Brothers in Arms rallies the troops

Friday 1 September 2006
Few World War II games manage to recreate such a potent feeling of tension and trepidation as Brothers in Arms. Now you can sniff the atmosphere of the third game in the series - the upcoming Hell's Highway - by clicking the movies tab above and joining Gearbox Software president, Randy Pitchford, and chief of staff, John Antal, as they talk their way through a 13 minute demo.

Shown at E3 and the recent Leipzig Game Convention (you can also download it from Xbox Live), the footage shows squad leader Sgt Matt Baker guiding his men through the streets of Eindhoven to locate and destroy two 88mm cannons, while avoiding unnecessary encounters with the Nazi soldiers mooching about the area.

Above: Soldiers' body language reflects what situation they're in

The demo shows off a number of elements about Hell's Highway, such as how it cleverly uses visual indicators to signpost objectives and the importance of choosing the right moment to attack the enemy. During the demo, Pitchford mentions postures that Baker and his squad adopt in certain situations. We met with Pitchford recently and asked him to tell us a bit more about this particular element of the game.

"There are several different postures - stealth, control, combat and relaxed - and these are based on context. I don't have to press a button to do it, the context finds the posture.

"In stealth mode we're down low, we're whispering, we're using hand signals more. In combat we're screaming, we want maximum tactical situational awareness with our team. When we're in relaxed mode, maybe we've got the weapon slung, the helmet off, we're in a command post or headquarters and we don't have to worry about the enemy.

"In patrol mode, we don't know where the enemy is, but there could be enemies around, so we're ready to switch to a combat posture. These postures happen automatically and dynamically based on the situation, I don't have to press a button to make it happen."

Brother's in Arms Hell's Highway is due to hit PC, PS3 (possibly with some tilt-controller elements) and Xbox 360 early next year. From what we've seen so far, we can't wait to take out Jerry with some overwhelming firepower of our own.

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.