[[The MoH Success Story]]
When the original version of Medal of Honor was announced many claimed that there was no way of implementing the novel and ambitious plans while producing a worthwhile game. "Gamers look for futuristic weapons in an FPS" claimed critics of the project adding their doubts as to the interest a World War II would create. Granted, Wolfenstein had set the stage but the sheer scale of MoH meant that there was a lot more to lose. What that game and all subsequent releases managed to, once again, demonstrate is that great games need great risks.
This time the game will let you step into the boots of a Marine Corporal, survive the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, and drive the Japanese Army from the Pacific. Medal of Honor Rising Sun from Electronic Arts. Developed by EALA, Medal of Honor Rising Sun will attempt to create an immersive and authentic WWII experience in either single-player or multi-player modes. Medal of Honor Rising Sun will be available for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft in the fall of 2003, with a PC version planned for some time in 2004.
Set for the first time in the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 1941-1944, Medal of Honor Rising Sun gives players a sense of the courage it took to fight the Japanese from Pearl Harbor to the shores of the Philippine Islands. Players will assume the role of Marine Corporal Joseph Griffin, as he survives the attack on Pearl Harbor, leads the assault of Guadalcanal, and finally rescues his brother from a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines. Armed with his wits and a variety of authentic weapons, it's up to players to stop the Japanese war machine in its tracks. Players can even team up with a friend in the all-new co-op multiplayer mode to battle the Japanese forces. Along the way, players will earn awards and medals for their meritorious service in defeating the enemy.
As with the original Medal of Honor, the producers sought council from numerous outside sources to make certain the game is as historically authentic and realistic as possible. EALA continues to work closely with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to ensure Medal of Honor Rising Sun reflects the ideals and integrity of the prestigious Medal of Honor. In addition, Capt. Dale Dye, who served as military technical advisor on the previous titles in the Medal of Honor franchise, continues his efforts with the Medal of Honor Rising Sun team to ensure the authenticity of the game.
The Rising Sun installment of Medal of Honor will take a step away from its predecessors as far as the story is concerned. According to Chris Cross, Game Design Director, We use actual events from WWII as a framework to base our Stories/Missions on. A good example of this is how we used Operation Market Garden in Medal of Honor: Frontline as a backdrop for Jimmy Patterson's adventures. We are doing the same thing for Rising Sun by using both actual battles and events. By choosing to use real battles as part of the game, developers had to pay very careful attention to maintaining a sense of respect for all those who actually fought and perished in the real life events and to remain accurate as far as the timeline, environments and strategies used were concerned. The aim was, according to developers to take into account what would happen ...if a veteran of WWII saw our game, what would he think about our content.
Another difference between this, latest MoH installment and previous ones lies in the extensive use of Cinematic sequences in order to engage players and to further immerse them into the atmosphere of WWII. This created the problem of scale. In order to make those cinematic sequences effective they had to be accurate and visually impressive. This meant that EALA had to take certain measures in order to achieve an Enter the Matrix magnitude of storytelling. Making these sequences meant assigning as great an importance to acquiring information and research as to audiovisual effects.
The game in another Enter the Matrix move will have its story told serially, that is through two different characters which the player may choose. According to the developers, We wanted to try and cover the story of two brothers fighting in the same Theater of Operations and how different the experiences of individual soldiers could be.
For its gameplay, Rising Sun will rely heavily on the tried and tested MoH recipe. EALA have however, enriched that with a wide variety of features which enhance gameplay by creating an immersive atmosphere, extremely realistic and detailed environments and a new and improved behavioral AI system.
The game will feature 10 missions which can be played solo or cooperatively via split-screen. Rising Sun will sport a variety of gameplay options such as rail shooting, classic FPS style, and even a little MGS style stealth elements. Another innovation will be the moral choices, which will face gamers. Such as the choice of risking your life to save a P.O.W. or not? If you do save them you may be rewarded with a shortcut. The A.I. also takes a controversial view by making the Japanese much more aggressive than their European Axis counterparts. It manages to do that by introducing a very confrontational enemy style of fighting and a will to take desperate measures in order to avoid capture.
This installment of the Medal of Honor saga will play itself out in three, well known, WWII battle theatres. Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal and The Philippines.
In order to better capture these locations the developers went all out on travel and research. According to Chris Cross We've sent people to the border of Thailand and Burma, Singapore, Guadal Canal in the Solomon Islands and Pearl Harbor. This has proved to be invaluable, not only for visual reference and historical reference but for game design also. Getting to actually see the environments sparks gameplay ideas. In Singapore there were gutters that were big enough for somebody to hide in. Those got integrated into the design for one of our missions.
Another recent gaming fashion, following Vietcong success and MGS 3 news, is the jungle environment. Chris Cross again One of our main challenges was creating a believable jungle environment. I think we have achieved this. We also have to revisit all of our animations and we have custom tailored new animations to differentiate the Japanese soldiers from the American Soldiers.
As with every aspect of the game authenticity has played a major part in the development of the weapons available to the player. Chris Cross claims that the EALA team went to extreme lengths to ensure that weapons used by players will look, sound and feel like the original items. We do extensive research on our weapons. We always send a team on a live fire for every project if there are any new weapons. Where possible we use the actual sounds from these shots in the game. Video footage is also taken and used by the Animation Team for reference.
Captain Dale Dye's contribution is clearly evident in the game and military accuracy, the use of tactics and the resulting realism also greatly augment the gameplay process.
One great complaint regarding the previous MoH games was the lack of cooperative multiplayer action. Although announced as a game containing co-op multiplayer mode, Rising Sun still hasn't had that feature fully confirmed. The most recent statement claims We are currently working on getting cooperative play into the game. You'll just have to wait and see how that works out. Although lacking in confidence, the statement probably just demonstrates developer desire to keep some aspects secret until release rather than a true fear of a delay or cancellation of the feature.
Also included will be the always fun four-player split screen deathmatch on custom maps
This being an EA game however, does mean that XBox users will most probably not get online play since EA's, well documented feud with Microsoft over XBox Live fees is still ongoing.
Medal of Honor - Rising Sun, carries the weight of the unprecedented success of the original. This weight however, has had a positive effect on the developers by allowing them to pursue their vision without many budgetary constraints, making this game the biggest MoH title to date.
Relying heavily on authenticity and the successful recreation of the intense and eerie WWII battlefield atmosphere, Rising Sun plans to deliver the goods by delivering a powerful punch to the player. If the E3 trailer can provide any information about the game is that it grabs you by the neck and pushes you forward just as any self-respecting superior would in battle conditions.
In the trailer the game begins by an explosion, signaling the first wave of Pearl Harbor attacks, waking you up. You immediately have to run along corridors while being shouted at and pushed along. By the time you manage to man the guns you have witnessed the destruction of your ship and the grizzly demise of numerous of your comrades. Just a simple viewing of the trailer initiates a violent rush of Adrenaline.
Overall Rising Sun deserves the most highly anticipated satus it possesses and will certainly make its mark when it arrives this fall.
You can download the trailer and a variety of Rising Sun goodies by following the download tab above.