Jax and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper and Bentley battle for supremacy in a galactic game show while sinister plots hatch in the background. The game was designed exclusively for the Move controller and involved more than 50 platform levels.
We talked with Harley Baldwin White-Wiedow, design director at Nihilistic Software, to find out how the game came together and why those iconic characters were chosen.
Was the idea to make this a Move game to show off the controller’s capabilities? Why the Move controller over a traditional Dual Shock controller?
When we started building this game, we started with the goal to build a game from the ground up that was for the PlayStation Move. Sony asked us to take a look at the controller, and it was really interesting, really exciting. The kind of data we could get and use was really deep, so we wanted to explore the capabilities, and of course, once we knew what it could do, we wanted to show them off.
The characters are classic and beloved. Did you start from a bigger pool and whittle down to the six and how were they selected?
Well, certainly there are a lot of PlayStation Heroes – lots of beloved characters that have been exclusive to that platform. We did want to do a game that had a kind of internal coherence, though, so we chose the characters because they worked well together, and because we felt that they could inhabit the same physical and narrative space and be more than the sum of their parts, rather than rubbing up against each other awkwardly. Also, this cast of characters gave us a similar set of mechanics and histories that we could use to inspire specific game play elements, so that was a win.
Do the characters behave as they do in their own titles?
We worked pretty closely with all three of the original developers to ensure that they were the right personalities. We really wanted Ratchet to be Ratchet, etc., so we spent a lot of time on that in terms of art, and their worlds, and their roles in the story. Game play wise, we focused on delivering a mash up that is really made for the PlayStation Move, rather than the traditional action/adventure platformer that is really more suited for the Dual Shock. We kept the game accessible and made sure we were letting players explore what the technology could do, and have more of a pick-up-and-play experience.
Are there particular benefits to playing one character over another during each scenario?
Absolutely – each character has his own set of abilities that change the experience, so depending on the situation or the player’s goal, some abilities will have an advantage over others. We really wanted each character to be valuable in and of himself, so that people could play with different characters and have different experiences and compare those.
Was the game geared toward a particular age group or fan group?
One thing we knew we wanted to do from the beginning was keep the game really accessible to young gamers and new gamers. We wanted families to have fun with this game, and kids, and people that you don’t necessarily think of as gamers, but who like to have fun with some pretty cool technology. We also wanted to make sure that for those who are fans of the franchises, we seeded the world and experience with lots of little elements that they would immediately recognize and appreciate.
“PlayStation Move Heroes” is available now and an exclusive title for the PlayStation 3 and the Move motion controller. It is rated E10+ due to fantasy violence.