Marcus Lehto, president and game director of V1 Interactive, was recently at Gamescom to talk about V1's new game Disintegration. It's a first-person shooter that sits you on a gravcycle—basically a lightweight sky tank—and gives you a squad of ground troops to control. There's some influence in there from the game Lehto is most famous for, Halo, but that's not all. "It has a lot to do with the first game I started making with Bungie before Halo," he told us, "and that was Myth: The Fallen Lords, which was an RTS game. It was straight RTS."
Famously, Halo was an RTS early in its development as well. "That's the way it was started. When Jason [Jones] and I started working on it, it was a straight RTS as well, just skinned with a sci-fi theme."
Disintegration began in a similar place. "When I started this game, I initially wanted to build something that was more like a spiritual successor to Myth," he said, "really focusing on the simulation of combat and all the other cool stuff that happens with these robots."
Of course, that's not where it's ended up. "We were like, OK, we've got to do something really different with it in order to make it stand out from the crowd. That's when we decided to turn that camera into an active participant in combat, to like fire weapons down on the ground and actually receive enemy fire, be blown out of the sky, but also command a squad of units, so keeping that tactical elements to the game but really making it a lot more fluid and in line with the first-person shooter mechanics."
It seems like there's a twist of fate that keeps preventing Lehto from making the sci-fi RTS of his dreams. He keeps getting drawn back into the immediacy of shooters. As for why that might be, he said, "Well, obviously it's the call of action, when it comes to getting down to feeling like an actual mean part of the battle. Me personally, I like being immersed into that world, and I just love that part of what we're creating."