Spark's Allen: Turning Point's Message? 'What Are You Fighting For?'

As part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview, Spark Unlimited CEO Craig Allen has been discussing the message behind upcoming alternate-history WWII title Turni
As part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview, Spark Unlimited CEO Craig Allen has been discussing the message behind upcoming alternate-history WWII title Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty, suggesting the nation-conquering storyline has messages relevant to today. Discussing the history of his Southern California-based development studio and the concepts behind the Codemasters-published title, which will debut in early 2008 and concerns a 1950 attack on America by a combined Nazi invasion force, Allen explains: "For our team, having spent a lot of time doing WWII games... Medal of Honor was really exploring what it means to be a hero in war. Call of Duty was exploring what is that kind of personal role that somebody plays as part of a team or a squad... Maybe there's honor, maybe there's glory, but you really want to get out alive with your buddies... survival. So with Turning Point, it was exploring what the personal choices a citizen makes due to engaged conflict and also having some fun with exploring alternate weaponries, find out where technology would have evolved with the Nazis if we hadn't interrupted their progress. How would the conflict dynamics have changed if America stayed isolated and didn't build a war machine?" When the Gamasutra interviewer noted that Allen said something "wanting to explore the rhetoric of war and propaganda" in the game, and asked what he meant by it, the Spark president explained: "Basically, the idea is that when one country moves in – like in our game – with an incredible amount of power and sets up shop, they don't do it to conquer the other country. They do it with a certain kind of rhetoric, with a certain kind of spin, to justify their actions and try to form an alliance with the people. So in our game, the Germans are not conquering America so much as they are, in their words, liberating America. When they come in, they are to bring America into the new global world order. And so for example, when the Nazis take over the White House and start broadcasting from there, their message is, "Don't fight, your leaders have misled you, we're here to unite you with a stronger Germany, we're here to really liberate you from your leaders who have been holding you back." And so as an individual, as a citizen, you have to make a choice on who you listen to. What do you believe? What do you think is right, what do you think is wrong? Because whatever government is in power is going to have their own story for why they're there and what they're doing and how the means justify the ends." When pressed on whether this might be a metaphor for any current event, Allen explains: "Well, I think that the political events that we live in right now certainly... Again, as any artist working in a craft, you want to explore issues that are relevant to you. And I think that we can't be blind to things that happen on the world stage and not want to incorporate that into our work in a form that allows us to explore those issues and ask ourselves: when you fight for America, you know, what are you fighting for?" The in-depth Gamasutra interview with Allen includes plenty more intriguing comments on the game's development, the nature of war, and the developer's ethos.

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