Sniper Elite 5

Rebellion is gearing up for the impending release of Sniper Elite 5 later this month. After an impressive fourth chapter in the franchise, the studio is looking to deliver yet another captivating sniper-based shooter experience. We chatted with Rebellion to get some insight on the upcoming game ahead of its May 26 launch.

Let’s talk about the setting of Sniper Elite 5. Was France always the next step for the series? Were there other settings you considered?

We were always pretty much set on taking the series to France for Sniper Elite 5 and with D-Day being one of the most iconic events in world history, it naturally made sense for us to focus around that. However, it is important to stress that this is a game that is set around the events of D-Day rather than being a D-Day game. Karl has always operated in the shadows behind enemy lines, and we wanted to continue that.

What drew the dev team to set Sniper Elite 5 in France, both in terms of its historical significance and its aesthetic?

France seemed like the natural progression for the game. There are so many iconic locations and we wanted every map to scream France. We undertook numerous research trips and gathered tens of thousands of reference images and videos to help us recreate that authentic French feel.

Fortunately, we were able to visit Mont Saint-Michel, Brittany, Guernsey, and the submarine pen in Saint-Nazaire — plus numerous other locations that have given us a real flavor and understanding for those locations and their settings.

Sniper Elite 5 - Karl

Sniper Elite 4 was an ambitious, beefy game with lots to see and do. It played great, it was fun, and it had a rad campaign. When did you know it was time for a new Sniper Elite game?

It’s actually been over five years since the release of Sniper Elite 4, so the time had definitely come for Karl to get back into the action. We have been working on the game for a number of years, developing the story, the locations, and the major themes and features that we wanted to develop. Now the time has come for everyone to play the results of that hard work.

Hopefully you will find that Sniper Elite 5 is even beefier, with a more immersive campaign which is also a lot of fun with a few surprises thrown in, too.

What’s one new thing you learned about the development process going from Sniper Elite 4 to Sniper Elite 5?

One of the biggest leaps we have made is the move to photogrammetry for the creation of the in-game assets. It is something that we only really touched on in some of the late DLC for Sniper Elite 4, but it is now a mainstay in the creation of SE 5.

This method gives far more detail to everything you see in the game world. We were scanning everything from rocks and trees all the way up to tanks and other vehicles. It adds to the immersion and feel of the game.

When you look at the weapons, for example, there is a far greater level of detail. They look like they have been used and are recreated to be as close as possible to their real-world counterparts.

It has been a true step forward for the series and the way that we develop our games.

Sniper Elite 5 Weapons

What was one of the biggest challenges in bringing Sniper Elite 5 to light?

I would say that probably the biggest challenge is that we are releasing the game on both the last generation of consoles and the latest generation, as well as PC. There is a significant difference in the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X when you compare them to the baseline PS4 and Xbox One that launched in 2013.

That obviously offers up its own challenges and difficulties as we want everyone that’s playing the game to have an enjoyable experience, regardless of the format they are playing on. Our technology team has done a great job in delivering for everyone.

We are scaling the game so that players on PS5 and Xbox Series X will be able to enjoy the game at 60fps in a resolution up to 4K with much faster loading times, while Xbox Series S users can play at 60fps at 1440p resolution. Meanwhile, the PS4 and Xbox One are capped to 30fps.

What part of developing Sniper Elite 5 was the most fun for the team?

Invasion Mode has been a lot of fun to work on and test. This is where another human player can drop into your campaign mission tasked with hunting you down and eliminating you. It is up to you whether you choose to try to find the invader or continue with your mission, paying extra attention and being on high alert.

The mode really came alive in play testing, as people were starting to experience the added pressure and tension of knowing that you are being hunted by a fellow human player. We are extremely proud of our A.I., but nothing compares to the challenge of facing up to another human player complete with their own individual skillsets, flaws, and unpredictabilities.

We have seen so many different variations of how people approach both the role of the main player and the invader and we cannot wait to see what the community comes up with.

