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Squad Leader Producer Andy Mazurek
by Jim Cobb
Cobb: By now, we all know that Squad Leader (SL) won’t be a computer port of the board game series. Instead, the game will be more like X-Com or Soldiers at War. Could you explain what parts from the board series will be incorporated. What will be new?
Mazurek: Well you are correct in saying that the computer game of Squad Leader is not a direct port of the board game that we have all come to love. We have tried to take many of the ideas and concepts behind the board game Squad Leader and infuse them into the computer game but the games are distinctly different. I can’t say that we took everything from page 4, the first 3 paragraphs of page 7 and section 11.2 but not the 3rd sentence but I can say that the spirit of Squad Leader lives in the computer game. What we do have are various combat vehicles, different troop types, varying degrees of troop experience, opportunity fire, hand to hand combat, multilevel building fights, house to house fighting, on board and off board mortar/artillery support, snipers, leaders, medics…
We do have a detailed morale system including a suppression system is fantastic. Random Games really outdid themselves. When soldiers are shot at, they will hit the dirt. If they are continually shot at and sustain casualties they eventually may break and route from combat, go berserk or even go heroic.
Probably the biggest new feature is the addition of the emotional element to the game genre. In the computer game Squad Leader we have over 300 soldiers and each soldier has his own unique personality with his own wants and needs. The player will need to balance the soldier's physical and emotional strengths and weaknesses before, during and after each mission. We have a feature in the game that we call Letters from home. The letters from home represent a life-altering event for the soldier. It could be a letter informing him of his parents' death or a letter telling the soldier that he is about to be a father. The letter will trigger different emotions in the soldier and once the soldier gets into the combat environment, he may react differently then before. The soldier may blame the enemy for his parents' death and go berserk or he may just sit there and do nothing. In any event, the player will need to watch the soldier more carefully.
In Squad Leader, we allow our soldiers to gain experience and get better as they fight. The more fights the soldier experiences the better he becomes. He becomes a better shot. He can move faster, his reflexes are quicker, He is a little stronger. Basically he can do more things and do them better then before. This is not a new idea or concept but it is a very important one to Squad Leader.
Cobb: What will the attributes of the individual soldiers be:
Mazurek: In Squad Leader we have 6 main attributes for the soldiers. All of the soldier’s attributes can increase with experience as the game progresses.
Action Points: Represent how fast and efficient the soldier is in his actions. The higher the number of Action Points that the soldier has the more things the soldier can do during a turn.
Marksmanship: Represents how well the soldier can fire a weapon and hit a target.
Morale: Is a measure of how much combat action and danger a soldier can face before his self preservation instincts kick in and he runs away.
Initiative: Is how quick the soldier can react to danger. A soldier with a low initiative value is less likely to react to a surprising event. A soldier with a high initiative value can rapidly recover from the shock and surprise of any situation. Initiative is used during opportunity fire to determine if the soldier can get off a shot before the enemy.
Strength: Is a measure of how much gear the soldier can carry into combat. A soldier with a low strength value can not carry as much equipment as a soldier with a high strength value can. Strength also helps in determining how far grenades and satchel charges can be thrown.
Leadership: This rating represents how well the soldier can see the big picture, issue orders, command troops and rally the troops under his control. A soldier with a low leadership value is less likely to rally pinned and routed soldiers than a soldier with a higher leadership value.
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