Producer Talks Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Mark Millar and J.G. Jones unleashed their twisted take on the superhero genre in 2003 with "Wanted" from Top Cow. In the book, main character Wesley Gibson finds out that he is the son of a famous supervillain called The Killer, and that years ago, all of the supervillains banded together to wipe superheroes off the face of the planet, even going so far as to make people forget they ever existed. The story follows Wesley as he embraces his father's legacy and joins the Fraternity, the group of supervillains that secretly runs the world.

2008 saw the adaptation of "Wanted" for the big screen, and although much of the comic's story was changed, the themes of Wesley embracing his legacy and joining the Fraternity were major elements of the film. The movie was a huge success, going on to gross over $340 million.

At New York Comic Con 2009, Universal and Top Cow gave fans a sneak peak at one of the more interesting games coming out this year, "Wanted: Weapons of Fate." Developer GRIN has taken elements of both the comic book and movie and combined them with unique gameplay mechanics like bullet curving and a momentum building cover system. "Wanted: Weapons of Fate" is looking to put its own stamp on the action game genre when it hits shelves later this month.

CBR News had a chance to talk with Associate Producer Nick Torchia from Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group, to get some more specific details on "Wanted: Weapons of Fate."

CBR: We know the game picks up a few hours after the events of the "Wanted" movie. What can you tell us about the storyline?

Nick Torchia: This story starts about five hours after the "Wanted" film ends. So we are treating this as essentially "Wanted 1.5." The film deals with the relationship with Wesley's father, whereas in the game, our storyline deals with his mother. We have a nice bridge between the film and the game and then we head off into entirely new territory.

We've seen and heard a lot about the bullet-curving mechanic that really makes "Wanted: Weapons of Fate" unique. Is that a static ability, or will the range and effect of it evolve over the course of the game?

It is something you will learn in the very beginning of the game so that you can become comfortable with it. You're right, it is new and unique, and we wanted to give players enough time to get used to the mechanic. We spent a good amount of time making curving bullets as fun and accessible as possible. Since no one had ever done it before, we started from scratch in developing something that would be easy to learn but take time to get really good at.

The game ramps up the difficulty through the enemy AI, so over time, the enemies will react differently when they see curving bullets coming at them. Some enemies will dodge or quickly evade so you have to use other mechanics, such as flanking or close quarters combat, to defeat them. The most important aspect of bullet curving is that it feels fun and I think we did a nice job with that.

It was discussed at the NYCC 2009 panel that players will play through part of the game as Wesley and part of the game as Cross. How will that be presented?

We approached this idea by creating flashback missions in which you could play as Cross. If you have seen the movie, you can understand why we couldn't have him play in the same timeline as Wesley, so we have the player jump back and forth between the two of them.

We really wanted to bring Cross into the game because in the film, he is constantly referred to as an amazing assassin - the best - and we thought it would be fun to empower the player with a Fraternity legend. It also allowed us to have some fun and dive more into the history of both Cross and Wesley, and to tell even more of the back story of the Fraternity.

The game takes a bit of a different approach to cover, almost using momentum to propel the character through the environment. Can you explain how the cover system works?

In "Wanted," we made the cover very fast and very simple at the same time. It has a context-sensitive mechanic, but you move much faster when compared to games like "Gears of War" and "Rainbow Six Vegas." Those are both amazing games but we didn't just want to rip off their cover for the sake of having cover.

We really wanted to do two things: first, to iterate on existing cover mechanics to make something uniquely our own; and second, to create an in-game mechanic that really **fit** the character and attitude of the franchise. Fraternity assassins are incredibly fast and acrobatic, which meant our cover had to be more "Tony Hawk" than "Gears of War." To make this happen, we created "chaining cover" which, as you said, is like building momentum as you quickly move from point-to-point.

If you use all of the mechanics properly you can speed through the environment and stab an enemy over and around any object. No game out there - whether it has cover or not - moves like "Wanted: Weapons of Fate."

You've also brought a "rails shooter" element into the game as well. How does that fit into the rest of the gameplay?

This is something that we wanted to experiment with to present some of the more over-the-top action sequences that the film delivered on so well. Everybody remembers the car flipping over the roof of the limo to hit the guy through the sunroof. We wanted to recreate that feeling in the game as well, but not through your basic quick time events with simple button pressing. We decided to actually let the player control more of those outcomes. So you don't just memorize a specific button pattern, but you have to move the target reticule in a very similar way to the classic arcade game "Time Crisis."

I think it works really well and allowed us to create the elaborate set pieces where the player does some off the wall moves that will be very reminiscent of the film.

You're introducing some new characters into the "Wanted" universe with this game. Can you tell us a little about them?

Since this is technically a sequel to the film, we had the opportunity to create new characters that expand on the "Wanted" universe. One in particular is Arana (which means "Spider" in Spanish), and she is the game's Femme Fatale and was inspired by the Angelina Jolie character from the film. Paz Vega brings her to life through her voice-over performance. I was lucky enough to sit in on her voice over session in Madrid, Spain. There are many new characters - you'll have to play to meet them all.

We also have Common, the hip-hop artist, returning but playing a different character, and Terrance Stamp returns to play the character Pekwarksy, who was seen in the film.

In the gameplay demo shown at NYCC 2009, Cross shot out the door of an airplane he was in, causing the whole cabin to depressurize. Is that indicative of how interactive the rest of the environment is in the game?

Throughout the game, we have tons of exploding and interactive environments that allow the player to take out enemies. As you saw, it is fun to curve a bullet into an airplane door behind an enemy and then watch him get sucked out.

Pistols and knives seem to be Wesley's killing instruments of choice, but can we expect to see some other weapons in the game as well?

Yes, you will come across sniper rifles, mini-guns and my personal favorite Dual Mac 10 Silenced Uzi's. But pistols and knives are, in fact, the focus of his game. It almost sounds like heresy when thinking about traditional 3rd person action games, right? But Wesley and Cross can do much more with a pistol than most "Rugged Space Marines" can do with an arsenal of rocket launchers, shotguns and sticky grenades.

You've forgone multiplayer in order to focus in on the single player experience of the game. What about the replayability factor? Are there elements on the game that will keep players coming back?

We have hidden throughout the game kill orders that unlock tons of stuff such as new modes of play and playable characters.

What is the extent of J.G. Jones' involvement with "Wanted: Weapons of Fate?"

J.G. was great. He did some special unlockable art pieces that you can find in the game.

"Wanted: Weapons of Fate" is scheduled to release on March 24 for the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Fans can find out more information about the game at www.wantedvideogame.com.

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