I should also say that there is the ability to turn off Invasion Mode in the menu, but we strongly recommend that everyone tries it, as it is a lot of fun and an amazing challenge.

What’s something — perhaps a gameplay or story feature — that was left on the cutting room floor that you’d like to maybe integrate into a future game or DLC?

There are always loads of ideas that circulate at the start of the project that sadly don’t make it into the full released game, but I don’t want to give too much away about our future content and releases.

There are some weapons that didn’t make the cut, whether due to resources or not being able to get the right reference in time, but we have a plan to introduce more guns post-release.

Sniper Elite 5 - Hitler

Is there a new feature you’re most excited about showing longtime fans of the series?

As I have previously mentioned, Invasion Mode is a standout feature, but one area that will certainly excite our community and long-term fans is weapon customization.

You are able to change the barrel, suppressor, scope, stock, magazine, ammo, and more to create a weapon that perfectly fits your play style and the way that you want to approach a given mission or objective.

The upgrades are unlocked by finding workbenches that are hidden within the game maps. (Each mission has three.) There you will also be able to amend your loadout during the mission, meaning that you no longer need to restart because you are not fully happy with the weapons and attachments that you have chosen.

When you include ammo types, there are over eight million possible permutations in the weapon customization, so there will be something for every kind of player and every possible approach. We’re sure the community is going to create some incredible weaponry and look forward to seeing the results.

I greatly enjoyed Sniper Elite 4 on both PS4 and Switch, so suffice it to say that I’m eager to play this next installment. What would you say to newcomers who might be intrigued by the Sniper Elite series but have yet to dive in? In other words, what’s your pitch for Sniper Elite 5?

Sniper Elite 5 is the thinking person’s war game. Set around the events of D-Day in France 1944, we take you behind enemy lines as elite marksman Karl Fairburn. The strong narrative arc of the campaign takes Karl to iconic locations as he uncovers a covert Nazi plot called Operation Kraken, which could turn the tide of the war. From that point on, Karl’s mission is to end the plot and those behind it once and for all.

Set in expansive maps, each of the missions is open-ended, allowing you to approach the game in a way that best suits your playstyle and the kind of experience you prefer. You can be cautious, stealthy, and move in the shadows. Or alternatively, you may choose to be more run-and-gun. The choice is up to you, and you can also switch from one to the other.

The key thing is to plan before you execute. Take a loadout that suits the way you want to play and plot a path through the map to reach your target. There are lots of side missions and hidden objectives in each of the locations which will add further depth and understanding to the main game narrative, but these are completely optional.

Then when you layer in the fact that the entire campaign can be played as two player co-op, the game-changing Invasion Mode, and a suite of online multiplayer options — we think we have a very compelling and enjoyable game that we cannot wait for people to get their hands on come May 26.

Sniper Elite 5 - Stealth Gameplay

In terms of games and movies, what are some of the Rebellion team’s bigger influences? This can be for both the development of Sniper Elite 5 or just game development in general. What games, movies, books, or other media inspire the team?

Our main influences are taken from real-world reference. However, when thinking about Invasion Mode, Enemy at the Gates was mentioned quite a lot. For years we have talked about wanting to emulate that feeling of being a sniper that is being hunted by another sniper. We obviously also read a lot of World War II books — for example, Between Silk and Cyanide, which gave us some good inspiration about SOE and codebreaking storylines.

Gaming-wise, we obviously play an awful lot of other shooters and stealth games, but we like to think that Sniper Elite offers a unique experience.

Last, how much coffee was consumed during the development of Sniper Elite 5? And is there a favorite blend the team likes to drink?

We’re extremely fortunate to have a great coffee shop right across the road from the studio (Jericho Coffee Traders), which keeps us well-fueled! If anyone wants to donate a coffee, mine’s a flat white!

A huge thank you to Rebellion for taking the time to answer our questions about Sniper Elite 5. The game will be out May 26 on PS5, Xbox Series X and S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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