View Full Version : Men Of Valor: Vietnam Interview

02-27-2003, 09:05 AM
The best selling PC first person shooter in 2002 didn't come from id, Epic, Valve or any of the more established development teams but from Tulsa, OK based 2015. Their work on the Electronic Arts published Quake III engine powered WWII action game Medal of Honor: Allied Assault garnered some of the best reviews of any first person shooter in some time as well as staying on the top 10 best selling PC game list for most of 2002. Now the developer has a new publisher in Sierra Entertainment, a new engine in the Unreal engine and a new historical military shooter in Men of Valor: Vietnam that's due out in 2004 for the Xbox and PC. In the first published interview about this game, HomeLAN got a chance to chat with 2015's director of development John Whitmore to find out more about their plans for Men of Valor: Vietnam.

HomeLAN - First, were you pleased and surprised with the critical and sales success for Medal of Honor: Allied Assault?

John Whitmore - We are very pleased with the awards the title has generated and the positive response from the fans, and the high sales numbers are very gratifying as well. I think that after the tremendous reception of the title at E3, the team was pretty sure they had a hit on their hands, and they worked very hard to see it through the home stretch.

HomeLAN - A number of 2015's team members left the company to form Infinity Ward. How has this affected the developer?

John Whitmore - It freed up some space for 2015 to recruit some really top-notch talent. The quality of the team and the chemistry we have now is just unbeatable.

HomeLAN - When it came time to create 2015's main project was were the main goals?

John Whitmore - We wanted to identify what the fans loved about MOHAA and extend that to create an even better player experience. We're focusing on creating an authentic sense of combat through the use of accurate graphics and a lot of scripted events to really wrap the battlefield around the player. We wanted to create more flexible and interactive AI for both enemies and friendly characters, so the player gets the sense that he is fighting with and alongside characters with human motivations instead of just bots. Overall, we wanted to create a more forgiving kind of gameplay so the player could fight in a dense jungle without getting sniped to death by unknown enemies. So far, we're pretty happy with our progress on these goals.

HomeLAN - How did the idea for creating a Vietnam era game come about?

John Whitmore - After MOHAA we knew we wanted to do another historical military shooter to fulfill the expectations of the fans. We came up with several settings that would allow us to use some weapons and technology more modern than that of WW2, and did some experiments with creating the jungle environments because we hadn't really seen that done well previously. We started thinking about helicopter assaults, fighting in tunnels, the distinctive music of the period, and became more and more convinced that a Vietnam-themed game would work very well. We put the concept along with several others in front of some publishers, and they all responded very strongly to he Vietnam idea, which let us know we were on to something.

HomeLAN - How much historical research are you doing for use in Men of Valor?

John Whitmore - A ton. This is a sensitive period in American history and we wanted to be sure we were as authentic as possible in our scenarios, our language, and our overall treatment. Kris Jackson, our Lead Designer, spearheaded the research effort and tracked down an incredible volume of reference material. I think we must have gone through at least a hundred historical works, photo books, battlefield accounts, and period fiction to prepare ourselves for the project. We viewed hundreds of hours of movies, combat footage, and documentaries to help establish the look and tone of the environments.

HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?

John Whitmore - The story follows a young Marine from the beginning of official involvement in 1965 to the height of the Tet Offensive in 1968. It focuses on his efforts to do his duty while keeping himself and his friends alive so they can return home. In our research, we found that this simple motivation, to watch out for your friends under fire, led to incredible acts of valor in the murky circumstances of the war, and it is this aspect of Vietnam that Men of Valor seeks to portray.

HomeLAN - What sort of locations and settings will Men of Valor take place in?

John Whitmore - Popular views of Vietnam tend to focus on the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia, and you will certainly have your fill of these environments in Men of Valor. However, some of the major operations of the war took place in other types of terrain. We have missions that take place upon the hillocks that dot the sparse coastal plains south of Da Nang, along the mountainous paths on the Cambodia border known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and among the debris of imperial Vietnamese architecture in the wrecked city of Hue.

HomeLAN - Will there be any recreations of real Vietnam battles and engagements in the game?

John Whitmore - Yes. Every mission in the game is drawn from an historical encounter we discovered while researching the war. We have changed the times and places of a few of them to fit in with our story arc, but it is all based on reports of actual battlefield events.

HomeLAN - What kinds of weapons and items will be used by the player in the game?

John Whitmore - A wide variety of weapons of the conflict are included. The player will be able to use the weapons he is issued and can also pick up and use Communist bloc weapons from downed foes. The AK47 is a favorite of the team, and the M79 grenade launcher is one of the most fun to use. Each weapon has different values for fire rates, accuracy, and recoil to reflect how they were handled and how they performed in actual combat.

HomeLAN - What sort of characters and enemies will be faced by the player in Men of Valor?

John Whitmore - The player will battle both Viet Cong guerrillas and NVA regular troops in various missions. The enemies are very smart and devious and use the cover and concealment of the jungle to great effect. In MOV , the enemies use basically the same system as the player to acquire and hit targets, so they are not supernaturally accurate. If you see a guy running and spraying his weapon on automatic, you can be pretty sure he won't be too accurate and you can face him in the open if you have the nerve, but if you see him crouching behind a tree and aiming carefully, you'd be wise to duck for cover before he gets off his shot.

HomeLAN - Will the player get to control other soldiers in the game?

John Whitmore - In most missions the player will be accompanied by squad mates that he can direct with a very simple interface. He can rally soldiers that are panicked or pinned down and can direct them to lay down suppressive fire or advance to an objective. The soldiers commands are designed to give the player another tool on the battlefield, but if he isn't interested in directing his squad mates or is skilled enough not to need them, they will manage themselves just fine during firefights.

