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AAO HomeLAN Interview

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HomeLAN - First, how do you feel about the success of America s Army as a whole?



Phillip Bossant - It feels great to be part of an idea that exceeds expectations and developed into a dynamic project that has reached millions of people and continues to do so. The project has great potential, which lends itself well to a high quality immersive virtual experience. We are thrilled that it has a legitimate and strong following in the game industry while serving the Army at the same time.



HomeLAN - America's Army was launched before the US started the war on terrorism. How does the development team and the US Army feel about making sure the game works well both as a recruiting tool and as a way to prepare recruits to fight such a foe?



Phillip Bossant - The America’s Army public release game was certainly designed to give people a better understanding of the U.S. Army and a flavor of what the experience of joining the world’s premier fighting force would be like. I think it goes a long way in communicating Army values by exposing players to experiences that increase their awareness of what the U.S. Army is about. The Public Applications version will have done its job if not only awareness is increased but a faithful experience is conveyed to the player and in some cases a direct depiction of training and physical location. The project has really only just begun and evidence of some of its potential is now in development by the America’s Army: Government and Future Applications teams. These teams are responsible for making applications of America’s Army to improve training and simulations for the government.



HomeLAN - Recently, a deal was announced with Ubi Soft to launch a version of America s Army for consoles. What can you tell us about this version of the game at this time?



Phillip Bossant - That would be best answered by Ubisoft.



HomeLAN - Will the US Army ever release any mod tools for America's Army at some point?



Phillip Bossant - This is something under consideration at the present and we all feel that this would be a positive development. There are many details to work out before such a thing could take place but we are exploring this possibility.



HomeLAN - Will the PC version of the game ever have a strong single player component?



Phillip Bossant - We are seriously interested in making a single player and cooperative mode part of the America’s Army game. We have always felt that this would be a very natural and desirable addition to the game. They would certainly lend themselves well to communicating Army Values and provide players with a greater variation of game play objectives and styles. First we would have to implement a decent AI system of course but we are exploring this and would like to see these playing modes in future iterations of the game. The Overmatch release will feature our first advances in this area.



HomeLAN - How hard is it for the game's development team to keep up with new items in the US Army for use in the game?



Phillip Bossant - It’s not that hard given that changes seem to come slowly enough despite the fact that new items are always under development. We certainly look at new advances and prototypes to consider the impact as well as the desirability to the current game. This is an ongoing project, however, with numerous iterations which will take on new forms as well, so I see a lot of room to explore using many of the newest designs and developments.



HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the next major release of the game, Overmatch?



Phillip Bossant - Overmatch marks a growth in the America’s Army Team. The addition of Government Apps and Future Apps to the Public Applications team increases our capacity to develop multiple projects concurrently while cross migrating achievements from each of the teams. Overmatch will be the first release to take advantage of this relationship and will feature new developments such as new vehicle based missions and weaponry. This should prove to be a new and exciting dimension to the game. In Overmatch players will be able to explore first hand the combat overmatch capabilities of Special Forces Soldiers in which a handful of U.S. Special Forces Soldiers can engage and defeat enemy forces of greatly superior numbers. Overmatch will also include cooperative mode against AI.



HomeLAN - Will the game continue to use Epic's Unreal engine for future versions of the game?



Phillip Bossant - Yes, definitely. We have already licensed the UE 3 engine and are in development on different versions of the engine at the moment. Future releases of our game will try to take full advantage of the advances with the engine so we expect to take a great game and make it even better!



HomeLAN - What can you tell us about the new America's Army Government Applications team in North Carolina?



Phillip Bossant - We have two new additions to the America’s Army Team. The Government Apps team is based in Raleigh, North Carolina close in proximity to Epic Games and the Future Apps Team in Picatinny, New Jersey. Both teams will focus on simulation training and weapon prototypes using the Public Apps game as a core technology and base from which to develop other potential projects that cater to a specific clientele. Again, this also provides the three of our groups with an opportunity to share and cross migrate assets while exploring the potential this game and technology have to offer.



HomeLAN - Finally is there anything else you wish to say about the future of American s Army?



Phillip Bossant - We aspire to continue developing a first rate AAA game worthy of respect from the game industry and the heroes we are trying to represent. We’ve learned a lot since its initial release and intend to bring a richer and deeper look into the some of the groups that make up the U.S. Army. It’s an absolute honor to pay tribute to the many outstanding servicemen who deserve our respect and do so much for us. This game has only begun to achieve its potential and we look forward to bringing more of it to you all! Expect great things from us down the road.

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