Splash Damage is certainly no stranger to creating memorable multiplayer warfare. The company has made a name for itself by creating unique, objective-based multiplayer modes for popular franchises like Quake and Wolfenstein. This fall Splash Damage will be launching its first original IP, Brink, a game that aims to blur the line between single player and multiplayer like never before.  We talked with Richard Ham, the creative director of Brink, to see what separates his upcoming FPS from the rest of the pack.

Like Splash Damage’s Enemy Territory franchise, Brink breaks down the action into a series of objective-based competitive maps. How does the story unfold within this style of gameplay? Are the maps interwoven and meant to be played sequentially? Or are they self-contained and playable out of order?

Well, they’re both actually. It’s been a tricky feat of writing, but basically, each mission in Brink is completely standalone if that’s how you want to experience it. You can jump around from mission to mission in any order you want, and always have a clear understanding about what’s going on and what you need to accomplish.

For instance, you might be choosing to play through the story solo, in sequence, when one evening you see a friend of yours playing in a mission you haven’t reached yet and he’s playing for the opposing side. We decided that we didn’t want ‘the story’ to stand in the way of friends playing together, so you can leave your storyline behind and jump into the mission with your friend. And after that’s over, maybe he’ll jump into your storyline and play with you.

This is all possible because Brink is very unique in how it approaches single player and multiplayer gaming. For us, there’s no difference between the two. If you’re playing single player, you’re playing through the story effectively by yourself. If you’re playing co-op, you play that same story with a friend. If you’re playing online, the storyline is identical, but the enemies are controlled by real players. And those human players who are your enemies in a mission? They’re actually playing through their own separate storyline, and to them, you’re the enemy they have to defeat to complete their campaign.

What can players expect to unlock as they level up? Will they have access to new weapons or different types of objectives? Or are the unlockables restricted to customizing the look of your character?

We’re putting a lot of unlockable content in Brink. As you mentioned, there are quite a few outfits, hairstyles, clothing colors, etc., you can get which are all about changing your look and showing off how ‘leet you are.

But even more important than that are the abilities. Every time the player levels up, they can buy one new ability, in one of five different categories: soldier, medic, operative, engineer, or all-purpose. Each of these can only be used when you’re playing as a particular class, but remember, you’ll be able to change classes at any time while you’re in a mission. This creates a lot of really rich and dynamic situations where you can radically change the course of a mission, and the type of gameplay you’re involved in, by changing your class and focusing on an entirely different set of objectives. And because you change, your teammates and the enemy will change as well to adapt.

And of course, there are guns. We wouldn’t be a FPS without a wide range of weapons, in several different categories. In addition to new weapons you can unlock, there are also a wide variety of weapon attachments you can get, which change how your weapons behave and how you use them.