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Submitted by Derek dela Fuente on October 27 2005 - 12:06

TVG takes a trip back to the 60's to chat with the team behind Sean Connery's return as 007...

As soon as you hear the name From Russia With Love you see an image of Sean Connery in tuxedo and dickey bow, and you imagine hearing his dulcet tones sayingâ?¦. Bond, James Bondâ?¦ Surely it was not 1963 when the film was first released and that Sir Sean Connery is 75 years young. EA hope to make their very own classic game based on the epic film as Derek dela Fuente found out when he spoke to Sam Player, Senior Producer, on the game!

To many the choice for an old Bond adaptation seems a little strange. Can you tell us some of the reasons behind the decision and what does Sean Connery bring to the game?

We prefer to think of â??From Russia With Loveâ? as a â??classicâ? Bond story rather than an â??oldâ? one. The film contains all the staples of the film series -- exotic locales, beautiful women, and thrilling action scenes â?“ and each translates quite naturally to the video game domain. Weâ??re confident that fans of the film will appreciate our faithful adaptation for the game, and gamers who havenâ??t seen the film will find that it stands well on its own as a great game.

With Sean Connery, internally weâ??ve always toyed with the idea of bringing him back to reprise his role as 007, but never really considered it possible until it actually happened. When we tested how he was viewed as Bond by the younger generation of Bond fans, most of whom werenâ??t alive when he was starring in the role, we were pleasantly surprised to find how popular he truly was. Regardless of the demographic, all were extremely excited to hear Connery was to appear in a video game. Our research proved what we had already suspected: that Connery is truly a â??timelessâ? Bond.

"The entire hand-to-hand combat system was designed specifically with Conneryâ??s fighting style in mind."

What elements of the film have been chosen as the main spotlight for the events within the game and how were they selected? Have you extended or embellished the story and perhaps you could also highlight the basic plotline behind From Russia With Love?

Weâ??ve gone to great lengths to ensure that the environments, characters and storyline of the film were preserved and retold as accurately as possible. The film is a rich story that truly deserved to be told in its entirety. Danjaq and MGM, the producer and publisher of the film, were extremely helpful in directing us to the best reference material, production insights, and other cues to make sure we got it exactly right.

To extend the gameplay, we designed several additional environments that certainly look as if theyâ??d fit right in to the original film. The gameplay is certainly inspired by the film, and also we add some new twists in there as well that are sure to please.

What notable trails, skills and persona come across with Connery that you feel might not have been so apparent with the likes of Brosman?

Conneryâ??s Bond was certainly an imposing physical presence. He never shied away from physical contact with any foe, so we studied his physical attacks extensively when designing his character and planning what mechanics he would utilize. The entire hand-to-hand combat system was designed specifically with Conneryâ??s fighting style in mind. Youâ??ll notice the difference from previous Bond titles immediately.

Being such a classic film from the 60s, in terms of design have the team used the film solely as their reference guide or have you worked with Sean Connery; conversely how do you ensure that because of the period that the game comes across as fresh and current?

Both, actually. Iâ??ve mentioned our work with the film, and Connery was a great source of insight for why certain scenes were filmed the way they were. While the period and the look may be â??retroâ?, the gameplay is anything but. The weapons and shooting mechanics are on a par with any shooter out there. Itâ??s a 21st century action game in a mid-20th century environment.

Previous Bond games have had a number of highs and lows but we are told that EA is cutting no corners to ensure this is one of the best Bond games to date. Looking back over the previous Bond games, where possibly things have gone wrong, what do you see as the one big innovation of this title?

â??From Russia With Loveâ? has taken several large steps beyond its predecessors, so I can mention two.

First is our new inventory system. For the first time, weâ??ve allowed Bond to maintain a persistent inventory across levels, and each weapon or gadget can also be upgraded in several categories of performance, based on the playerâ??s accomplishments playing the game. It combines classic elements of the best RPGs with our already action-themed title.

The second thing to note is how each level has several different modes of gameplay built into it. As an example, our Factory level begins with Bond in a jetpack, and then proceeds to a stealth on-foot section. This is followed by a melee-style boss shootout, culminating with a timed driving section where Bond must commandeered a vehicle, destroy numerous hazards, and escape before the whole thing blows up. And this is just one of the 14 huge levels that possess similar integration. No more â??driving levelâ?”loadâ?”shooting levelâ?”loadâ?”driving levelâ? type of progression. Itâ??s all combined together in â??From Russia With Love.â?

Although a lot of the game is being kept under wraps can you tell us about one of the vehicle missions and your current favourite moment of the game?

My favourite driving mission is the one I mention above. To escape the factory where youâ??ve planted explosives, you acquire a four-wheel-drive assault vehicle to get yourself to safety before the place blows up. So thereâ??s a timed element to your quest, and youâ??ve got to evade and destroy tons of damage-causing obstacles and make split-second decisions on route on your way out. Itâ??s fairly nerve-wracking, but great fun.

The team has spent a lot of time on the shooting mechanics of the game; please can you elaborate on this for us?

Our newest mechanic that weâ??re unveiling this year in regard to shooting is â??Bond Focusâ?, where you can zoom in on precise locations to target enemies and objects. It acts almost as a sniperâ??s sight thatâ??s available on other types of weapons, so you can zoom in while still moving your character around the world. The action does not stop while you engage it. So thereâ??s definitely a risk, as enemies can still cause you damage while youâ??re in Bond Focus, but there are great rewards to successfully executing a focus shot as well.

How would you best describe the balance of the game in terms of action/stealth/cerebral planning and how open is the game or are you pulled through a single story path?

There is a fairly even balance of stealth/cerebral vs. action style gameplay, and each has its own reward. As a spy, Bond is legendary for the ways he infiltrates enemy territory without being detected, so in the game you are rewarded for doing the same. In essence, we try to reward the player for â??playing like Bondâ?.

Since we wanted to have the player experience the film, we direct the player down a linear path as far as level progression. Within each level, there are definitely alternate orders that a player may attack each objective, but there definitely is a beginning and an end to the game.

What game modes will be on offer and perhaps you could elaborate on the multiplayer aspects?

Multiplayer is 2 to 4 players, with several different modes of play, both of which can be played in individual and team modes.

Of course a Classic Deathmatch mode is available, but in addition, Dogfight mode is deathmatch in Jetpacks - Very Bondian.

Sabotage is geared to be more of a team game in which players search for a bomb on the map, infiltrate the opposing teamâ??s base, and attempt to plant and arm it before it can be defused. Seems simple enough, but when you factor into the game that the bomb is radioactive and damages the carrying playerâ?¦not so easy.

Survival Royale is a multi-round deathmatch mode where players have the option to upgrade their playerâ??s abilities in between each round. No match is ever the same.

TVG would like to thank the appropriately named Sam Player for taking some time to answer our questions; From Russia With Love is scheduled for release on November 18th weâ??ll have a review of the title soonâ?¦

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