Ik heb een Q&A mogen beleven met Pete Hines, Director of Marketing and PR van Bethesda Softworks over hun parade-paardje Echelon

Echelon is een een futuristische flight-combat, waar je de mogelijkheid hebt met moderne, high-tech, vliegtuigen allerlei missies uit te voeren. Het speelt zich af in de verre toekomst en wel in 2351 en je bent in dienst van een 'elite fighting force'. 

Verder zal het spel zo'n 25 verschillende vliegtuigen tellen die je allemaal mag gaan besturen en er zijn meer dan 100 verschillende vijandige eenheden. 

Natuurlijk zijn het Multiplayer aspect niet vergeten en het wordt dan ook mogelijk om tegen of met elkaar een missie uit te voeren. Ook is er weer een 'good-old' Deathmatch van de partij. 

[bullet]Interview:

[Dick Eimers]

Could you briefly describe to our readers what exactly is Echelon?

[Pete Hines] 

Echelon is a futuristic flight combat game that takes place on the surface of an alien planet. The player starts off as a young pilot in the middle of this very large and very brutal war. Echelon features a variety of different flight models and craft types, so that as the player moves through the two single-player campaigns, they get to fly and experience a lot of craft. Each flight model handles very differently, and each craft type serves a different purpose (bomber, interceptor, etc.). The controls and systems in the game are designed such that players who want a more realistic sim-like game can have lots of contro, while the people who want more action and easier controls can play the game with a few simple commands and automate most of the systems. 

The single-player campaigns are branching and are set up pass/fail, so that you can take a different path through the campaign each time you play it, depending on how well you do in each mission. As you achieve success, you will be rewarded with higher ranks and will have access to different craft and weapons, and enable you to control other craft during missions (eg, tell them where to go, what to do). There are more than 200 different units and structures that you'll come into contact with, for both the Federation (your side) and the Velians (the bad guys). There's a tremendous amount of depth and detail that has gone into all of the different land, sea, and air units in the game, both in the gameplay balance as well as graphically.

[Dick Eimers]

What is the design philosophy behind this game? 

[Pete Hines] 

There are two major philosophies behind Echelon. First, we wanted to provide a single-player experience that was involved and constantly changing, so that you can play the game more than once and not have it be the same thing over and over. Between the variety in craft types, flight models, and mission objectives, you definitely won't get the feeling that you've "been there, done that." In addition, we wanted a multiplayer experience that was compelling and offered great teamplay. The multiplayer is based on games like Tribes, where different players have different abilities and must work together to be truly successful. Multiplayer will support up to 16 player and there will be a variety of game modes, including Deathmatch, Capture the Fort, etc.

[Dick Eimers]

Was the development of Echelon inspired by any other game?

[Pete Hines] 

Echelon is a mix of several different game types. I already mentioned the influence of Tribes. There are definitely some elements on Wing Commander as well, particularly with the branching, pass/fail campaigns and the ability to rise in rank, etc. It also has some elements of MechWarrior and Comanche as well. A number of the guys working on Echelon did work on Microsoft Fighter Ace, so they have a good understanding of what it takes to make good flight game and how to make multiplayer fun. We think Buka and Madia have done an excellent job with Echelon.

[Dick Eimers]

Are you planning on making a demo for Echelon?, release date?

[Pete Hines] 

We're looking at doing a demo of Echelon. When and if it would be released is pure speculation at this point.

[Dick Eimers]

In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add about Echelon for our readers? 

[Pete Hines] 

While Bethesda Softworks is going to be publishing Echelon in North America, a publisher has not yet been announced for Europe. Buka Entertainment has the rights to the game there, so they'll be making a decision and an announcement about that sometime soon. Also, We've recently launched the official site for Echelon at www.echelon.bethsoft.com. You can find our more about the game and view 3D models for some of the craft in the game. We'll be adding elements on a regular basis, and there's also a Forum where people can come and learn more about Echelon and share ideas for the game. We hope to see everyone there. 

[bullet]Meer informatie: Developers Homepage: Buka Entertainment Publishers Homepage: Bethesda Softworks Official Homepage: Echelon

( Official Homepage: momenteel nog down, maar zeer binnenkort beschikbaar )