The hero slinks silently into a heavily guarded base. He is alone. He is heavily armed. He is not Sam Fisher.
“Aw, f*ck,” the hero exclaims as he’s hit with a bullet. And now the guards are alert and they’ve called in the special forces. They charge around corners and rappel through skylights, spraying the air with bullets from their AK-47s and screaming “Die Capitalist pig!”
Dick takes one look around and dives for cover. “Jesus f*cking Christ,” he says.
The hero is legendary US Navy SEAL Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko, former commander of SEAL Team 2 and the founder of both the Navy’s elite counter-terrorism squad, SEAL Team 6 and the legendary “Red Cell” counter-terrorism unit. Marcinko served two tours of duty in Vietnam, was present for many covert events his country can’t talk about and published a fictionalized version of his memoirs in the form of the best-selling Rogue Warrior series of novels. Dick swears like a sailor on a bad day, wears his hair in a pony tail and knows of more ways to kill a man than you even want to hear about. And now he has his own game, Rebellion’s Rogue Warrior.
As the shooting intensifies, the music swells. It’s a combination of every score from every bad action movie from the 80s you can remember. Dick, as played by Senior Producer Aaron Guy, takes cover, slinks silently around a cargo container and catches one of his enemies unaware. He initiates a kill move, rushing the guard and shoving him bodily over a railing and down a 100 foot drop. As the man falls he let’s out a distinctly “Wilhelm-esque” death scream.
“We were not happy with the direction of where that project was three years ago,” says Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing at Bethesda Softworks, publisher of Rogue Warrior. He’s referring to the game’s false start several years ago, when the company showed it to a handful of journalists and then listened to the crickets chirp.
Today in London, as Rogue Warrior Take Two is unveiled before a crowd of over 80 journalists form around the world, there are no crickets chirping. There’s lots of cheering though, and laughter and a few Oohs and Ahhs.
Dick Marcinko is a “really interesting character,” according to Hines, who’s met the man. “[with Rogue Warrior] we wanted to capture his personality.”
First step: Hire Mickey Rourke to do the voice acting.
“If you ask anybody to go into the jungle and kill a bunch of people, you’d pick Dick Marcincko,” says Hines. “If you want a guy to play a guy who goes into the jungle to kill a bunch of people, you get Mickey Rourke.”
“April fool, motherf*cker,” Dick says in Mickey Rourke’s trademark barfly voice as he sneaks up on another unsuspecting enemy and casually slits his throat, as easily as you’d open a letter.
For Rogue Warrior, the team at Rebellion spent years consulting with Marcinko the man to learn “his methods, his techniques,” according to Senior Producer Sean Griffiths. “He’s a seriously badass guy. He is the real life Rambo. The real life John McClane.”
The set-up for the level we’re watching Aaron play is straight-forward, and based in some small part of Marcinko’s real-life experiences as a seriously badass guy working for the Navy: The Russians are trying to sneak a train full of missiles into North Korea. Dick must stop this from happening. In order to do so, he’ll rely on “his usual techniques … basically blowing the sh*t out of everything.”
“The game is 20% truth, 80% bullsh*t,” says Griffiths, “which is kind of Dick’s personality.”
The game is still pre-alpha, so it’s hard to say if what we’re seeing today will be, in fact, what you get to play later this year, but it’s damn entertaining to watch. Dick takes cover, his enemies evade, shoot back, try to outflank him and methodically attack his position. He has to be quick, accurate and deadly. He’s a one-man army with a pony-tail and he can kill with his bare hands “to conserve bullets.”
In the game’s multiplayer mode, 16 players will face off against each other in a variety of game modes and the top player in each match will have the honor of wearing the “Dick Skin”, practicing Marcinko’s famous kill moves on his fellow player, pony tail swinging.
“We can’t think of anything more fun,” says Griffiths, “than stabbing your best mate in the balls.”
Rebellion has clearly pulled out all the stops in capturing the soul of this legendary killing machine in game form, and the result is damn entertaining, if a bit graphic. But will it be any fun to play? Only time will tell.
Rogue Warrior will be available for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in Q4 of 2009.