as much of it as possible.
BT:What kind of stuff have you focused on?
M: Game length was one of the big ones. People were disappointed in the length of the first game. Some hardcore gamers felt they didn't get enough out of it and, y'know, if you were good then you could crush the game in four or five hours. We were disappointed with that, so we've focused on making the experience a satisfyingly deep game with an eight to ten hour minimum for the average player on his first playthrough. If you're really good then it's maybe seven and a half.