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GZ Interview: On the Battlefield with Mercenary Wars' Michael Min; Exclusive Screens Inside

On the Battlefield with Mercenary Wars' Michael Min; Exclusive Screens Inside
By Louis Bedigian

“Mercenary Wars is set in the very near future, and all of the current weapons are based around real guns. We will be releasing weapons with unique skins and modifications along the line, but they will all be very realistic and believable.”

Free-to-play video games are all the rage these days, but none of them have been able to make a significant impact with gamers expecting a 60-dollar shooter experience. Could that change with Mercenary Wars, a new free-to-play shooter from Uforia? Time will tell. But as the developers continue to make refinements to the game, which is currently in open beta, they are dedicated to expanding Mercenary Wars as much as possible.

"Mercenary Wars is set in the very near future, and all of the current weapons are based around real guns," said Creative Director Michael Min. "We will be releasing weapons with unique skins and modifications along the line, but they will all be very realistic and believable. There are currently 19 guns available, and we are working night and day to develop many more!"

An exclusive look at Mercenary Wars.

As we're all aware, there are a lot of first-person shooters out there. Mercenary Wars hopes to differentiate itself with features like an artificial intelligence system that's being called "innovative." Talk about this … what about it makes it innovative? We know the basics from the fact sheet ("Computer controlled 'bots' can be used in several ways ranging from practice to enhancing game play"). Was that fact sheet statement actually referring to the AI, or something else?

Michael Min: You are correct, the “Bots” and “AI” are one in the same, and Mercenary Wars is one of the few free-to-play FPS games to offer them. We are currently developing a new system that integrates them in a large “Faction” war, but that system has not been implemented yet, unfortunately.

Equipment and clothing items are also being offered – what can you tell us about them? How varied are the clothes, and how many enhancements can be made with the equipment?

MM: Most of the current equipment and clothing are military-based, although we will be adding more “fun” items in the future. The armor that you see during the Open Beta will only affect how much damage you can take, but we will be adding stats and enhancements to those in the near future.

We are also working on creating an Upgrade System. You will be able to upgrade everything on your gun such as the magazine clip, stocks, scopes, silencers, etc.

Talk about the audio communications tool.

MM: Ah, that is basically built-in microphone support so you can chat with your teammates. I believe we are the only free-to-play FPS game to offer built-in support.

Mercenary Wars is a shooter that you plan to upgrade, or at least enhance, with new modes of play every couple months. Tell us about one of the modes you plan to add.

MM: We’re currently working on a Capture the Flag mode, along with a few other fun modes that I unfortunately cannot share yet.

Since Mercenary Wars is a free-to-play shooter, will the new modes be released for free as well? Or are the upgrades a part of how you plan to make money?

MM: All the new modes, maps, and updates will be free to everyone. Our model centers on selling items such as guns with special skins, clothing, character models…basically things to allow the player to customize the look of their character. There will be slight stat upgrades in the cash items, but nothing that will break the balance in the game. That aspect is so important to first person shooters.

What are the different character types/races?

MM: Although you will only get to experience a few of the characters during the open beta, we are already working on more than 10 characters, and while I can’t get into too many details, they are a diverse bunch to say the least.

The ranking system features 50+ different ranks. How will this play into the multiplayer aspect of the game? Do you get anything special (other than bragging rights) for achieving certain ranks?

MM: Your ranking determines what equipment you are able to purchase and use. As you rise in rank, you will unlock new weapons and armor. All the rankings and stats are tracked via our Website, so they make for good bragging rights as well.

Mercenary Wars is being hyped with a unique stat system that can be used to upgrade and customize your character. That might be different for an FPS, but aren't stats and upgrades pretty common in most games these days? What's different about the way Mercenary Wars uses them?

MM: Mercenary Wars features multiple characters, with each one being customizable to suit a different play style. You can make one a run and gunner specializing in SMGs, another is a sniper specialist, and you can switch between them during rounds. So there is strategy involved in not only in creating the characters and equipping them, but choosing the right character for the right environment as well.

It's hard to say for sure, but thus far the environments appear to be pretty standard: lots of buildings, indoor and outdoor exploration, many corners to peek over, etc. What more can we expect from them?

MM: Yes, the current maps are all pretty standard environmentally-speaking. We tried to focus more on solid map design more than anything else. One thing they do feature is dynamic lighting, so you can do things like shoot out lights in rooms, and wait for your enemies in the dark. You will see some different types of maps and locales as we release new modes though.

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