Thursday, October 01, 2009

Brütal summary

For those of you who couldn't watch Double Fine's live stream for Brütal Legend, here are some notes. Maybe someone recorded the stream for YouTube so you can see Emily microwave her grandma's pathetically unmetal CD collection.

The devs expect Brütal Legend to appeal to many kinds of gamers. It has action, open world gameplay, a deep plot with lots of cutscenes, and the humor isn't all inside jokes. They say you don't have to be a headbanger to love the game.

Gamers into exploration should love it. It's full of emergent gameplay. "Roughly half the world is unlocked from the beginning" of the game. The rest is opened up as you progress through the story. You can continue to explore and interact with the world after you've finished the plot.

The world is massive... full of variety and wacky stuff. It's big enough that the game includes world map (I'm assuming in-game). Within the world are tons of cool mini-locales giving tribute to this or that, as well as "objects of power" to discover. You dig up buried metal to unlock songs and Deuce upgrades.

A wide variety of creatures, each with its own custom animations. One dev mentioned passing by some headbangers in the game and hearing them say "We're just running around kicking ass!" or something to that effect.

Through the game, you acquire upgrades for your axe (the Axe of Ormagoden), for your guitar and for the Deuce / Druid Plow (your hotrod). Guitar solos act as combat skills. One was shown that brings a fiery zeppelin crashing down onto enemies. Another literally melts the faces of enemies.

Erik Robson said that "as the game progresses, you take over territory.... It's not uncommon to see your patrols clash with enemy patrols.... Patrols grow over the course of the game".

Missions vary greatly, from racing in the Deuce to "helping a mortar operator aim his mortar". There was mention of "secondary missions that get unlocked as you progress".

Brad Muir is one of the devs who worked on Brütal Legend's multiplayer. He said Double Fine "took a page out of Blizzard's book" by first focusing on the wants of hardcore players, and then ensuring gameplay is accessible to everyone. The single-player mode builds up to the multiplayer, unlocking units and preparing you for the more complex systems. Competing players can choose the same faction. The factions were designed with "a high level of asymmetry", meaning that each feels very different from the others, like in Starcraft. It's "really an action game at its heart"... at least as much action as strategy, so don't think of it as RTS gameplay. Here's a multiplayer tutorial video from the game:

The game's characters and beasts were designed with a lot of displayed meaning, a lot of symbolism. For example, Eddie has the big hands of a roadie who is always working with them. Dark Ophelia is like a bride who was left at the altar, with a perpetual rain cloud over her head, clothes torn from walking obliviously through briars and such. A lot of it's pretty crazy, like an enemy who "vomits a bunch of rats onto the battlefield". One of Eddie's moves is a kick accompanied by a devil-horns rock salute.

All animations was done by hand... no motion-capture. There's a lot of detail put into Eddie's facial expressions. Tasha said Jack Black is "kind of a cartoony person" and showed how expressive his eyebrows and mouth are. She showed how cutscenes are made -- first with storyboarding, then timing out the scenes and figuring out camera angles using static models.

There will be an art book.

And that's all I've got. Rock on!

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