HomeLAN - Will there be any drivable vehicles in Men of Valor?

John Whitmore - Yes. We are essentially portraying an infantry experience in MOV, but we couldn't resist including some of the more interesting vehicles of the conflict, especially in multiplayer.

HomeLAN - What other unique gameplay elements will be featured in the game?

John Whitmore - Vietnam poses a lot of gameplay challenges that we've had to tailor some special features to represent. Air and artillery support are huge factors of battles in Vietnam and this is fully represented in the game. The degree to which cover and concealment are integrated into the combat system creates some very interesting and intense gameplay in the jungle environments. Most importantly, the way in which your fellow squad mates act and react like real soldiers under fire really hasn't been seen before and will account for some of the most interesting player experiences. Your buddies will really care if they live or die, and so will you.

HomeLAN - What graphics engine are you using for the game and how are you modifying it for use in Men of Valor?

John Whitmore - We're using a version of Unreal technology heavily modified to work well on the Xbox and display dense natural environments.


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02-27-2003, 09:06 AM
HomeLAN - What multiplayer options will the game have?

John Whitmore - We'll have a full suite of multiplayer game types, from objective based missions portraying actual encounters of the war to more free-form deathmatch and capture the flag game styles. Also, we will feature a cooperative mode where friends can join together to play through the entire single player campaign.

HomeLAN - Will Men of Valor be "mod friendly" in any way for the PC version?

John Whitmore - We know this is something that fans will want to see and we will work on this issue, but I can't promise anything specific at this point.

HomeLAN - Will the Xbox version of the game have Xbox Live features?

John Whitmore - Absolutely.

HomeLAN - At the moment, what is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?

John Whitmore - We've been in development for about seven months and the game is progressing very well. All of the major features of the game are present, and now we are building missions, hammering the engine into shape, and adding graphical improvements. We're shooting for a 2004 release for the Xbox version, followed by a PC version that has been re-tuned and modified specifically for the PC.

HomeLAN - Finally, is there anything else you wish to say about Men of Valor at this point?

John Whitmore - We're really flattered and encouraged by the incredible amount of interest we have seen since the product announcement in January. After MOHAA it was apparent that 2015 had a lot of fans who really appreciated quality first person shooters, and we knew that cranking out a sequel to an established franchise with yesterday's technology wouldn't be the way to follow up on fan expectations. With Men of Valor, we're trying to break some new ground in terms of the environments and the gameplay, and to bring the quality level of PC shooters to console players. I've never seen a team with the kind of drive and excitement we have now at 2015, and you can be sure we'll translate that into a tremendous title.

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02-27-2003, 09:13 AM
I'm so happy the pub'er isn't EA because they would would never let a game this good come out for the XBox. Frontline was just lame compare to Allied Assault. I bet you 2015 wanted to bring out AA on the XBox, but we all know EA wouldn't let them.

02-27-2003, 09:18 AM
I agree w/ the non-EA sentiment.

One of the things that struck me from their interview was the mention of music. I can't wait to play some low-down jungle mission w/ The End or some other classic vietnam era song playing in the background.

It's a smart move that publishers/bands/movies are getting together on this stuff.

02-27-2003, 11:55 AM
Great info. This game seems fvery promising. Kind of reminds me of this TV show some of you may remember called Tour of Duty. The theme song was "Paint it Black" by the Stones. A good shooter, with some good music, and XBL??? You can bet the DDC will be all over this one. :cool:

02-27-2003, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by SkoalMint
Kind of reminds me of this TV show some of you may remember called Tour of Duty. The theme song was "Paint it Black" by the Stones.

When was the last time it was on TV? I remember but it's ben a long time steins I seen it any where on TV.

02-27-2003, 12:21 PM
I think I have played the Demo on PC. If indeed it was the same game, it was alright, nothing too special but worthy of a rental at least.

02-27-2003, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by MerimacHamwich
I think I have played the Demo on PC. If indeed it was the same game, it was alright, nothing too special but worthy of a rental at least.

There hasn't ben a demo of this game yet, your thinking of a diff Vietnam game.

02-27-2003, 12:46 PM
Yeah, I was thinking of Vietcong.

02-27-2003, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by MerimacHamwich
I think I have played the Demo on PC. If indeed it was the same game, it was alright, nothing too special but worthy of a rental at least.

Isn't this the one you played?


It's called Vietcong it was made by:


It's not the same game as Men Of Valor.

02-27-2003, 01:01 PM
Heh, yeah, I posted that it was Vietcong just before you posted that. That screenshot looks better than what I remember, I am going to download the demo again when I get home!

02-27-2003, 01:03 PM
Originally posted by MerimacHamwich
Heh, yeah, I posted that it was Vietcong just before you posted that. That screenshot looks better than what I remember, I am going to download the demo again when I get home!

How big is the demo?

02-27-2003, 01:06 PM
I will just give you the link to it.
Games Domain, all your gaming needs. (http://www.gamesdomain.com/demos/demo/1776.html) That link brings you to the page where you can download the demo and it has a short description of the game.

shrew king
02-27-2003, 07:38 PM
HomeLAN - Will the Xbox version of the game have Xbox Live features?

John Whitmore - Absolutely.

Very cool to hear, I hadn't heard anything about this until now.

02-28-2003, 05:49 AM
Originally posted by Knight
When was the last time it was on TV? I remember but it's ben a long time steins I seen it any where on TV.

I think USA was running the re-runs during the afternoons about a year or two ago. Unfortunately, I was usually working and didn't get to catch many of them. I just remember watching when it was first on TV. I did a quick search and found some information on the show here (http://tourofduty.de/backinfo.php).

02-28-2003, 07:34 AM





02-28-2003, 07:35 AM




02-28-2003, 07:35 AM