Tribes Goes Gold; SWAT Cover Story in Computer Games

24 September 2004: This Week at Irrational with Meredith Levine

Tribes Goes Gold; SWAT Cover Story in Computer Games

Ok, First of all, Tribes went Gold this week! We are very proud of this game and can't wait to get it out to the fans. Congratulations to the team!

Now, back to the scheduled update on SWAT:

Generally at this late stage of game development, there is not too much to report. SWAT isn't out yet, but it's getting there.

What I do have to report is an excellent 8-page cover story on SWAT in the November issue of Computer Games magazine. Editor Steve Bauman gives a history of the game, which he aptly describes as "checkered" given the delays and cancellations that occurred before Vivendi came to Irrational. Steve does his homework and follows the game from its inception as Police Quest through its evolution to the current game. He describes how Irrational took choice elements from the previous SWAT games, including the cancelled Urban Justice, and added their own touches.

One thing that was very important to the development team was to make the game more accessible than previous versions without sacrificing depth. To accomplish this, Irrational included an extensive training mission and a new, more intuitive interface, which Steve describes in detail. Fans of the old interface shouldn't panic: it's still an option in the new game.

Steve concludes that SWAT 4 is "more like SWAT 3 than Urban Justice, and it looks better. Way Better." He describes the in-game environments as "obsessively detailed" and "uniformly dirty and depressing". (Kind of like the art pit at Irrational!) In real life these adjectives wouldn't be complimentary to the look of a game, but the aesthetic of SWAT 4 is inspired by films like Seven and Twelve Monkeys... a decaying world, overrun by chaos. And that's SWAT's mission, bringing order to chaos. Steve also lauds the replayability of the missions, noting that you will always find something new and unexpected.

So, pick up Computer Games this month and read about SWAT. The article includes pages of screen shots, inside info from Ken Levine, programmer Chris Kline, designer Paul Hellquist, and lots of extensively researched opinion and game history from Steve.

--- Meredith Levine