Posted on 25 August 2010 by Fahad Majidi

Genuine enthusiasm goes a long way with us. Listening to developers talk endlessly, with barely a pause for breath or to let the width of their smile shorten by an inch, sometimes they can win you over with their own personal excitement for a game. And in the case of Splash Damage’s senior game designer, Edward ‘BongoBoy’ Stem, we soon found ourselves being drawn into the intriguing world of Brink. An earlier demo suggested only a generic first person shooter but hearing Edward’s obvious enthusiasm for what Brink is at least trying to do has endeared us the potential he sees in the game, which promises to finally shatter the divide between single and multiplayer gaming.

“We know that the best- and worst- times that we have had have been with online shooters,” Edward begins when we ask what exactly Brink’s main aim is. “When it all works, it’s fantastic. When it doesn’t work or when you are being screamed at, sniped or headshot all the time, it is very, very tedious. So our goal really definitely was to make it as consistent a thing as possible.” Their solution? Not to bother with differentiating online from offline gameplay.

“At no point do you choose between a single player or a multiplayer game” he explains. “There is no such thing as single or multiplayer.” And so you have got one central story, between two warring factions and it is always 8 vs. 8 battles whether you are playing by yourself alongside and against Al bots, or with up to 15 other gamers online with drop in/ drop out at all times- “within a fame of the game.”

Not only that, but you can play as both sides, effectively offering two campaigns (albeit using the same maps, just in a different order). The story starts the same, with the futuristic setting of the Ark- a floating city designed to offer escape from a dwindling Earth, only to fall into a state of civil unrest and isolation. They are running low on resources; things are starting to wear out, there is rising social tensions and this is why it all kicks off between the resistance and the security,” Edward tells us, “and so you pick a team.”

What’s important to the designers is that each side paints its own picture of the events on the Ark. For example, a security raid on a suspected bio weaponry plant becomes an oppressive invasion and theft of vital medicines from the resistance perspective. “Rather than have evil oppressors and heroic rebels or hero cop and evil, insane terrorists, maybe that’s what they think each other are- it’s more interesting not to be so sure.”

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