When most video game fans hear about a licensed game tied to a movie, they immediately dismiss it. This reaction is somewhat justified, as the list of bad "movie games" is almost infinite. For many reasons, not the least of which is the rushed publishing schedule, creating a successful movie tie-in is a challenge for developers. So it's a good thing for James Bond fans that the game based on the upcoming "Quantum of Solace" film is being produced by a company that's had success with tie-ins in the past.
In 2004, Treyarch developed the "Spider-Man 2" movie tie-in game. Fans and critics not only lauded the game as a great tie-in, but also as one of the best Spider-Man games ever. Treyarch is currently receiving a ton of attention for their upcoming "Call of Duty: World at War" game, but they've also been working on the tie-in to the upcoming Bond adventure, "Quantum of Solace." The game spans the storyline of both the new movie and 2006's "Casino Royale," and it will be powered by a modified version of the "Call of Duty 4" engine.
CBR News spoke with Garrett Young, Executive Producer for the Bond team at Treyarch, to find out more about "Quantam of Solace," which is scheduled to release in the US for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, PC and DS on November 4.
CBR: While the game follows the story of both "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace," it's far from linear. Can you explain how players will be able to approach some of the iconic movie moments from a totally different perspective?
GY: Something really cool about our game is how much more deeply players will get to experience the story from the "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace" movies.
For example, we have a level that takes place on the train to Montenegro. The filmmakers filmed an entire chase and battle sequence on the train - immediately after Bond meets Vesper for the first time - but the scene ended up on the cutting room floor. We thought it would make for great gameplay, so we asked the filmmakers if we could use it in our game, and they said yes! It ended up being a really fun level, and expands the original fiction in a way that lets gamers experience more of the story than they saw in the original movie.
What assets from the movies did you have access to while working on the game?
We worked really closely with the studios to design the levels and cinematics for this game. We got an early draft of the movie script late last year, we got to visit the set four times, and we got thousands of photos and dozens of hours of video. That synergy between movie and game really comes across in how our levels look and feel.
We also took photographs, 3D scans and voice-over recordings with all the major actors, including Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, and others. They were all really supportive, and they very much want us to make a great game.
A couple of the additions you've made to the "Call of Duty 4" engine are the third-person perspective and the cover system. How will the game toggle between first and third-person in-game?
The concept of a "persistent character" was our biggest technical hurdle in building atop such a robust engine as we have in "Call of Duty 4." From a gamer's perspective, the blend happens seamlessly: you can choose to play at all times from a first-person view, or if you want to approach things more strategically - or need some protection when in battle - you can hit a button to go into third-person cover on a piece of vertical geometry.
We decided to innovate in this area because it improved the core combat gameplay experience and because Bond is such a cool character - we knew people would want to see him on screen at times.
Bond has always been known for his toys. What sort of gadgets will be available to players in the game?
The vision behind our game centers around the new James Bond. Daniel Craig is more physical, more cunning, and more dangerous than any Bond before. Bond didn't rely too heavily on gadgets in the "Casino Royale" movie, so gamers won't rely too much on gadgets in our game (though we all miss Q!)
There are a few important gadgets in our game, but they're not as core to the overall gameplay experience as they may have been for previous Bond games.
How does the melee component of the game work? Will Bond have a series of attacks that can be used at random, or will the moves be contextual?
All the melee moves are contextual. This cinematic take-down system shows off Daniel Craig's physical, hands-on nature as Bond, and users can trigger it whenever they get close to an AI enemy - whether sneaking up stealthily or in full hand-to-hand combat.
Multiplayer has been confirmed for the game. What sort of maps and modes can we expect?
We support 12 players online across different game modes that experienced multiplayer gamers will recognize and feel comfortable with right away.
We also have a few exciting brand new modes that let you play as James Bond, including Bond Versus, a mode where one player plays as Bond and everyone else plays as agents in the Organization. The agents plant three bombs in the map while Bond works to either disarm the bombs or take down the entire Organization. I can tell you from first-hand experience that playing as Bond in this mode is a complete rush - you really need to know the map and make smart decisions, or else you'll get taken out fast!
Will the multiplayer feature a leveling system similar to "Call of Duty 4?"
It's familiar but not identical to the Perks system from "CoD4." Our leveling system revolves around earning credits to purchase and upgrade weapons, grenades/mines, and gadgets over the course of time. We haven't done the math on how many different permutations are in the game, but I know the number is pretty high.
In multiplayer people can personalize their multiplayer experience based on their style of play. And we all had a great time in our "testing" sessions during development.
What are the platform-specific differences between the different versions of "Quantum of Solace?"
We worked hard to keep the core gameplay and storyline consistent between all versions of the game. We don't want gamers to feel that they need to buy one or another console to get the "true" James Bond experience; our goal is to give them the same experience, regardless which console they own.