Thursday Sep 08, 2011
As part of an ongoing series, we are very honored to post the first Developer Diary from the good folks at WayForward, creators of the upcoming Aliens: Infestation. The first entry discusses the team at WayForward and their general philosophy, while offering insight into the Aliens world that they are building into. These developer diaries are shared between the SEGA blogs (you are here!) and the Gearbox community blog at Gearboxity.com. We hope you enjoy the first entry!
Who is WayForward and What is Their Design Philosophy for Aliens: Infestation?
Adam Tierney of WayForward (Director):
But for me personally, Aliens is a step beyond that. James Cameron’s 1986 movie is arguably (and I WILL argue this) the greatest action film ever made, and holds up remarkably well to this day. Not just because of the horror (which is there) and the action (BOY is it there), but because of the incredible characters and world Cameron wove together. Everything felt like it extended beyond the boundaries of those two hours we saw.
So when we got the call from Sega and Gearbox about making a 2D pixel DS game based on Aliens, needless to say we were pretty ecstatic. And when I say based on Aliens, I mean BASED ON ALIENS. This isn’t just an action title that happens to feature Xenomorphs. This is a game firmly set in the world and events established by James Cameron, and Ridley Scott before him. It’s a game that pays homage to both of those films, without recycling from either, and continues where they left off.
It also came along at the perfect time for WayForward. Having just finished Contra 4 on the Nintendo DS, we were in the perfect mindset for another 2D action platformer. Contra 4 had been very well received by both critics and fans for its retro feel and tough-as-nails gameplay. But at the same time, Contra is a very reactionary series: run, something appears, kill it before it kills you. There are few subtleties in a world of shirtless mercenaries. And while the two brands certainly share the same intense action, we knew creating a game based on Aliens would require a deeper connection between the characters and their world.
So we took a long, hard look at what worked so well in the James Cameron film. And we found that it all essentially boils down to two things: love and loss. James Cameron’s recipe for success was to write the most endearing, badass, memorable action heroes ever, and then kill them off one by one. Love and loss, that’s what the film was built on, beyond all the fantastic action and inventive sci-fi visuals.
We realized a true Aliens game would only work if players got as invested in our characters as we were in Hicks, Vasquez, Apone, Bishop…yes, even Hudson. We had to make players love everything about our Marines: their weapons, their abilities, their appearance, their personalities, even their humor. So that when they died (and we’re talking real, permanent death), it actually meant something. That’s a pretty tall order for a game where the characters are only 40 pixels tall.
So right from the start, it was apparent that the heart of the game rested with our troops. And once we figured that out, we knew we were on the track to creating a really unique experience for players.
Onward to Gearboxity.com for part 2!
But wait, there’s more! Head over to the Gearboxity blog and catch part 2 of the WayForward Developer Diary which touches on all things Gameplay from Cole Phillips (Lead Designer) and Jeff Pomegranate (Producer). Onward to Part 2!
Posted by Julian in Aliens: Infestation on 2:18:02PM Sep 08, 2011
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