It's All in the Chimichangas! Deadpool Developer Interview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 03:22pm 23/08/12 | Comments
AusGamers’ roving reporter, Naren Hooson, took the time to infiltrate High Moon Studios while out at GamesCom this year to speak with Deadpool game director, Sean Miller. Here’s what he had to say...
AusGamers: Approaching a game like Deadpool, there’re a lot of requirements for that, really, because he’s such an interesting character. We saw him pop up in the Wolverine movie, and I think a lot of people were pretty disappointed about his portrayal in that. And High Moon has a strong reputation with the Transformers license, and we’re seeing licensed games like the Batman Arkham series... factoring in all of the above, how are you guys approaching this kind of game?
Sean Miller: You know, I’ll tell you, it’s one of the things that I love about the Deadpool character is, I’ve been a fan of the Marvel universe since I was a kid. So just like with the Transformers, we get to play in a world that we care about and really believe in. So when you take it from that, just like we did with the Transformers, we’re kind of bringing that love right out of the gate. We have, I think, an understanding of what makes Deadpool special and we worked with Marvel to make sure that we do; we’re getting it right. We’re staying true to the comic book roots of the character but also drawing from the things that we feel are successful in other areas; videogames, all of that other stuff.
There were some things that they did get right in the movie, there are things that they didn’t. And I think that, you know, from a fan perspective, what we really want to do is, we’re coming at it as fans saying, this is the game that we’d like to play as Deadpool. And the most exciting thing is that Marvel is totally behind it. They’re on board with making this a fun experience, and they’re not afraid of making fun of the things that need to get made fun of. It’s the thing that excites them about Deadpool as a character - that it offers a different spin on the superhero universe. And when we first came to it we weren’t sure, like, how’s this going to work? So we took a look at all the things we thought were special about Deadpool and then we put together a package and started talking with Marvel and showed them, this is what we’d like to do with Deadpool. And they had come with their idea, what they’d like to do with Deadpool, and it was pretty much the same. It was about capturing the fourth wall experience, it was about doing it as a mature game and not pulling the punches for those things but always making sure that Deadpool is having fun, and you’re having fun with it.
So we’re working with Daniel Way, who is a writer for the comics for the last six years. He’s the guy that sort of invented the three-voice thing for Deadpool, which I think, you know, some people like, some people don’t. I think in a videogame, it offers us an opportunity to have those characters. Like, in a usual game you usually have someone guiding you around, well now it’s you, you’re inside your own head.
AG: So the personalities really come out in the game?
Sean: Exactly. You know, and Deadpool is like, he is our own audience. He’s got a sort of a... just a personality that appeals to gamers. He ends up being very popular in any game that he’s in.
So I guess, that’s a roundabout way of coming at that. The way we approached it was to find the things that we like about Deadpool, and those are the things that we’re looking to push and exploit. And this is a game about having fun; it’s about poking fun at ourselves as a company, as an industry in ways that you can’t do in almost any other videogame. And then other Marvel characters... I love the fact that he bounces off of other characters in the universe and he’s a guy who can make fun of Wolverine to his face and live to tell the tale.
AG: And will we see, I mean, can you talk about any of the characters that we’ll see?
Sean: We’re not announcing any of the other characters yet. We have talked a little bit of course, as you saw Psylocke in there. She’ll be making an appearance, we will have some announcements on that.
AG: I saw written references to Spider-Man, Punisher, Ghost Rider…
Sean: [Laughs] we do have some references...
AG: All present in the Daniel Way comics?
Sean: I think we’ll definitely be referencing characters from around the universe but I’m not going to guarantee any appearances.
AG: You also mentioned the hero/villain role that he plays in the Daniel Way comics. I mean, there’s a point where he starts off as Deadpool but then he goes in to… he sort of starts reflecting and gets bored with it and goes into that hero mode, thinks that’s the way to go and then back to a mercenary. Do we see that? How would you tackle something like that?
Sean: You know, we’re trying to make it something that fits within the contemporary universe, we’re not rehashing, necessarily, old storylines but we’re drawing from those things and the idea. Our Deadpool is one that’s sort of matured through that. You know, he’s gotten over wanting, needing to be a hero. And yet the things that he learnt along that journey are all part of what make him still… he’s still a heroic character. I think Deadpool wants to be liked by people. I think that’s something that I connect to personally, you want to be liked by people and you don’t necessarily understand why. Why it doesn’t’ work and he’s… his methods are so bizarre. And he doesn’t’ understand why anybody would be angry that he killed the bad guy, like, I got the bad guy!
AG: That was the point!
Sean: That was the point. There are some great moments in the comics during that hero arc that they were really playing with that, you know, we’re drawing from some of those things. But it’s more about exploring the fruit of those long-standing relationships, there’ll be characters that you’ve seen in other comics and in the videogames and things, you’ll see, kind of, those relationships played out like they should be.
AG: We saw in the demo a bit of that, sort of that foresight that Deadpool always has but no one else knows what’s going on, you know, with the jumping castle. Is that going to be sort of a... I mean, that’s how he is in the comics, and then he reminds himself with the other personalities or however it works, and then it all works out. But only he kind of knows that, even the comic reader doesn’t know, you get hints and things, but...
Sean: He’s the ultimate example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Sometimes even the other voices in his head didn’t know that that was going to happen, you know. He’s going in a million different directions. There are things that you’re going to get a chance to do in the game that may not make any sense when you’re doing them, but you know that they’re probably going to pay off. And when they do they’ll be in a way that I hope will make you laugh and smile. It’s something that is critical to the character and to keeping the game fresh. You’re going to want to go to the next area or play the next level ‘cause you’re going to want to see what you just did pay off. And what am I going to do there? I don’t know. Or what’s he going to say?
