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IMG Chats With MacSoft's Al Schilling
July 20, 2004 | Tuncer Deniz

From time to time we like to catch up with one of IMG's oldest friend, MacSoft's Al Schilling. In this impromptu chat, we talked to Schilling about their upcoming first-person shooter Close Combat: First to Fight, the Neverwinter Nights expansion packs, Halo, the G5 iMac, and more.

IMG: How long have you folks been working on Close Combat: First to Fight, the upcoming squad-based battle simulation? Can you give us a bit of history on the concept, the team working on the game, the engine?

Schilling: Work on the Destineer engine started in early 2001. We knew we wanted to create a cutting edge game engine that utilized the latest in technology and allowed us complete control of the game experience. However, it wasn't until early 2003 that we settled on exactly what the first game would be. Although this will be Destineer's first game, the team that we've assembled has a wealth of experience in the industry. Each of the engineering, art, design, and production managers have at least 10 years of experience making games. Our artists are all top-notch and I know that, when they get their first look at this game, people are going to be impressed.

IMG: What will make Close Combat: First to Fight stand out among all the other war-based first-person shooters like Battlefield 1942, Call of Duty, etc?

Schilling: We've got something that none of the others have-the involvement of active-duty Marines. At this moment, there are about a dozen guys in our test lab going through the levels of First to Fight. Each of them has recently experienced live combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. The feedback we get from them is invaluable. Thanks to their participation, First to Fight will offer the most realistic combat experience ever seen on a Mac, PC, or XBox.

IMG: Can you explain the relationship with Atomic Games? How involved are they in the game?

Schilling: As many of your readers probably know, Atomic Games created the original Close Combat series. Close Combat games have become synonymous with military realism and First to Fight includes a number of features that players will recognize from the original Close Combats games. There are actually 2 Close Combat games in the works right now. First to Fight, a first person shooter, is being created here at Destineer. Atomic President and CEO, Keith Zabalaoui is serving as Executive Producer for First to Fight and the input from him and his team is, of course, very valuable to us. At the same time, Keith's team at Atomic is working on Close Combat: Red Phoenix. Red Phoenix is a real-time strategy game. Obviously, Atomic has a lot of experience with that genre. Red Phoenix is being created using a derivative of the Destineer engine.

IMG: Is the release at the end of this year pretty realistic?

Schilling: Yeah, it's pretty realistic. (Al breaks into a cold sweat.)


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