From the transcript of the Devstream.
Our idea was that you were going to be interacting with artificial intelligence, so you had your squad which could be AI soldiers, which could be enemy soldiers, NPCs, etc. Yeah we really went overboard because we were bringing in synthetic speech, we were bringing in speech recognition, so there was a surprisingly sophisticated interaction with the artificial intelligences. We actually wanted to try to make it that you couldn't tell if you were interacting with a human or an artificial intelligence you know, so kind of like what you see with the bots these days, but but even more sophisticated. And remember this is back in 1996 and 1997, and the reason that the stuff sounds so advanced is because the industry went in a less sophisticated direction.
Again not a criticism. That was the right thing to do. People have sold literally billions of dollars of games that are based on the pseudo railroad. I mean it's not actually a rail shooter - a true rail shooter would be something like the original Rebel Assault where you're literally on a rail and you can sort of swing back and forth a little bit, but from a design perspective, it's still the same function, it's still the same thing, in order to experience the story, in order to experience the the gameplay, you have to go through in a general order generally the same way.
It was interesting to see how effective that was in the early Call of Duty games before Call of Duty turned into being primarily a multiplayer game. The original missions did a very good job of giving you a pseudo-military experience, but of course it was all heavily scripted. You had to do things in exactly the right order, you knew exactly what was coming at you eventually; in some ways it was very similar to the old arcade games. In that MMOs have opened things up, you know, the FPS MMO; no one has really truly managed to design the proper one, the ultimate one, but there have been numerous attempts. Even Richard Garriot was unable to deliver on on that idea with Tabula Rasa.
But the interesting thing to me about Fortnite, and the reason why I consider Fortnite to be essentially the game designers more or less giving up, is because what we have been doing as FPS designers from the very beginning is attempting to provide meaning and structure and story and experience to the action, and unfortunately we've been fighting the tendency of a certain group of
players - who I am not at all convinced are the majority of players, but there are a lot of them - and they have a tendency to simply run around like chickens with their heads cut off. If you've played any online game starting back in the days of Doom and Heretic - yeah when we were playing with 4-player and 8-player networks - what you would see is some people would play strategically, some people would camp, other people would would team up and move cooperatively, but you always had the people who just run around like crazy, blasting away like crazy, and basically behaving in a way
that you can't even possibly consider anything that is remotely approaching anything credible or realistic.
And so, with Fortnite, and I have played it, and it's a very good example of what it is the Battle Royale genre and so forth, but ultimately there is no purpose, there is no story, the action is the experience. Now that's ok, that's fine if that's if that's what you want, but you see, for years designers have been trying to hide that, they've been trying to keep that under control, and what Fortnite represents - and it's obviously not the first Battle Royale game, it's not the only one, but it is the most successful, the most symbolic of the concept - it's basically the designers throwing up their hands and saying, "you know what, you guys just want to run around like chickens with your heads cut off slaughtering each other, here you go!" And to their credit, they give you the means to do that, so that's what's different between that and Call of Duty and Battlefield and all these other FPS games. Almost all the other games were trying to limit that, they're trying to limit it through the level designs they're trying to limit it through the ammo drops, and all that sort of thing.