Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond Director: VR "Totally Changes the Experience"

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond Director: VR "Totally Changes the Experience"

Written by on | OpenCritic

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond will be the first virtual reality game in the storied franchise's history, and the team at Respawn Entertainment has dived deep into how it's all come together.

The game casts players in the role of an agent in the Office of Strategic Services, stationed in Europe for a blend of action and stealth longtime series fans will remember from the old days of Medal of Honor. The game will include a single-player story, new multiplayer modes, and even a feature documentary watchable within the game. 

“It always starts with the controller,” said the game's director Peter Hirschmann. “Your motion is so integrated to the experience, you have to build around that.” In a blog post for the game, Hirschmann celebrates no longer needing to optimize controls on a gamepad or keyboard. With Above and Beyond, the player is the controller, of course. "With the [Oculus] Rift, you lean by leaning, duck by ducking… the intuitiveness, the accessibility, makes it as authentic an experience as you could possibly imagine,” he said. There’s no “reload” button in Above and Beyond, you actually have to go through the physical motions of reloading. “It adds such a new level of tactical decision making that totally changes the experience.”

With VR comes a new level of immersion, so Respawn said they wanted to fill the world with more life to really let the player soak it all in. "We recorded thousands of lines in German of soldiers talking about life on the front, the quality of the food… we built out as much of a breathing world as possible,” said Hirschmann.

The project may feel like a departure for Respawn, who has spent the last few years launching celebrated games such as Titanfall 2, Apex Legends, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Virtual reality can often feel like a side project, or something for less heralded studios to try out, but one can reasonably assume that EA could think of no one better to revive Medal of Honor than their shooter, and now simply gameplay, experts.

The game will allow for the sort of tactile interactions VR players adore, such as playing a piano, riding in vehicles, and smashing busts of historical figures over the heads of unwitting nazis. You know. Wholesome stuff.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond remains tentatively slated for a December 2020 launch, though that deadline is fast approaching and a delay could be in the pipeline.  

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