More stealth and harder enemy AI planned for Sniper Elite 4

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The Sniper Elite franchise may be a one-trick pony, but what a trick it is. There’s something absolutely marvellous about seeing a 303 round tear through flesh and bone, over and over again and this line makes me sound like the FBI should be watching me right now, doesn’t it? Anyway. Sniper Elite is a franchise that is genuinely very, very good at making your bullets feel like they have an actual kick to them.

When the series first started however, it wasn’t good at anything else really. Sniper Elite 3 attempted to rectify the problem of having series lead Karl Fairburne stealth around enemies like a pensioner who had just emptied his bowls, by reworking the movement mechanics in the right direction. It worked splendidly: Fairburne could now creep around a map, making him a far more versatile soldier in the field who didn’t have to rely on just one nest within which to wipe most of the North Afrika Korps out of existence.

And that’s a part of the gameplay that developer Rebellion wants to improve further on. “In Sniper Elite 3 we wanted to improve the stealth mechanics so you could actually behave more stealthily than it just devolving into a long range pop up shooter,” Rebellion lead creative Tim Jones said to GamesRadar .

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That’s fun, but we wanted to add more depth to it. This time around for Sniper Elite 4, we’re just taking it to another level. We’re improving and souping up every aspect of the game. Probably some of the most obvious things are the increase in scale of the environments. This offers up much more of the long range sniping that fans have been calling for and the nonlinear nature of things is being taken even further.

That means that Fairburne is a fair bit more agile now. He can hang off of ledges and scurry his way to new vantage points. New tricks that he’ll need as the enemy AI has been ramped up to make escape that much harder. They won’t just hunt you down to where you were last spotted, but they’ll comb the environment itself to flush you out. “This time around not only are the environments bigger but all the AI are active all the time on the whole map as well so it’s emergent gameplay if you will,” Jones explained.

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We’re not scripting it so that everything turns on when you get into a certain area. It’s all there all the time. It’s a genuine sandbox for you to play in.

Fortunately, Fairburne also has plenty of new tools at his disposal in addition to his trusty rifle. “We’ve got the S mine which was affectionately known as the Bouncing Betty,” Jones said.

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You plunge it into the ground and then someone triggers it, it pops up and fires shrapnel out in all directions. We’ve got the trip mines as well. They’ve got secondary uses as well so trip mines you can now string multiple ones together. You can set the mines to require two presses instead of just one to fire off. It’s quite an advanced behaviour but if you’re waiting for a patrol to go by and the first person doesn’t trigger the mine because they click it once and go past, then the mine goes off when it’s in the middle of the group.

It’s stuff like that that adds another layer and gives more options to the player.

Groovy. I rather enjoyed Sniper Elite 3, which gave the entire premise of one shot one kill a much needed kick in the pants. The third time was definitely the charm, but the fourth time looks like the perfect view to a kill. Listen, I suck at sniper puns okay?

Last Updated: June 28, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

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