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    Brian Raffel Interview

    Head of Raven Software

    1. First off, when the hell is Soldier of Fortune coming out!?

    SOF is VERY close! We just submitted it to our Activision code release group. This means that they pour over it for about 4-5 days making sure QA found all the nasty bugs and the game is ready to ship. IF they approve it than it is GOLD and out into the stores.

    2. Why has it taken so long for Soldier of Fortune to be released?

    Well, I really don't think it has taken all that long, about 2 years of development. But we did write the whole GHOUL system and tackled Motion Capture for the first time. There are a lot of other code and animation systems we implemented that Star Trek: EF is getting the benefits from. But to be honest, there were a few months there that we were in a little bit of an identity flux about the game. We had seen some other military games that came out and did well but they had a much different approach than we did. We pondered for a while to see if our true vision had become out dated. After a lot of discussion and soul searching we decided to stay true to our plan and I am VERY glad we did because the game is right on in my opinion.

    3. What gave you the idea to make Soldier of Fortune? Was it even your idea?

    We were getting a little tired of doing fantasy and wanted to try something a little more gritty and visceral. We pitched Activision the idea of a military game and did a demo to prove our concept. Activision liked it but thought it might be cool to get the Soldier of Fortune license for it. At first we were a little apprehensive of SoF as a name but the more we thought of it and looked more closely at the magazine we knew it was perfect!

    4. Are there any new gameplay features that Soldier of Fortune will be introducing to the gaming scene? If so, what?

    I think the newest thing that SOF brings to the gaming scene is the realist reactions and large number of animations the enemies portray. We also have a large number of different looking enemies that fit the environments and different world locations in the game. (We got tired of seeing the same looking enemies that always reacted the same way over and over). Finally, I think with the gore zones and specific hit locations so you felt that it mattered WHERE you shot an enemy.

    5. Is there any new feature or technology in SoF that separates it from any other FPS game out there? What is it?

    As I mentioned earlier we have GHOUL which is the core of SoF. It allows us to determine 26 different hit zones that call upon different motion capture animations and responses. It also allows us to make a lot of different mix and match enemies. (SoF has 75 different looking combinations of enemies). With GHOUL we also get the ability to shoot weapons out of people's hand, glasses off their face, or get a throat or groin shot. The new animation technology is called CHIMIRA and it allows us to easily control which animations are applied to which zone as well as tweak the motion capture data EASILY!

    6. If you had to pick one game that SoF is like what game would it be? Why?

    Hmmm, that is a hard one. We are really like no ONE game but have some elements that are close to others. I guess I would say we are like Half-Life meets Rainbow Six.

    7. Do you plan on having and expansion add-ons or a sequel to Soldier of Fortune? If so, then are there any designs being thought about now? What are they?

    If Soldier does as well as I think it will we will have a mission pack and a Sequel. I have already taken steps to secure John Mullins (our mercenary) for the sequel and this time I want the all the mission to be based off of REAL scenarios that the military have had to do. I would also like to add more Gores zones like effecting the hands and feet as well as more unique animations. If we have time I would like to implement our skeletal system so we can fit MORE animations in general.

    8. If you placed Soldier of Fortune against games like Unreal Tournament and Quake III where do you think it stands overall? Why?

    I think we would stack up very well next to those two great games. I think our single player would bode well for us since the main focus of both those other products is the multiplayer. But I do feel our multiplayer would do fine and has a lot to offer the mode community due to all of our animations and the specific body hit locations. We are including a lot of multiplayer games with SOF:

  • CTF
  • Straight DM with team option
  • Arsenal
  • Assassin
  • Realistic - With team options

    9. What are your plans after Soldier of Fortune is finished?

    Hmmm, I see a vacation!

    On behalf of, Brian, I would like to thank you for taking the time to conduct the interview, for it was well appreciated. We hope that your game is as successful as we think it will become. Check out the official Raven Software site, or Planet Soldier of Fortune (The Gamespy site dedicated to Soldier of Fortune), for more information.

    GameSurge has a gallery page of Soldier of Fortune Screenshots. You can view them here.

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