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War Is Hell: Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway

Thursday, May 11, 2006, 12:38PM EST

Randy Pitchford, president, Gearbox Software, talks about the WWII genre and the latest squad-based shooter, Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway, which Ubisoft is showcasing for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

What does next-generation technology allow you to bring to this franchise?

I couldn’t get this new capability quickly enough. We dream of perfect re-creations of the actual battlefields of the war. We dream of lifelike virtual soldiers who not only look exactly like their real historical counterparts who we modeled them after, but are able to be believably expressive and emotional. We dream of high-fidelity, high-definition visuals with amazingly complex simulation of all of the hardcore pyrotechnics of WWII weaponry and their destructive capability.

What battles will this game cover?

Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway re-creates the story of A Bridge Too Far--Operation Market Garden. The 101st Airborne was dropped into Holland to secure key bridges and passages along a highway that would provide a shortcut for the British XXX corps to charge straight into Berlin and end the war before Christmas 1944. The Germans had a strategy for total victory: They pounded the highway, the bridges, the hills, and the towns where the paratroopers defended hoping to crush the spine of the operation, surround all of the Allied troops, and kill them bit by bit. Very rapidly, the operation went from being a glorious Allied offensive to a desperate fight for survival as the 101st Airborne struggled to keep Hell’s Highway open for the retreat of all Allied forces from complete destruction by the Nazi machine.&

What kind of action and strategy will be brought to the table this time around?

There are a few exciting things about Baker’s recon squad. First, they go in on gliders that carry jeeps--these guys are mobile now. Second, they can attach a special third team from weapons platoon and use these special teams to kill the enemy or destroy pieces of the environment that the enemy may be hiding behind. This means that in addition to a fire team and an assault team, you will be able to command a Browning .30 caliber machine-gun team, a mortar team, a bazooka team, or even a radio man that can call for artillery or air support.

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