Ken Levine: Many thanks. While I wish I could tell you exactly what we did right where so many others have failed, game development is unpredictable to say the least. No one sets out to make a poor game. I think it's mostly a matter of commitment. We always did our best to stay focused on making the best game possible. Did Freedom Force have problems? Of course. That's where Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich comes in. For us, doing a sequel meant that we could not only expand our feature set and add considerably more polish and flare, but also that we could work out the issues people had with the original.
Ken Levine: Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich is a brand new epic story with dozens of new heroes and villains featuring tons of radical enhancements to the rendering engine, interface and gameplay. Add to that an entirely new multiplayer game with new modes including Story-Based Multiplayer, and you've got a beast of a sequel. In other words, let the socks go.
GamersInfo.net: What a great idea to have a contest and add a player-created hero to the new game. How has response been and how will the new character be integrated into the storyline?
Ken Levine: We had a fantastic response from our fans. To be honest, we expected no less. We have some of the most dedicated and creative fans in the industry. This contest was a way for us to thank them for sticking with us. We should be announcing the winner very soon.
Ken Levine: It was primarily because we felt we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Freedom Force back to the Golden Age. It meant that we could take the black and white nature of the era and make bold new heroes and put them in situations that you don't see in video games. Even if you've played every WWII based game on the market, you're going to love FFv3R.
GamersInfo.net: There is still a thriving character-creating and downloading community for the original Freedom Force. Are you going out of your way to help the mod-makers with special features and community support for the sequel?
Ken Levine: Absolutely. As I said before, we have an amazing community. We'll be giving them new and improved tools that will allow them to take modding FF to a whole new level. The changes we've made to the Character Tool alone will allow for much more creative and dynamic character creations.
GamersInfo.net: I must admit, though I enjoyed my time with the game, I found the original Freedom Force to be quite difficult in places (though a buddy of mine found it easy). Will there be selectable difficulty levels? How about tutorials?
Ken Levine: There will be no less than six difficulty levels. And there's no penalty for choosing an easier level. We did our best to incorporate tutorials into the game. Personally, I was always embarrassingly bad at the original as well (I'm generally not the most gifted gamer). With the enhancements we've made to your team AI as well as the streamlined interface, I've found the game to be easier. For the most part, the only reason I fail a mission or die is because of a poor choice on my part. In the original this was not always the case.
GamersInfo.net: Tell us about what multiplayer features we can expect? Many people desire a co-op mode - will we see one?
Ken Levine: Story-Based Multiplayer will allow anyone to create relatively complicated competitive scenarios. You'll be able to actually give meaning to your online battles. Fans will also be able to finally put all their own created characters to good use.
We didn't stop there though. We also have seven other modes of play including Tag and Massacre.
Ken Levine: Funny that you should mention that. You can pick up issue 1 and 2 of the all-new Freedom Force comic by Image Comics. Look for it in stores now! Eric Deiter's writing and Tom Scioli's art really capture the spirit of the game with impeccable precision. Freedom Force fans and comic fans won't be disappointed.
GamersInfo.net: Has City of Heroes been an influence on the team at all? What about the recent spate of superhero films such as the Spider-man and X-men series?
Ken Levine: A few of us have played CoH. I can't really say that it's influenced us since it's so different in genre, aesthetic and overall execution. The resurgence of comic book films has certainly been inspiring. They'd probably inspire us regardless of what type of game we were working on. In general, they've been great films that leverage many of the same elements that make games engaging.
Ken Levine: As you may have already heard, Irrational Games is publishing Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich. This can mean great things not only for our fans, but for gamers in general. If all goes well, it means that Irrational can remain committed to giving hardcore gamers what they want. It also means that we can move forward with some of these crazy ideas we've got brewing.
Born in the Year of the Green Hornet, 1966.
A long-time musician of the punky, mod, rockin’ loudmouth variety.
Fascinated by comic strips & comix, computers, 60’s & 70’s pop culture, Great Britain (where I lived for a few years), comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, my hot rod of a wife and super-spectacular daughter.