posted on June 8, 2023
Squad traces its roots back to the esteemed Project Reality mod for Battlefield 2. The mod’s immersive and realistic combat mechanics garnered immense praise and a dedicated following, laying the foundation for Squad’s creation. Its emphasis on teamwork, communication, and coordination as essential ingredients to triumph became the driving force behind our vision for Squad.
From the outset, our aim was to build upon the success of Project Reality, propelling the gameplay experience to unprecedented heights. We understood that the mod’s quality stemmed from its demand for collaborative teamwork, where victory hinged on players relying on one another to achieve shared objectives.
Yet, during Squad’s development, we faced the inevitable temptation to stray from this original vision. Influenced by prevailing shooter trends and the desire for broader appeal, we found ourselves at times prioritizing individual skill and instant gratification over the core principles that made Project Reality exceptional. The evolving gaming industry, with its emphasis on fast-paced action and solo play, gradually seeped into Squad’s design choices, leading to mechanics and features that favored a more independent playstyle and somewhat diluted the importance of teamwork and coordination.
The current state of infantry combat in Squad presents a mixed picture with both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, teamwork can still yield rewarding experiences. When players effectively coordinate their actions, execute well-planned strategies, and communicate seamlessly, they can achieve remarkable feats on the battlefield. These moments of collective triumph are the core strength of Squad and create lasting memories, highlighting the importance of collaboration.
However, there are several notable concerns regarding the combat systems in Squad. One significant hurdle is the tendency towards individualistic gameplay under their current iteration. Instances occur where a lone wolf flanker can single-handedly decimate an entire squad, undermining the emphasis on teamwork and coordination. This individualistic nature detracts from the intended immersive and cooperative experience.
Recognizing this drift from our roots, we have decided to take a decisive step towards rectification and realignment. Our upcoming changes to the infantry combat systems signify a renewed focus on fostering an environment that thrives on teamwork, communication, and coordination. By acknowledging and addressing these past deviations, we recommit ourselves to delivering an authentic and immersive experience reminiscent of the vision we set out with for Squad.
Moving forward, our primary goal is to steer Squad’s combat systems towards a greater emphasis on teamwork and cooperation. We have learned valuable lessons from our previous work and player feedback, which have highlighted the need to enhance the gameplay experience by fostering a stronger sense of camaraderie and strategic decision-making.
To achieve these goals, we are approaching the changes we want to implement in a deliberate and comprehensive manner. We have conducted extensive research, analyzed player behavior patterns, and engaged in internal testing to fine-tune our approach. By adopting the “see-think-speak-do” philosophy, we aim to create a combat system that encourages players to observe the battlefield, analyze the situation, communicate effectively with their squadmates, and take purposeful actions.
One of the key changes we are implementing is to create longer firefights and provide more opportunities for tactical choices as a squad. By adjusting the pacing and dynamics of combat, we aim to extend the duration of engagements, allowing players to make informed decisions and employ various tactics to overcome the situation. This will not only deepen the tactical aspect of Squad but also generate more memorable war story moments that players can share and reminisce about.
In addition, we are striving to make combat more approachable for players of all skill levels. We understand the importance of creating an inclusive environment where new players can feel useful and contribute to the overall success of the squad. By providing opportunities for newcomers to engage in suppressive fire or support roles, while experienced players execute flanking maneuvers and decisive pushes, we aim to strike a balance that promotes both learning and effective teamwork.
During our internal testing, we have already witnessed significant shifts in player behavior. The changes we have implemented have prompted players to rely more on their squadmates, communicate more frequently and effectively, and strategize collaboratively. We have observed increased coordination in movements, better utilization of cover and suppressive fire, and a greater focus on overall squad objectives. These changes have led to a more immersive and rewarding gameplay experience, with players actively contributing to the success of their teams.
In conclusion, our vision for Squad’s combat system entails a shift towards enhanced teamwork and cooperation, longer and more strategic firefights, and a more approachable experience for players. We anticipate that these changes will fundamentally change the way Squad is played. The benefits will be far-reaching, fostering stronger player engagement, more dynamic and memorable moments, and ultimately solidifying Squad’s position as a premier multiplayer, first-person shooter game that thrives on teamwork and strategic thinking.
Work in Progress
Our goals for suppression were to make it a core part of the combat puzzle, give greater purpose to MGs, and make it useful to shoot at the general location of the enemy without necessarily having a clear view of them. When the fight kicks off and the suppression kicks in, it should enhance the feeling of being in a chaotic firefight.
Complete rework of suppression VFX
Suppression aim hindrances
Per-weapon suppression power
To facilitate longer shootouts, we need to reduce the odds of them ending in one or two shots. From there a sudden encounter can grow into a full-on firefight as the rest of the squad joins in, suppressing fire is laid down, maneuvers are planned and executed, and reinforcements are called up. Overall, you should have the time you need to call out contact with the enemy, analyze the situation, coordinate with your squad, and execute a plan together.
Every weapon is being reworked to have a defined role, with strengths and weaknesses which need to be covered and complimented by your squadmates.
We aim to add depth while making it easier for new players to be useful and live longer. We also want to make guns feel more satisfying to shoot, even if they’re not always as unconditionally accurate as before. It should be fun to shoot a gun in an empty room.
Reworked traditional Hip-Fire into Point Shooting
Recoil has been modified and made more sophisticated
Sway has been reworked from the ground up
Steadying your aim no longer applies instantly
Per-stance ADS time
Bullets now go exactly where your gun is pointing under all circumstances
Look And Feel
Work in Progress
We aim to add tradeoffs to magnified optics so there are benefits to having a mix of different weapon configurations in your squad, and to set the standard for video game representations of scopes in the 2020s. It should feel like you are looking through an optic, not a camera.
Thanks to how PIP scopes emulate the real challenges of using magnified optics, there are some tradeoffs for the user:
Tradeoffs between the different optics options:
It is necessary to slow down engagements and the overall pace of the game. This will give players time to See → Think → Speak → Do, encourage the use of vehicle transportation, and create counter-play to rush tactics. While speed and aggression have a place in Squad, as they do in real life, they should not be more effective than communication and coordination.
Chokepoints and barriers should be meaningful obstacles which require adapting your defensive and offensive tactics. Assaulting a high-walled Afghan compound, for example, will soon be a completely different experience.
Pacing and Stamina adjustments
Revamping Squad’s infantry combat systems is the first step in our broader initiative to align all gameplay systems with the goals of our original vision for the game. We understand that achieving a truly immersive and cooperative experience requires a holistic approach, addressing various aspects of the game. While focusing on the revamp of infantry combat is crucial, we are committed to thoroughly improving and refining other gameplay systems to ensure they complement the realignment of the game’s direction.
We recognize the importance of not rushing the release of these changes and our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for our community. That’s why we are dedicated to conducting extensive public testing and actively gathering feedback from players. This approach allows us to fine-tune the revamped infantry combat systems based on real-world gameplay experiences and ensures that we have the buy-in and support of our community.
This commitment to comprehensive testing and community involvement guarantees that the changes we implement to the infantry combat systems will resonate with players and align with their expectations. Our goal is to deliver a polished and refined experience that not only meets our goals but also exceeds the expectations of our community.
We will be running a series of playtests to thoroughly test the changes and actively involve the community in the process, we can make well-informed decisions about the overall realignment of Squad’s gameplay. We highly value the input of our dedicated player base and want to ensure that their voices are heard throughout the development process. Stay tuned for the announcement date of our first playtest very soon!