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Overview


Cscz artwork
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
(Rogue Entertainment design)
Developer(s) Rogue Entertainment
Valve Software
Development started April 2001
Development halted May 2001
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer

Development of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero was originally started by Rogue Entertainment. This would be the first of four major iterations of the game design. Their design was a very traditional Half-Life-like single-player experience, similar to Ritual Entertainment's Deleted Scenes.

As this iteration of the game was in development for little more than a month, very little work was finished and thus even less would be carried over to future iterations of the game.

Development

Following the sudden decision by Electronic Arts to cancel the Playstation 2 port of American McGee's Alice in January 2001, developer Rogue Entertainment was left in a position with no project to work on.[1] In order to quickly secure new work, Rogue contacted various companies and received some promising job offers.[2][1]

One of the companies Rogue Entertainment contacted was Valve Software.[1] Gabe Newell at Valve Software had always wanted to see single-player missions in Counter-Strike and therefore Valve offer a project for the creation of such a game to Rogue Entertainment.[3] In April 2001, a mutual agreement was reached whereby Rogue would start developing Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.[4][1] As E3 2001 was getting close, Rogue Entertainment went into crunch mode in the hopes of producing a playable demonstration version of the game in time for the show.[1] Rumors of this deal taking place also reached the ear of the public.[5]

CSCZ-CGW-cover

Cover of Computer Gaming World July 2001 issue

Only about a month into development, Jim Molinets, producer of the title at Rogue Entertainment, informed that he would be leaving the company.[1] The news caught employees of both Rogue Entertainment and Valve Software by surprise.[1] Employees of Rogue assured Valve that this wouldn't affect the development of Condition Zero as most of Molinets work had already been done.[1] However, Valve Software felt betrayed and had concerns regarding the financial stability of Rogue Entertainment following Molinet's departure and responded by removing Condition Zero from Rogue's hands.[1][3]

Employees of Rogue Entertainment were furious about this decision and went on to leak details of the negotiations between them and Valve Software.[1] In addition, a few screenshots of the game leaked to the public which were claimed to originate from Rogue.[6][7] These screenshots caused a stir in the community as some people felt that the game looked unimpressive and dated.[8] Bobby Pavlock, level designer at Rogue, responded by stating that the screenshots represented only a few days of work and were not representative of the quality Rogue was aiming for.[8]

Ultimately, losing two projects in a row took its toll on Rogue Entertainment financially and many employees decided to leave the company,[1] eventually leading to the acquisition of the company by United Developers later that year.[9]

At Valve Software further development on the title was headed by the development team of Erik Johnson and the game was set to appear during fall 2001.[3][10] As any information available to the public regarding the game consisted of either rumors or leaks, people were eagerly anticipating the moment when Valve Software would officially announce or unveil the game. On May 14, 2001 Computer Gaming World announced that they had scored an exclusive preview of the game which would appear in their upcoming issue.[3] Only days before E3, Jess Cliffe also stated to both CS-Nation and on the official Counter-Strike website that the game would make an appearance at the show,[7][11] but shortly thereafter the news on the official website was edited to remove this information.[12] Due to unknown reasons, the game never appeared at E3 2001.[13] The edit to the official website suggests that a last minute change of plans occurred, possibly related to the impending developer change.

Due to the slow nature of print press, when the game was finally unveiled in the July issue of Computer Gaming World (which appeared in mid June) the information contained within was already very out of date.[14] All the work presented in the preview was the work of Rogue Entertainment,[15] however all this work had already been scrapped as Gearbox Software took over development in late May and started their own iteration of the game.[16][17][14]

Game modes

The main focus of the game was on the single-player mode, but a multiplayer game mode would also be included.

