FIRETEAM Launches!

this is a special occasion.

the third and final (load test) beta cycle for FireTeam has come to an end. you can now order the game by calling (toll free!) 1-888-689-TEAM. if you like multiplayer games, i urge you to check out FireTeam.

after i left origin, following the death of my beloved strategy game Technosaur, Art Min and Ned Lerner hired me on as lead designer of the game they wanted to make–FireTeam. i moved out to cali and spent the next year working on the game. i learned a lot, had a blast and really came to love the game. at the end of the first FireTeam beta test i moved back home to texas to work with Warren Spector on the rpg, Deus Ex. but FireTeam remains close to my heart and Multitude is a way cool company. (i will go on record, however, as saying that i hated california…)

my favorite thing about the FireTeam project (and Multitude as a company) would have to be the approach to game design there. passion is a word i use a lot and it applies here. the people there, from the testers on up to the execs, are totally into what they do. Art, a friend from System Shock days, just breathes game design. there was nothing like sitting around with those guys and discussing the pros and cons of any given feature, how much fun it might add, how it would affect the community, etc. the atmosphere was one of analysis and academic thoughtfulness, but it was fun too. when i say i learned a lot from working with all those guys, i mean it…Multitude was one of the single best learning experiences i have ever had, including all the myriad game people i’ve worked with. if you want to find a completely committed company full of people who really *love* games, look no further.

when Art actually offered me the job at Multitude, we were ‘standing’ in the Diablo town after a night of playing. i was in austin, he was in cali and we had played with friends in other places (including boston, home of Looking Glass). we were standing in the town, chatting in text (a meaningful conversation that turned into a sort of interview). that’s how integrated Multitude is with the gaming industry.

so FireTeam is the last game i worked on before coming to ION Storm. it’s a game of co-operative squad tactics. there are 3 characters to play. (scout, gunner & commando.) teams form up in the lobby, choosing characters & discussing strategy, then the game begins. each game is 10 minutes long. there are 4 types of games to choose from. (basetag, gunball, team deathmatch and flags.) the game comes with a little headset and microphone (like the marines in Aliens wore) and you can actually talk to your squadmates, over the internet, during the game. unless you have played multiplayer games with voice (like office-to-office speaker-phone Doom a few years ago), you cannot imagine how much energy the voice adds. there is also a strong sense of community–you get to know friends quickly. one of the cool things we did was include lots of functionality in the lobby from other internet chat/community sources. for instance, lots of irc commands work in the lobby. there’s a lot of whispering back and forth. for some reason the game seems to really appeal to both genders, so there is a good mix in the lobby of men & women.

the billing model: you buy the box & never pay again–online time is free and unlimited.

anyway, that’s it for today. oh yeah, you can also get lots of info about FireTeam, including screenshots, from here:

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