AG: Do you think, I guess for someone like Daniel Way, who’s been in that medium and really had such a huge impact, a lot of the time in videogames we’ll see either a stand-alone game or something maybe referencing maybe a movie perhaps. Could this possibly be a way to further comics now? And tie in a lot more? This is the first we’re kind of seeing, with Daniel Way on board.
Sean: I really hope that it is. I think it’s an important part of the puzzle. You’re working on something that is really near and dear to a lot of people, and you get a guy who knows that character so well. He’s going to help make sure that it’s authentic to the character. And we have a team of people that are helping with the writing and things like that, and Daniel is really helping make sure that we’re staying true to what the character is.
I would really love it if people play the Deadpool game and then want to go buy a comic. Whether you want to go buy an X-Men comic and learn more about Wolverine or you want to go buy a Deadpool comic. I’d love it if it were a Deadpool comic, but I do think that there’s an opportunity to turn some people back to some of those stories. It’s interesting because comics are transitioning into the digital age.
AG: I’ve got all mine on here (points to iPad).
Sean: - Yeah, you get them on your iPad, your phone, all sorts of stuff, which is weird for some of us who grew up with the tangible paper stuff. You can see the colours (on iPad) are so vibrant; it’s a new way to experience them, so this is a way to kind of tie back into that.
AG: In the demo I noticed it kind of has that superhero feel in terms of playability but then Deadpool has guns. A lot of the heroes don’t really have guns they use different methods. So it looks as though you’ve kind of tied in, I guess an action game with, in a way, a sort of cover shooter of sorts, would you say it’s heading that way?
Sean: I wouldn’t classify it as a cover shooter, but it is going to take advantage of the mechanics that you’ve become comfortable with in other action brawler kinds of games and third-person shooters. We’re kind of bringing those together and making them accessible, that’s really important. We’re not aiming this at a niche hardcore kind of group. But we have stuff that our core gamers are going to enjoy and there’s all the things that some of… the depths that you can get from the different types of combos and how you’re choosing your weapons. In some cases when you’re choosing them, those are all things that will appeal to more hardcore gamers. But it’s really going to be something that crosses the action brawler and third-person market.
AG: And also, we saw a currency system in place, how’s that working at the moment?
Sean: Yeah, Deadpool loves money, probably more than he loves anything else, except maybe chimichangas. And that’s built into the reward system that you’re going to get.
Deadpool is making the game that he wants to make, so it’s going to make the things that he thinks are really important, really important. So you’re earning money. You’re spending that money on things that you can upgrade. There are a couple of other systems that are in place, but that’s an important one for Deadpool.
AG: Probably the last one is regeneration. How does that work when you take it to a videogame? I mean a lot of videogames already have this, you know, it’s an unspoken thing, where as that’s a huge factor for Deadpool.
Sean: Right, you’re going to actually be able to see it visually. So much like you did in say, the Wolverine game, where he can have pieces blown off of him, holes blown through and then heal them. You’ll get to see it on that level; it gets tied into the gameplay, the moment-to-moment experience. Deadpool can even have limbs chopped off and then put them back on. So the way that ties in to who Deadpool is, is what will happen in our game, but it’s tied more towards the being Deadpool experience than anything else.
AG: Sorry, maybe one more. Are there any references to origin stories at all? For people who may be picking this game up and it’s the first time they’ve come across the character or they only know a little bit?
Sean: We will be making references to the origin and there’s ways to learn more about who Deadpool is and where he’s come from. But we’re not telling this as an origin story. We didn’t want to go back to the beginning and have to do all of that. But I think much like you see in the comics they’ll often tell the origin story in small chunks and you understand - Ok, this is who this guy is, now get on with the story. That’s another thing that’s great about working with the comic writer is they kind of know how to summarise that stuff pretty quick. So it’s going to be great with that. I’d also like people to - hey you want to know more about that guy? - go back to the comics, [that] points you in that direction. Something that you get to do, Deadpool knows that he’s in the comics, so he can point you to the comic to where you can learn about that thing, you want to know more about that thing.
AG: Sorry, I keep thinking of more questions.
Sean: That’s Ok, I could talk about this stuff all day.
AG: Awesome. Nolan North, he’s pretty renowned in the videogames business. Why was he the right choice for Deadpool and would this maybe be the most he’s ever had to talk in a videogame, with three personalities?
Sean: It is going to be… I don’t know if it’s the most, that would be a better question for him but it’s got to be up there. It’s got to be. He’s actually really excited about it. Nolan actually has a long history with this character. So he’s played him in almost every videogame that’s been out. Of course, you could also argue that he’s played a character in almost every videogame ever made. You know, he’s a really talented guy and he knows what this character can do and who he is. And he’s also really interested in exploring some of the things that we’re doing to bring it closer to the comic book universe, which they haven’t really done too much in the videogames. They’ve touched on a little bit in some of the broadcast stuff.
So instead of having to go to a guy and say, alright this is who that guy is or, you know, trying to figure it out, Nolan knows who this character is, so he comes to it much like Peter Cullen comes to Optimus Prime. You know, he knows who the guy is, has some ideas, and so it becomes a bit more of a collaborative experience about finding the right voice for the right moments. And so far it’s been really great. He’s just really excited about being part of the Deadpool universe again, because he loves that character
AG: Awesome, I can’t wait to see more.
Sean:Thanks for taking the time out man.