FZ: What are the biggest changes since BF1942 with regards to gameplay?
AJ Marini: It's probably the flags. In BF1942, when someone entered the flag zone, the flag became neutral almost immediately. Then it took a certain amount of time for it to be captured by the opposing team. That took away a strategic element. You couldnÂ’t really defend the flag. If you had ten guys defending the flag, and one enemy came into the zone, it was neutralized. What we've done with BF:Vietnam is that we've let the player know how much time it takes to capture the flag. But that time can be affected by the amount of players that are there, so if you go with one person it may take you 30 seconds, if you go with two it may take you 15, with three it may take you 10, and so on. The more men you use to attack the flag, the faster you can capture it.
When it comes to defense, you can have the same effect. If you have one man defending, he cancels one man on the other team. You've really got to have numbers at every flag. So, to take a flag with three guys, you'd have to make sure there's at most two, you know, because if there are two or more, you're not going to capture that flag. So it's really critical that you strategize a bit more, either make sure there's no one there, or that you go in with a concentrated force. That's the biggest thing, I think it will help to keep people together because it reinforces the idea of being together as a team because you can capture the flag faster as a team, and you have a better chance of capturing the flag because you have more guys to help eliminate the enemies.
FZ: Could you tell us a bit more about the new game types, Evolution and Custom?
AJ Marini: One of the things we saw when doing research was that a lot of the battles of Vietnam occurred in the same locations. People kept revisiting locations and doing really interesting things. So that spawned the idea of having maps that were, you know, a bit like two versions of the same map. We have a map of the Ia Drang valley first, and then there's a follow-up map which takes place a couple of days later at the same location. It's a similar thing that it takes place on the same map, but which plays completely different. That spawned the idea of an evolution mode, which is where you play one map as you would in regular Conquest, but at the end of the game, all the points are carried over. So if your team wins with say 100 to 0, when you start the second map, your team has 100 more "tickets" to start with, and every player retains his points. It's really one round with two maps, and as you see how the map changes, you get a better feel for it. And that's what Evolution is.
Custom combat was a mode that we implemented mainly for clans and die-hard fans. Invariably, youÂ’ll get tired playing the same maps with the same settings. What custom combat does is that it allows for anybody to say "okay, on our server, we are always going to be the Special Forces, and the other team can always be the Vietcong, on every map". Or the other team can be a US force, you can have US versus US. You can also eliminate certain classes, say that "we don't want snipers" - and you could turn the snipers off, or you could say "we want all classes, but we only want them to use their pistols" and turn off everything except pistols. Or knives, we've done that one, everybody just runs around with knives! It's a way of letting people make the game even more fun than it is today, by changing it.
FZ: Can you add more units, say like 10 helicopters?
AJ Marini: You can't increase the default number of things, all you can do is replace. For example, if there is one jet on the runway here, you can replace it with one helicopter. You can't increase the numbers because that's something we balanced out for gameplay and so on. If we allowed that to be changed, someone would just increase it to a hundred helicopters.