Tom Clancy's Endwar Voice-on PreviewPlatform: Xbox 360
, PC, PS3
Immersion is a wonderful thing. It’s so good in fact that it’s probably the entire reason that a lot of people play games – to go somewhere else without going anywhere at all, to get away from it all. Immersion can make a good game into a truly defining experience; to take a bunch of shadows and hotspots and make them into a game so terrifying that you might never recover.
The great thing is though that developers are finally starting to catch on and understand exactly how integral the idea of immersion is to a game. It’s probably another one of those things that Nintendo is ready to claim the credit for, pointing to the Wiimote and Balance board as forerunners of the idea. Funny how everyone’s forgotten the Virtual Boy and introduction of Force Feedback lately, both of which were also hailed as the next level in immersion.
Quietly and carefully though, another company has been pushing things a little bit further and trying to take one game in particular to the next level of immersion. The company is Ubisoft, the game is Tom Clancy’s Endwar
and the idea is that the entire game is entirely voice-controlled
and able to understand complex vocal commands from players.
At UbiDays 2008 we got a chance to go hands-on with the game – or voice-on, to be predictably precise – and have a quick chat with some of the brains behind the game. Here’s what we found out…
Make Love, Not War
This is a Tom Clancy game and that means three things. First, that it’ll have a military theme. Second, that it will have an intricate story mostly focusing on The Red Threat. Thirdly, a lot of the game will be spent listening to gruff-voiced men with stubble barking different acronyms at each other.
And just because this Tom Clancy game is a real-time strategy and not a first person shooter or flight simulation doesn’t mean anything has really changed on that front.
In fact, you may well end up hearing a lot of the same gruff-voiced stubblers as Endwar
looks to be tying together a lot of the other Clancy franchises, which we like to call ‘Clanchises’. HAWX
, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter
, Rainbow Six
and Splinter Cell
are all queued to make a cameo. Endwar
could end up being the new lynchpin of the Clancy universe.
The story then has to be fairly epic to involve all these different Clanchises of the past and as far as plots go, you could probably consider Endwar
to be the definitive Clancy experience.
The prelude to the game starts in 2011 with the European Union joining up with the United States of America to create a new missile defence system called SLAMS. Russia is left on the sideline and starts to build a system of it’s own. Which is fine, until 2015 when the world discovers that the amount of oil left under the earth has been grossly exaggerated.
Wars break out and Saudi Arabia and Iran nuke each other in the process. Russia becomes the new superpower of the world, controlling the largest share of natural gas and crude oil as prices rise above £500 a barrel. The world becomes redivided – the EU forms a new army and maintains an uneasy ceasefire with the US armies as Europe becomes a single state. Britain and Ireland create a new commonwealth.
Then it all comes to a head when the US, in an attempt to prove itself as still the primary superpower of the world and despite huge public outcry, begins launching a new military platform in space. From this new Freedom Star space station the US can mobilise forces anywhere on the globe in 90 minutes, circumventing the ballistic defences which have made distance warfare largely obsolete.
The Freedom Star is globally viewed as an act of war and bombings prevent the completion of the space station, propelling the US, EU and Russian forces into a global conflict where the focus is on skirmish tactics and conserving remaining fuel reserves before the oil dries up completely.