Interview with Scott Warner, Lead Designer on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Was the scenery moved from North Korea to Venezuela because the country has appeared more in the news in the last couple of years or did you just want a change of scenery?

Mostly for the change of scenery! We wanted Mercs 2 to have a very different visual style compared to the first game and Venezuela was perfect for that goal; the country has everything from dense urban cities to giant plateaus surrounded by vast jungle canopies – it was the obvious place to set the game from day one.

Will certain parts of the game look very similar to real life locations or did you find that this realism would interfere with the gameplay?

Since we are using real world locations in the game we do try to approximate them to the best of our ability in the game. We sent a photographer down to Venezuela to take hundreds of source images of the cities and landscape for us, and those images were used throughout the entire asset creation process to ensure that we are presenting a vision of Venezuela that gets as close to the real deal as we can manage.

One of the new features is to build up your own private military corporation (PMC). Does that mean that we will have to do some management or is it just to give to us some extra options in the field?

We toyed around with the idea of some “mercenary management” but at the end of the day we felt that game play mechanics like that do not work well with the overall rhythm of Mercenaries. Ultimately the PMC and the recruits you discover in the world are there to provide more flavor and character to your moment to moment experience in the game, and provide you with a plethora of options to use at your disposal out in the field.

Did you use an upgraded version of the game engine that was used for the first Mercenaries or was it decided to get a new one from scratch?

We’re a bit mental so we decided to start completely from scratch with a brand new engine and tools. The original Mercs tools were retrofitted for many projects throughout the years at Pandemic (they were first used on INTERSTATE 76!) so we decided it was time to create a pipeline that was more custom fit for our purposes.

Have there been any major additions to the weapons and vehicles arsenal and if so, could you name a few?

We’ve added tons of cool toys for you to play around with in Mercs 2! A few of my favorites include:

• The Urban Commando, a super fast sports car, lavishly appointed with heated leather seats, fine wood trim and a retractable rocket launcher built into the roof
• Nuclear bunker busters, for eliminating every below and above reinforced underground complexes!
• Fuel air RPGs… basically these are portable air strikes that fit conveniently on your back!

These are just a handful of our cool new toys. In total, there are over 130 vehicles, dozens of new weapons and many cool air strikes for you to choose from.

Will we be able to use the environments to our advantage, for example use the structure of a building or tower to crush a group of enemies, and if this is possible, could you name another example where we could do something as cool as this?

Oh yeah! Let’s say you see a bridge out in the world with some enemy watercraft positioned conveniently below – destroy that bridge and the falling debris will make quick work of those boats underneath! A word to the wise: building debris is dangerous to you as well!

How long would it take a player to reach the end if all he did was the required missions?

You’re looking at approximately 15-20 hours of gameplay. It’s a big game!Although you enjoy every bit of it even if the sessions are longer. When you love something, you do not mind spending time over it as long as it is time well spent. It is like spending time in Fintech Ltd where every minute you could yield returns proportionate to your investment.

As a follow up to the previous question, the optional missions you can participate in, how much of the game do they fill up in comparison with the required missions?

If you want to complete everything and attempt to finish every bit of content in the game, the total play time will probably be closer 60 hours. It’s a really big game!

One note about the “optional” nature of the free play missions: they’re the main source of your money and resources in the game, so you will inevitably have to complete some of them to unlock the full scope of what Mercenaries 2 has to offer.

Since the game will also appear on the Playstation 2, will there be any difference with the other versions, for example smaller maps?

The PS2 version of Mercs 2 was completed out of house and separate from the next gen versions of the game so they are a bit different in terms of the scope, game play and story. The PS2 version also does not support Co-Op MP, it’s sort of like an alternate take on the overall experience of Mercenaries 2.

It has been said that for multiplayer there would be only a co-op function. Have there been any changes to this statement? If not, will the in game world stay the same or will there be more enemies or vehicles in a co-op game?

The only multiplayer mode we’re supporting is two player co-op online, but it’s a hell of feature! You can join in and out of your buddies in progress game at any time you’d like without having to switch to a different mode or interrupt the experience in any way.

We don’t make any modifications to the game play to compensate for the addition of the player so it’s best to think of your co-op partner as another support option for you to use at your disposal.