With "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" hitting theaters in July, Mike Mignola fans are reasonably expecting a new Hellboy game to be making its way onto store shelves as well. The game is coming, but what might come as a surprise, however, is that it's not your usual movie tie-in. "Hellboy: The Science of Evil" is a completely unique, all-new adventure featuring the red-skinned paranormal investigator, as well as some other familiar faces from the Beureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The game combines elements of both the movies and Mignola's comic book universe to create a story to appeal to all Hellboy fans.
Developed by Krome Studios and published by Konami, "Hellboy: The Science of Evil" will be released June 24 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PSP. Richard Foster, Associate Producer at Krome Studios, took some time to chat with CBR News about the game on the eve of its release.
What is the basic storyline for the new game and how does it fit into the Hellboy universe?
The main storyline of "Hellboy: The Science of Evil" sees our hero on the trail of a crazed witch, stumbling across adventure in a collection of freshly distinct stories, replete with Nazis, Lovecraftian demons and European folklore. Hidden ties are slowly revealed - leading Hellboy toward a final face-off with Herman Von Klempt and his most awful creation. I think Mignola said it best, but essentially each take on Hellboy is its own version, drawing from the masterpiece that he created in the comics. So the movies take it to a slightly different place, and so too does the videogame. Each format is quintessentially Hellboy, but through the nature in which each is delivered to the end-user (the fans) they get a slightly different experience.
Not only were you able to get "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" actors Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones to create voice-overs for the game, but you also enlisted the aid of film director Guillermo Del Toro and Mike Mignola. What role did they play in the game's development?
We've been very lucky to get a lot of direct input from Guillermo Del Toro and Mike Mignola, plus heaps of support from the guys at Revolution Studios and Dark Horse Comics. They've been involved throughout the whole process and we're extremely grateful for the amount of time, effort and hard work from all parties. Guillermo and Mike are exceptionally cool guys, and it's been fantastic to have such excellent feedback and direction through the various stages of the project - across conceptualization, art style and plot direction. Both guys even attended our VO sessions with the Hellboy cast and have been an absolute pleasure to work with.
What can we expect from the gameplay as Hellboy and the Right Hand of Doom are smashing through hordes of Nazis and demons?
We've strived to make combat and movement characteristically Hellboy in feel - you run, jump, fall and crash through the world. At its core, Hellboy is a tactical brawler, and provides the player with a huge array of combat moves. There are over 20 distinct moves within the powerful unarmed combos, as well as a number of completely unique weapon combos. These can be used by taking advantage of any of the three classes of "impromptu" weapons that can be found within the world - either from disarmed opponents or ripped from the surrounding environment. Perhaps the most exciting move set though, is Hellboy's grappling ability. Once you've grabbed an opponent you can slam, punch, head butt, throw and perform contextual finishing moves to defeat your foes.
And of course, there's that big gun, which wouldn't be complete without Hellboy's special rounds.
Can you give us some more specifics about the contextual grappling system and what sort of environmental weapons players will be able to use?
The contextual grappling system gives players the ability to interact with many elements in the game by simply pressing one or two buttons. So for example, you could see a window shutter attached to a building, decide to walk up to it and rip it off its hinges - then proceed to pummel someone senseless. Or let's say you want to toy with some of your enemies, so you grab a nearby Bambini and now have the option for some close-quarters face punching, slamming him to the floor, kicking him towards other nearby monsters; or you just wanna rip off his head and lob it like a makeshift grenade. Each different enemy has a unique set of contextual moves, so you're going to have heaps of fun finding them all.
The game features a cooperative multiplayer function that allows you to play as Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman. Will Abe and Liz be playable from the start, or will you need to unlock them?
Abe and Liz are available from the start, but are only playable through multiplayer. We felt that most people playing solo will want to follow the story as Hellboy, or team up with mates to tackle the adventure ahead - but we didn't want to have two Hellboy's running around a level, as it would look totally wrong. So we incorporated the other members of the BPRD to help back-up Hellboy in the multiplayer version of the game. And believe me Abe and Liz sure know how to kick some monster-ass!
Will other characters be making appearance in the game besides Liz and Abe?
Our playable line-up consists of Red, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and one other super-secret character. Other recognizable characters also feature in the story (but are not playable) such as Herman von Klempt and his maniacal mechanical apes.
How will the PSP version of the game differ from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions?
Whereas the console version has a much more realistic look, the PSP relies on a more cartoon-esque style and feel; still retaining the important shading and eerie undertones, but losing the vast majority of noise that just didn't sit well on the PSP. Following the unique PSP art style we've also included a number of 2D cinematics, rather than just having the traditional in-game non-interactive sequences. These again help amplify the style we've focused on for the PSP and I hope people will agree look pretty cool.
The gameplay and combat is phenomenal across all versions and we've worked hard to deliver sharp bouts of combat for the handheld version, playing on the pick-up-and-play aspect of the portable hardware.
Rest assured that both the console and handheld versions involve a decent amount of face punching and hitting bad guys with large objects.