MI6 chatted to Jon-Paul Dumont, Lead Multiplayer Designer on "From Russia With Love", about going retro with James Bond...

Jon-Paul Dumont Interview (1)
14th August 2005

The co-op mode in EoN was well-received by fans. What was the reasoning behind the decision to not include one in FRWL?
We’re all huge fans of Co-op modes and really enjoyed EoN’s version. That said, there are a couple reasons that it didn’t make a return appearance. First, Bond is known for working alone, except in extreme circumstances, so we can’t just add a second character to the main game and create instant co-op, like many other games. This means, for a Bond game to have co-op, it needs to be a unique story and experience with new characters, which doesn’t make sense for a classic film like From Russia With Love. Second, we really wanted to get back to the classic deathmatch romp that the franchise is known for.

Above: 4 way split screen

Everything or Nothing received criticism due to its lack of focus on arena multiplayer. How have you gone about getting the balance right this time around?
Arena mode in EoN was meant to be a small bonus for players who unlocked it. The fact that it aroused such strong feelings and expectations showed us that we needed to put some time into figuring out third-person deathmatch.

We’re concentrating solely on the player vs. player game this time around, so I guess you could say the balance has shifted completely away from co-op.

How customisable are the multiplayer modes? Will players be able to tweak any game type or map settings to suit their gameplay style?
Yes, players have lots of options for each gametype. You can change the weapon set you play with, change how the radar works, etc.

Traditionally Bond games are respected for their first person multiplayer – What are the advantages and disadvantages of multiplayer in the third person?
We knew at the beginning of the project that making a third person, auto-lock deathmatch was going to be a huge challenge. There really are not many examples of this out there, so the chance to innovate was really exciting. The biggest issue we had to tackle was how to preserve the sense of skill that FPS games have and to keep the game from devolving into a “first one to get auto-lock wins” situation. Our solution for both of these problems was to shift the skill test from action to reaction. When a player is targeted, they get a big cursor on their character. If they perform a dive roll, or duck behind cover, they break that target lock. The game tests how quickly can you react to another player’s aggression. It also creates a real sense of panic and surprise when you get targeted. The best players in our sessions are the ones that know how and when to break a lock and how to use the environment to their advantage.

We also wanted it to be instinctive for players to know who is shooting them and from where. So we created a radar system inspired by flight simulators. Each player has a color-coded icon on the edge of the screen that shows you where to turn to find them. The icon color matches the color of the target lock indicator you get. So if you are targeted by the blue player, you just have to spot the blue icon on the radar, and turn towards that character. It gives you a chance to react to things like getting shot in the back, that otherwise would not be very fun.

Everyone is shown on the radar, so finding players is intuitive. For the stealth-minded players, crouching and standing in wall cover will hide your radar icon, so there is a strategy to when you reveal yourself.


Above: 4 way split screen

"We do have the ability to RPG your character during the Survival Royale mode..."

And last, we found that third person actually helps make the splitscreen viewport feel larger. I know when I play FPS splitscreen games, I always feel like I have no peripheral vision. Once we started playing From Russia With Love, it became apparent that the third person angle lets you see more of the level and the characters and the viewports didn’t feel small at all.

Above: Rosa Klebb and Red Grant


What was your first ever Bond experience?
I grew up watching Bond marathons on television. It’s hard not to get hooked on how cool Bond is, especially when you are a young kid.

Can we expect multiplayer characters from the movie and other movies in the Connery era? Will there be any incentive to unlock characters through the single player campaign?
The game will start with eight characters available to play. Some are villains from the movie, such as Red Grant and Morezny, some are classic villains like Dr. No and we are excited to debut three completely original Bond Girls that are playable only in multiplayer.

Keep your eyes peeled for the official list, which we haven’t released yet. As you play the game you will be able to purchase and unlock up to 19 more characters that make appearances in the single player game.

What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
You would think it would be a big, explosive moment or a slow, sexy moment, but my favourite is a small moment in “From Russia With Love”. When Red Grant orders Red Wine on the train, tipping Bond off, it shows that sophistication is just as helpful as a good aim. That’s still my favourite part of all the movies, just beating out the fake alligator from Octopussy.

Which is your favourite Bond game?
Everything or Nothing is my favourite game, and it’s not just because I’ve joined the team that made it. I liked being in third person and I loved the auto lock targeting, because it allowed me to concentrate more on being “Bond” than on aiming my gun. But From Russia With Love should surpass it soon!.

Player customisation is something that has been highlighted in the single player – did you consider any such feature for multiplayer?
We tossed around a lot of ideas for how to let players customize their characters and in the end decided it was too much fun to play as classic villains. We do have the ability to RPG your character during the Survival Royale mode. In this game mode players can set up a kind of tournament that lets them play up to 16 games in a row, competing to win the most games. In between rounds, players can upgrade their characters by purchasing new abilities, such as always having a Shotgun, unlimited ammo, better aim, or regenerating armor.

Related Articles
"From Russia With Love" Game Coverage
"From Russia With Love" Movie Coverage

Many thanks to Jon-Paul Dumont and EA.