And so it begins!
This week is going to be one of the most exciting weeks yet for Sniper Elite 3 - we finally get to give you a first look at gameplay footage and reveal the crazy amount of hard work and new features that have gone into the game.
On Wednesday and Thursday last week our publisher, 505 Games, invited press from all over the UK and Europe to visit Rebellion’s Oxford studio, meet the team, and watch the first ever live demo of the game in action.
So much happened so fast we thought it’d be cool to share a few secrets from behind the scenes and give you a little taster of what you’ll soon be seeing!
Who ya gonna call?
You’ve probably seen coverage of some of the more glitzy press days and media events held for big-name video game series.
Right from the off, we decided that anything we did to entertain the press should really help writers (and the gamers like you who read their work) understand the passion and effort that’s gone into Sniper Elite 3 and link to the game’s strengths and features.
After all, a game’s only as good as its gameplay, however you serve it (although we did serve ours with specially branded bottles of Sniper Elite 3 beer … strictly for taking home as a souvenir mind, 10.30am was a little early to crack out the bottle openers)!
One thing we’re most proud of when it comes to the Sniper Elite series is the sense of historical place - striking a balance between making the gameplay and environments rewarding to play, but at the same time feeling authentic to the period.
From Jason our CEO, right down to the dev teams, we’ve got a lot of very big history geeks in the studio, not to mention the odd Rebellion staffer with military service on their CV.
That’s why we decided to treat our visitors to a look at a monstrous WW2-era Marmon Herrington MK4 Armoured car - one of only a handful left in the world from the North Africa conflict. Its drivers Tim and Dave were on hand to answer questions that writers, Rebellionites, (or keen passers by!) had about the vehicles and equipment used in North Africa campaign in which Sniper Elite 3 is set.
Of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to get a huge team photo with the beast either! Hopefully we’ll be able to share that with you soon.
From the shadows
But Sniper Elite 3 is still really about one thing. Sniping.
Which is why we organised for Andy (we can’t disclose his surname!), a Military Consultant and former British Army soldier to speak to the press before the demo kicked off.
Andy served as a sniper in the British Army and gave a fascinating talk about the history of sniper training and the fact that in his days of service, the methods, tactics - even the weapons - for sniping remained almost identical to those used in the First and Second World wars.
Andy also explained the unique aspects to the North Africa campaign – in particular about how it was one of the most challenging terrain snipers were ever involved in, and it was only at certain locations like Tobruk (seen in our last trailer) and in Tunisia where they could come into their own.
He also explained the challenges of sniping and how to take a shot - using stealth to find the right location, scanning for targets and opportunities, accounting for bullet drop, wind, emptying lungs before a shot - all of which match the game mechanics that make the Sniper Elite series what it is.
In fact, when given a private demo of the game the team was delighted to see Andy - who readily admits the last video game he played was Space Invaders - pleasantly surprised and impressed by the way we took into account the heart rate of players based on how active they’d been prior to taking a shot.
As Andy pointed out, this of course was particularly important in North Africa where the hot conditions played havoc with accurate shots - the relatively thin shirts worn by snipers in the desert sun meant that the effect from the heartbeat in the artery of the firing shoulder was more pronounced!
Hold onto your hats …
With the Herrington explored and Andy’s talk over it was time for the demo to begin, with Andrew Shenton (Senior Producer) and Tim Jones (Head of Creative) on driving duties.
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little nervous. What’s that saying? “Don’t ever work with animals, children ... or video games” Anything can happen!
As most of the writers were from multi-platform blogs and magazines we demoed the game on both Xbox One and PS4, with a PC build at the ready just in case. What’ll you’ll soon be seeing is a snippet of footage from the expansive level they played.
Because of embargos we can’t share with you all the details right now, but in just a few days we’ll be bursting the lid open on a swathe of new gameplay features, items, weapons, and systems - not to mention the stunning new environments you’ll be playing in
At this stage in development - pre beta - it was huge credit to the team and QA department that the builds held up admirably, and under such close scrutiny. Well done everyone!
Aside from the game’s first previews and gameplay footage later this week - we’ll soon be launching our next developer video diary entitled “Anatomy of the X-Ray Kill cam” with some great interviews with Tim our Head of Creative, Chris, Head of Art, and Nick, Lead Audio Designer about what goes into the kill cam, what’s new for Sniper Elite 3, and most importantly why it’s such an important part of the series identity.
We can’t wait to show you more and we hope you enjoy your first look at Sniper Elite 3 this week.
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Stay hidden everyone!