With the final piece of Just Cause 3‘s three-part DLC expansion, Bavarium Sea Heist, on its way, we took the opportunity to chat with Marcus Andrews, the lead designer on the entire Air, Land, & Sea Pack. We discussed with Marcus what challenges the water theme brought to the dev team, what that meant for Rico Rodriguez, and what new weapons and vehicles he’ll get to use and how they will affect the world of Medici.

EGM: Just Cause 3‘s previous DLCs seem to have been building to this final add-on. What can you tell us about the story of the Bavarium Sea Heist?

Marcus Andrews: While the packs can be enjoyed stand alone, it’s true that the overarching narrative reaches its conclusion in the Sea pack. We even felt we had more to say about eDEN and The Black Hand than would fit in the mission narrative so we included audio logs in this pack. I really recommend finding and listening to them. They conclude the narrative and will hopefully give rise to some theory crafting.

The story revolves around the last of the eDEN stations, “The Stingray” and how the character Annika has a plan to cheat The Black Hand on some valuable tech in a daring heist. Rico is not hard to persuade when he realizes he will get the prototype weapon “eDEN Spark” as a reward for his contribution.

EGM: Will most of the DLC take place in the water? If so, could this be a hindrance to Rico’s grappling hook/wingsuit/movement abilities? 

MA: Water in videogames is notoriously unforgiving. It often sounds great at first when you throw around ideas for water gameplay, but bread and butter stuff like what Rico can do, how enemies move, what you can interact with, and all the explosions and stuff become problematic if you don’t have solid ground. All that led us to take an approach with a combination of sea combat and normal combat in a sea setting. I think the new outposts are a great example of water gameplay in Just Cause. You have a powerful and agile boat to do lots of the heavy lifting, but you get out of it and do some complimentary work on foot/wingsuit/parachute/hanging upside down from your companion drone or what have you. We didn’t want to disqualify that type of gameplay just because this was the “Sea” theme.

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EGM: What went into crafting a DLC primarily around the water region of Medici? How difficult was it?

MA: There were a lot of novel challenges to overcome, that’s for sure. One particular headache is that water is flat. If you think about Medici, it has very varied topography with mountains and valleys. Even small hills and buildings will obscure the horizon and hide objects behind them. On the sea there’s none of that; you see everything from everywhere. Part of the reason why the new boat is so insanely fast is because the drive from point A to B on a flat sea becomes quite boring. This is also part of the reason we increased the size of the waves during the driving sections of the mission, to basically create something resembling a landscape.

EGM: What new gameplay will the Sea Heist introduce? New vehicles? Weapons? Gear challenges? 

MA: The pack includes two new missions, 18 audio logs, the Stingray base, five new outposts, and the eDEN Spark, an insane new weapon that brings down a lightning beam from the sky that follows your crosshair around. There’s also the Loochador, the fastest, by far, boat in the game capable of going over a hundred knots for extended periods of time. It’s also equipped with machineguns and homing missiles that target all vehicles and chaos objects. And finally, there’s the new Boat Invaders challenge, which allows you to hone your skills with the eDEN Spark and mod it with gears.

I think this adds primarily two new experiences to the game. The fact that you can be really competent with the boat and defeat air, land, and sea enemies without leaving it is fresh. The eDEN Spark is the obvious new thing though. A giant death beam from the sky!

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EGM: Did the team ever consider going underwater with Sea Heist? Like with submarines or other submersibles?

MA: During the concept phase everything was on the table in one way or another, but we decided against underwater for the reasons I brought up earlier. If we ever go underwater, this wasn’t the time or place for it.

EGM: Was there anything that you wanted to include in the DLC but couldn’t fit in?

MA: It’s the nature of making games that you want all the cool things, and each thing will be mind-blowingly awesome. What separates a good team from a bad is the ability to adapt the scope to the realities and pick the right focus.

EGM: The other DLC packs allowed you to bring vehicles and weapons over to the main game. Does Sea Heist do the same? Were there any balancing issues that came up trying to make sure everything could fit properly into Medici? 

MA: Yes, all the things you get in Sea Heist will be useable all over Medici. We decided that the DLC vehicles and equipment would be allowed to be very powerful but HEAT is a very good mechanic in this regard because even if a vehicle is very powerful, you rack up 5-star HEAT and you will eventually be outmanned regardless.

We thought a lot about how the new toys would integrate with Medici, but balancing power was only a part of it. Making sure that main missions didn’t break and that the main game content reacted properly to them was also part of that.

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