Greg Goodrich looks tired. We expect he's tired because he's flown 5500 miles to sit in a room answering questions about Medal of Honor, on which he's executive producer. His weariness is probably more acute though because those questions aren't really about his game - a cleverly scripted and interesting FPS that looks smart and inventive - so much as they are about the ground beneath its feet. Everyone wants to talk about Afghanistan. Just ask Liam Fox.
We did our best to mix it up, but we also wanted to know why the game is set there, how Goodrich feels about accusations that the decision to use the setting was irresponsible or callous, and what Steven Spielberg - founder EP on the series, lest we forget - might think of it all.
Eurogamer: What was it that originally attracted you to the Tier One Operators?
Greg Goodrich: I think we all have a certain stereotypical view of what a special operations soldier is. When we were first introduced to these guys, clearly they're genetically different, clearly they're good at what they do, and there's a certain presence about them when they walk into a room, which is fascinating. These guys are the quiet professional - they'd just as soon have us leave them alone - but I think that once we got to understand who they were, their mindset was the most interesting and compelling part about them.
Once we got a sense of what that was like and what drives them, that instinctive kind of unconscious competence that makes them who they are, we tried to focus on that and get players in that same sort of mindset. As I've said a few times now, these are the kind of guys who, when the world has gone to s***, their first thought is, "I can fix it. Send me, I'll fix it."
Eurogamer: How do you maintain that balance between that sense of confidence - that "Hua!" attitude - and the authenticity and respect you're trying to embody?
Greg Goodrich: I think it changes. You start to experience things with them and peel back the layers of these individuals, and then you see how the focus changes between what they thought they were going to do, to oh my goodness, our goal now is completely different. Hopefully the gamer will see that change and understand that journey and live that along with these guys, and again, all while remembering that these guys have families and other things going on.
That's all a part of the authenticity and respect and reverence for the material that Medal of Honor has always had. It's never been about politics or why the guys were there or the enemy or the war, it's just about a group of guys and what they're going for.
Eurogamer: On that note, there's been some controversy about your setting in the UK. Why this conflict? Surely the Tier Ones operate all over the world?
Greg Goodrich: The story that we wanted to tell was about these guys in this initial fight, and the individuals that we hooked up with happened to be doing it there, so that was the story we wanted to tell. It's an historical fiction inspired by these guys in an historical event, like Saving Private Ryan.