Here we are! Just a few weeks away from the release of Raid: World War II. The Lion game Lion crew and I are busy working away on the final elements of the game before we ship!
Some years ago I had a sitdown with my former boss, Bo. I wanted to talk to him about Project Tokyo – a game set during World War II, with the DNA of Payday. He asked: “What the hell is Project Tokyo?”, and I said: “It’s a co-op FPS during World War II. Four guys cause mayhem, kill Nazis, steal their gold, all while being tongue-in-cheek with a dark twist.
We got funded, made the game and it’s soon going to be released! A nerve-wracking time right now for sure.
About that DNA. I know some might compare the two games – Raid and Payday. This is of course fair to do. Having worked on Payday: The Heist and Payday 2 as the lead level designer, I know how to make a good co-op heist game. But the DNA is only the foundation. I’d state that even though the DNA is the same, we’ve changed the heart, blood and brain. There’s huge things as well as smaller details that separate the two games. This isn’t just Payday 2 during WWII. It’s Raid. What we did was that we looked at Payday and saw what features worked. But also which ones we lacked. So we added stuff like a “War Cry” feature and Challenge Cards that’ll make the gameplay more dynamic.
We also wanted to give the players a real “home” to come back to, so we made a Camp for the player that’ll expand and update as you complete Raids. Finally, we have what we call Operations — these create a more story-driven game flow where you raid but with lore on top. These will help us create a nice place to continue the narrative.
I am a WW2 buff, and so is my brother Niki and our writer Tid. So after we got funded, we started shaping the game together to what we felt we missed in WWII-themed games. We didn’t want to focus on big battles. Many other games seem to look at Saving Private Ryan type movies as inspiration, but both Tid and I prefer movies like Kelly’s Heroes. More focus on the smaller teams with relatable characters and stories that you can go deeper into. Stories that can expand on not often gamified stories of World War II. Like greed, for example! Greed was a thing during WWII! So the question of who is good and who is bad became important for me and the rest of the team. Of course, it’s understood that Nazis are bad. But when it came to the story we wanted to tell, and our four main characters, we wanted it to be about a group of not-quite clean-cut traditional square-jawed commandos fighting the good fight. Sure, these guys are trying to take down the Nazis, but that won’t stop them from pursuing personal gain either.
Another aspect that differs from Payday is the fact that Raid is set in a much more analog world — I wanted to work with this a lot. Raid has elements like lockpicking, bombs and dynamite might not always go off exactly when they’re supposed to, and not everything goes according to plan, so this goes for raids in-game too. You’ll have to ad-lib and make use of what you got, and there’s not a guy telling you what to do through your earpiece.
Finally, I’d like to mention the history part of Raid. Tid is a real WWII nerd. What he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. But our goal is to entertain, not to educate. We wanted to provide players with the full WWII experience where you get access to mindblowing weapons, how they were modded, and vehicles created during the era. As we said in the office: we’ve done the research, now we’re twisting it to create the fantasy.
Basically, Raid is the game I wanted to create and play myself. It’s Kelly’s Heroes! It’s about that interesting moral grey area and it stems from a game that was a success due to amazing gameplay.
In just a few weeks everyone can play it. Some might love it, others might hate it. The main thing I’d like is for you to have fun while playing it. Let’s find out.