MadWorld: The PlatinumGames Interview
Monday, March 09, 2009 7:39 PM
In our exclusive interview, PlatinumGame's producer Atshushi Inaba talks everything Madworld, from the game's influences to the challenges they faced in development.
PlatinumGames' Atsushi Inaba was kind enough to stop by Gamezine.co.uk to answer some of our MadWorld questions, as well as tackling a selection of your user-submitted enquiries.
Thanks for joining us at Gamezine. Can you explain the story behind MadWorld?
Atsushi Inaba: In MadWorld you play as Jack, a mechanic and former marine who has a trusty chainsaw attached to his right arm and a plethora of weapons at his disposal.
A terrorist group called the Organizers have taken over Varrigan City and transformed it into the setting for a televised game-show called Death Watch, where residents are forced to fight for their own survival, all to win a prize of 100 million dollars. Jack has been sent by the president to end the terrorists' rule over the city.
How did the game's visual style come about?
Atsushi Inaba: We basically decided right at the start that we wanted to create a black and white game with red blood. This was primarily because we wanted to create something that nobody had ever seen before, and because we wanted to create a game that would make players feel like they were playing in the world of a comic book.
Was the visual style influenced by Frank Miller's Sin City at all?
Atsushi Inaba: A lot of people have asked that very same question. I and my team members are big fans of Franck Miller's work, especially Sin City, but his work didn't have a direct inspiration in creating the game. We draw on influences from all different kinds of cultures, and MadWorld was inspired by lots of different things from the US, Japan and Europe.
Do you feel like you're taking a lot of risks with MadWorld? It's an adult and Western only game. It's exclusive to the Wii. And it has a unique black and white visual style.
Atsushi Inaba: Sure, there are definitely risks involved with any game but we're confident the game will be successful. We chose to develop on the Wii because it's currently the most popular console in the world and it isn't just a family console, it's played by a huge amount of people of all ages, from small children through to adults and even grandparents.
There also aren't a huge amount of adult titles out there on Wii so we thought we'd make a game to tap into this audience. We're confident that the game will be successful but only time will tell.
Why have you, a Japanese developer, decided to directly target the Western market?
Atsushi Inaba: When we talk about the video game market globally, Japan is no longer a huge market, at least not in comparison with Europe and the US. The reality is that only studios creating titles with global appeal can survive. We've tried going one step ahead of that in MadWorld, which has been made only for the western market. I think this kind of thing is going to become more usual in the near future.
What kind of research have you done into the Western demographic to make sure MadWorld attracts them? Do all the kills come from your minds, or have you used Western inspirations to influence the game's design and kill animations?
Atsushi Inaba: We consciously chose hip-hop of the current western music trend, of course we knew that hip-hop would work well in the game. Same thing with the graphics. We designed Jack to be a tough guy, rather not to be a skinny cute boy, because it's more compelling to the western gamers.
Kill animations were all created by ourselves. In terms of game design and character animations, we did not create these through inspiration from western style, these came as a result of our own creativity.
Which hip-hop acts are you working with for the soundtrack?
Atsushi Inaba: We worked with several hip-hop acts for the soundtrack including Ox, Doujah Raze, Optimus and S.O.U.L. There are 20 tracks in total and each track is completely original and was created specifically for MADWORLD so you won't find these songs anywhere else. You can only hear this soundtrack in full by purchasing the game, and as your progress through the game you'll hear new tracks.
Why did Platinum Games decide to partner up with SEGA?
Atsushi Inaba: Firstly they offered us a greater amount of freedom in our development. Secondly we felt that they understood and empathised with our challenge to create new IPs. The relationship works really well and we hope it continues.
Is MadWorld just about killing cannon fodder? Or does the game's concept open up as the game continues?
Atsushi Inaba: It's a fighting game, but it also has a very involving storyline. Plus there's so much variety in how you can take down your enemies and you're rewarded via a points system for being as creative as you can in doing so.
What's your favourite kill in the game?
Atsushi Inaba: I don't have a favourite kill, but I do like to do as much as possible to an enemy before I finally finish him off. Like spear him with a signpost, put a tyre around his waist and then chuck a bin on his head, and then use a baseball bat to smash him onto a spike wall...
Is there a chance of the title coming to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, or will the series always be exclusive to the Nintendo Wii?
Atsushi Inaba: The first thought was to bring something interesting to the Wii. We are confident that we have achieved that. We would like to take more time to think of the future of this franchise so you'll just have to see what happens.
Dallas asks: Will the game support classic controller support?
Atsushi Inaba: No. Supporting classic controller was not the option from the beginning of the project because our goal was to create an easily controlled game with the Wii remote.
Ulisses Nascimento asks: What will we see in MadWorld that may increase the replay value after we're done with the main single-player campaign?
Atsushi Inaba: The main single-player game itself has enough freedom to be played again and again, and there are some weapons that are only available after you complete the game. Also, you can play Bloodbath Challenge multiplayer mini-games with your friends, such as Man Darts and Death Press.
Deep asks: Are you upset that the game won't be released in Japan?
Atsushi Inaba: Each territory has its own guidelines about game content, especially about violence. It's a rule, so we just have to accept it. MadWorld is a unique game which includes opposing themes; YES and NO to the violence.
Also, we never encourage realistic violence. As you can see in the game, our message is to enjoy over-the-top violent actions in a virtual world. I would like all press to understand our aims correctly when they write about the game.
Our thanks go out to Atsushi Inaba, the rest of the PlatinumGames development team and Sega too.