Single-player

A single-player game that captures the grit, realism, and cooperative play of Counter-Strike online experience
―Erik Johnson[10]

22-22-2073

Terrorists making their run for the helicopter at the CDC rooftop

The main focus of Condition Zero was its single-player component. It was to be a mission based campaign that took influence from the traditional Counter-Strike scenarios (assassination, hostage rescue and bomb defusal).[10] The campaign would consist of 16 different missions presented as international incidents taking place in real world locations.[10]

In order to simulate the feeling of a multiplayer experience, the missions would be undertaken with teammates utilizing AI based on the Half-Life grunts. Their actions would be largely scripted and there would be little possibilities for the player to influence their actions.[10]

Each mission could be played either as a Counter-Terrorist or Terrorist, effectively doubling the amount of missions.[10] As an example provided by Valve for Computer Gaming World, playing the Center for Disease Control (CDC) mission as the Counter-Terrorists would have you trying to stop the Terrorists from stealing a virus intended to be used as a biological weapon. On the other hand when playing as the Terrorists, the main objective was to steal this virus and then escape with a helicopter located on the rooftop.

Other examples of tasks given included traditional bomb planting/defusal, VIP escorting/assassination and sniping or taking out enemy snipers.[10]

Cooperative play

Cooperative play was at the top of Valve Software's wish list, but a decision as to whether it would actually be included had not been made.[10]

Multiplayer

Rogue Entertainment's design of Condition Zero also included a multiplayer component, though no information about how or if it differed from the traditional Counter-Strike multiplayer was ever revealed.[18] All the new multiplayer maps were to be released free of charge for owners of the original Counter-Strike.[10]

Maps and missions

The game was supposed to feature 16 different single-player missions which were based on actual locations.[10] Some of the missions, at least the Center for Disease Control (CDC) mission, consisted of multiple maps.[15]

Each single-player mission would also be available as a multiplayer map.[10] It is not known if each map that the single-player missions were constituted of would be released as multiplayer maps or if plans were to create a separate multiplayer map based on each single-player mission.

Due to the short development time, only the CDC mission was nearing completion and most other missions were still on the drawing board.[10]

List of maps and missions

Official map names for any of the maps in Rogue Entertainment's version of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero were never revealed. However, the settings for many of the missions being planned for the game were;[10] these are listed below.

Map/mission setting Location Designer
Center for Disease Control, Cleanroom Atlanta, Georgia Cameron Lamprecht[15]
Center for Disease Control, Rooftop Atlanta, Georgia Bobby Pavlock[15]
Chunnel English Channel
Devil's Island French Guiana
Kowloon Bay Hong Kong
Louvre Paris, France
North American Aerospace Defense Command Colorado
Russian Typhoon-class Submarine
World Cup Game Spain

Weapons and equipment

A total of 11 new pieces of equipment were being considered for inclusion. Unless otherwise specified, all the information in the table below originates from the preview in Computer Gaming World.

.357 Magnum
Type: Pistol
Side: Both
This high-powered revolver would provide a cheaper alternative to the Desert Eagle.
Auto-Crossbow
Type: Crossbow
Side: Terrorists
The Auto-Crossbow would silently fire poison-tipped bolts. Poisoned players would have their health slowly drained as well as jerk around randomly.
Binoculars
Type: Equipment
Side: Both
Using the binoculars would allow spotting enemies further away. However, this would leave you completely vulnerable as you wouldn't have a weapon equipped.
Concussion Grenade
Type: Grenade
Side: Both
If a concussion grenade went off in the vicinity of a player, it would cause a loud noise deafening the player (by causing severe tinnitus). When placed close enough, it could even cause the affected player to drop his weapon.
Flare
Type: Equipment
Side: Both
Flares could be used to lighten up dark areas. They would be especially useful for spotting campers hiding in darkened areas.
Land Mine
Type: Equipment
Side: Terrorists
These mines, also nicknamed "Bouncing Betty", would emit a sound when stepped on. If the player that stepped on one of them tried moving away, the mine would explode killing the player. A Counter-Terrorist equipped with the universal tool could defuse these mines, even after having stepped on one of them.
M60
Type: Machine gun
Cscz rogue m60
Side: Counter-Terrorists
Compared to the M249 already present in the game, the M60 would have a faster firing rate. Its damage and ammo capacity were very similar to the M249.
M79 Grenade Launcher
Type: Grenade launcher
Cscz rogue m79
Side: Counter-Terrorists
This grenade launcher would be especially useful for lobbing grenades into hard-to-reach areas popular among snipers or campers.
Pancor Jackhammer
Type: Shotgun
Side: Both
This automatic shotgun could shoot at an impressive fire rate of 12 rounds per second, making it more powerful than the XM1014.
Suicide Belt
Type: Equipment
Cscz rogue concept suicidebelt
Side: Terrorists
When activated, this belt would start a countdown after which it would explode killing the player wearing it and causing severe damage to everyone close to it. If the player wearing the belt was killed after it had been activated, a Counter-Terrorist could try defusing it if time permitted.
Universal Tool
Type: Equipment
Side: Counter-Terrorists
The only known use for this tool was the defusal of land mines. It is possible that is was an upgraded version of the defusal kit and it may also have been needed for the defusal of an armed suicide belt.

