CP Note: Thank you to Howard “Mad Max” Mullen, owner of Tactical MilSim Magazine, for sharing his upcoming Dalton Fury interview with us. His full interview will run via Tacitical MilSlim in a few days.
MMM: You are the Military Advisor for the [just-released] Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Word on the street is that you are the man behind Sandman’s cool.
DF: Where the heck did you hear that? Partially true I guess. Working with the COD folks has been a true privilege. Talk about talent and energy, especially the extraordinary people at Sledgehammer Games. They aren’t just digigeeks. These folks are true professionals, don’t half step, and went to great lengths to pursue the most realistic military experience for their players. I was simply brought in to help the very talented writer Will Staples with the dialogue of the Delta assault team. Essentially, shower the battlefield conversation with reality. I simply tried to bring the Delta cool to the narrative and isolate the attitude, demeanor, and personality of a Delta Force assault team leader who has been at war for ten years and not easily surprised or impressed. Anyone that has been on target with a bunch of Delta operators knows they are “cool” – not in the Fonzy sense, or because they have long hair and cut their fatigue sleeves off, but because they have been specifically trained to keep things in perspective during times of chaos and uncertainty. Their training is specifically designed to ensure you can keep your cool when things go momentarily silent and in slow motion…and somebody’s golden hour just started. I never fired a blank round while serving in Delta’s ranks. Besides, no self-respecting gamer wants to follow a weak-kneed team leader through dark alleys and urban sprawls. I think I had the greatest team leaders ever so in that sense I reckon I was qualified to help Call of Duty.
DF: Not a difficult shift, but a difficult decision. Contrary to popular belief, committing to writing a book – not talking about doing it or telling everyone how you are going to write a book – but actually sitting down day after and day and putting your thoughts on paper takes an enormous commitment of time and energy. One hundred thousand words don’t just pop up on your laptop screen. I wasn’t sure I wanted to make that commitment to something that is a long shot, and if St Martin’s Press hadn’t brought in the talented Mark Greaney, I doubt I would have seen it through. The action thriller fiction genre is maxed out with world class authors, simply thinking of breaching that small fraternity borders on cluelessness or idiocy. Moreover, myth! New fiction writers aren’t rolling in the dough.
Writing fiction however is much easier than writing non-fiction. That’s obvious, right? You can say what you want, make your characters as savvy or clumsy as you want, and have your biggest nemesis hit by a falling refrigerator. Besides, combat action in a thriller book is always more exciting than the actual thing.
MMM: In Black Site, your protagonist, the former Delta Operator Kolt “Racer” Raynor, seems to march to his own drummer at times. Is this a realistic reflection of actual Delta operators?
DF: Nice! I spent five years in Delta and I can look back on a dozen situations where I only wish I was as switched on or aggressive as Kolt Raynor is. But yes, Delta is unique in that big boy rules truly do apply across the board and where every individual operator, from troop commander to newest assaulter, is required to make split-second decisions based on what they see in front of them, what their gut tells them, and what they can justify with prior experiences. In conventional military units or the traditional corporate world, there is a distinct pecking order that you breach at your own demise. The Delta Force mindset is 180 out from that. I needed an intent and purpose from my boss, after that I needed his space.