Factions and player models

16-16-2073

SEAL Team 6 operative wearing desert camouflage in Dust2

A new Counter-Terrorist faction, the Spetsnaz, was set to be included in the game.[10] While the inclusion of a new Terrorist faction to balance the scales would have been logical, no information about such a faction being planned was ever released.

Another new feature were alternate camouflage skins/uniforms. These were to be used in a setting appropriate way, meaning that playing a desert mission would see operatives wearing desert camouflage.[18] For SEAL Team 6 the new skins were at least arctic, woodland and desert.[10] When counting its default camouflage, this would give a total of four different camouflages. It is not known exactly how many skins would be introduced or if the amount varied between factions. These alternate skins were created by Rich Fleider.[15]

Each single-player mission would have a specific Counter-Terrorist faction assigned to it.[10]

Interface

The buy menu would be simplified by introducing buy lists, allowing players to purchase a combination of weapons and equipment with a single button-click without the need of scripting. Some default buy lists would be included, but they could also be customized.[10]

The scoreboard was also supposed to receive some changes. One of these changes was the addition of medals. These would be awarded each round to the player that received the largest amount of kills and most headshots. In addition, an icon displaying the most used weapon for each player would also be added. All this information was to be visible next to the player name on the scoreboard.[10]

Technology

Rogue Entertainment was going to use the original Half-Life engine for Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. New technology was to be introduced in the form of voice over communications, which Condition Zero would be the first shipped title to utilize.[10]

Legacy

Due to the short development time of Rogue Entertainment's Counter-Strike: Condition Zero iteration, very little content was completed. Despite this, some concepts and content were used in future iterations of the game:

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Shacknews | More on Rogue-Valve Fallout
  2. Shacknews | Rogue Not Dead
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Voodoo Extreme - New CS Not Cancelled. Archived from the original on 2001-05-27.
  4. STOMPED - Rogue Working On New Game. Archived from the original on 2001-11-14.
  5. CS-Nation - mast@h newsage
  6. Evil Avatar - Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Shots. Archived from the original on 2001-05-19.
  7. 7.0 7.1 CS-Nation - CS: Condition Zero. Archived from the original on 2002-06-18.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Voodoo Extreme - Rogue In Peril. Archived from the original on 2001-05-27.
  9. Press Release - United Developers Officially Announced: Adds Rogue Entertainment as Affiliate Company
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 10.18 Computer Gaming World - Issue 204 (2001-07) Ziff Davis Media Inc.
  11. The official Counter-Strike web site. Archived from the original on 2001-05-15.
  12. The official Counter-Strike web site. Archived from the original on 2001-05-19.
  13. Eurogamer.net • Counter-Strike goes solo
  14. 14.0 14.1 CS-Nation - Cond Zero update
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 CS-Nation - Credit Rogue!
  16. Action Vault - Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Interview. Archived from the original on 2002-08-02.
  17. GameSpot - E3 2001: Half-Life: Blue Shift goes gold
  18. 18.0 18.1 PC Zone - Exclusive: Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. Archived from the original on 2001-06-12.

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