Earlier last week, we had the opportunity to speak with the Senior Games Designer at A2M, Avi Winkler. Other than the bits of answers we gave away, Avi also discussed why WET will wall run, load its guns, do a Ninja backflip and shoot you right on the head once it’s released on September 15.
Want to know why multiplayer was scrapped? Dive inside. Want to know what you get for chaining combos? Shoot inside. Want to know just how sexy Eliza Dushku is? Google is your friend. Good thing the rest of our answers aren’t on Google.
Head inside and learn the latest on Bethesda’s upcoming WET.
Gamer Limit: First things first, thanks for taking the time to speak with us Avi.
With all the talk regarding online play being the ‘future of gaming’, why did A2M decide to scrap the idea of multiplayer? Do you think WET’s single player can co-exist with an online component like 2K Games have done with Bioshock 2 or Naughty Dogs with Uncharted 2?
Avi: Actually, I really feel “variety” is the future of gaming with many new outlets allowing more and more genres to reach an audience and by giving people lots of choices. In that sense, I don’t see “online play” as a must for every game. There are still some great single player games out there and I think players still enjoy sitting down by themselves to take on the challenge of a fun single player adventure.
In the case of WET, multiplayer simply didn’t make much sense to us as slow-motion is such an integral part of the game and ultimately, we didn’t want to divide our production effort to create multiplayer content just for the sake of being able to write 2-4 players on the back of the box. There are some great multiplayer games out there and it felt pointless to try to compete with them as online play was never going to be the essence of what we were looking to create.
Can you explain how all the fancy acrobatics work in the game? Does stringing combos seamlessly have its benefits or are they merely there to serve the purpose of high scores?
The acrobatics in the game were built in a way that they actually serve “efficiency” more than style. Since the dual-targeting system and the slow-motion are only activated through acrobatics, players get a massive gameplay benefit from stringing combos.
By staying in the air, players inflict a lot more damage on the enemies (2 guns instead of 1, shooting in real-time even while the action is in slow-mo), they get more time to line up headshots or double targets and the also get a bit more time to visually read the environment and strategize on the best navigational “line” to take across a room (sort of like in a skate game when you are trying to keep a combo alive).
Overall, players are much deadlier while doing acrobatics. In fact, there’s no real way to survive the game on the higher difficulty levels. If you’re not moving and not stringing chains of attack, you are simply overwhelmed by the enemies.
I personally prefer a well-crafted single player experience, though many consumers tend to decide whether a game’s worth a purchase based on its longevity. How confident are you to say that gamers will play it a second time through? What are some of the game’s achievements and trophies that provide such allure?
Action games tend to be a bit shorter than other games cause they burn quickly through lots of real-estate. It’s easier to make a 40 hour game if you make your players hide in the shadows all the time or if you make them cross the game world from one end to the other to get to the next mission.
For WET, we did not try to “artificially” make the game longer than the 8-10 hours we expect average players to spend completing Story Mode (normal difficulty), but we really do feel the different difficulty levels add a lot of replay value to the game.
I know that can sound clichéd, but the ‘arcadey’ nature of the game, the combo system and the enjoyment you get from having Rubi blend from one move to another means it’s a lot of fun to take your skills to the next level by taking on tougher enemies and having to play more precisely. It’s not one of those cases where you suddenly have to play differently and relearn everything you’ve mastered up to that point, you simply have to embrace the philosophy of the gameplay even more if you want to get to the end.
We’ve heard that WET’s price point during launch will be at $50 USD; did the length of the game influence this decision? Do you think the remaining $10 could possibly be invested in future expansions or downloadable contents (DLC)?
I’m not involved with setting the price for the game, but $50 seems like the right price for a game like ours. There’s no DLC planned at this stage, all the content is already in the box. You unlock new play modes by finishing the storyline on any difficulty level.
So we know WET’s all about stylish action coupled with a Tarantino-esque narrative; how significant is the story told in the game? Do you think games have the ability to tell memorable tales just as well as other mediums such as films?
I think story is important in giving context to the situations in the game. It’s more fun taking on enemies and working your way through levels if you understand why your protagonist is there and if you’re given a lot of flavour to your bad guys. I think that’s something we do quite well in WET.
In terms of making things memorable, I think the most memorable tales in games are the ones you create for yourself while you play. For example, “I was so low on life and out comes this big dude with a machine gun but I just managed to slide under his gunfire”, or “I blended the slide into a vertical ‘angel dive’ wallrun, then managed to kill him with the last bolt in my mini-crossbow while I was landing. It was awesome!”
In an age where the number of weaponry eclipses the usefulness of a selective few, what made you decide to cut down the types of guns? Are there certain weapon and acrobatic upgrades players can ‘buy’ as they progress through the game?
Keeping things simple and intuitive was something very important to us. We didn’t want to make the controls complicated and we wanted players to be able to quickly go from one weapon to another one on the fly while they are playing (no menu or sub-menu selections to bog things down).
We developed weapons which were markedly different from one another and ones that players would identify with and memorize easily. New weapons are introduced gradually through the storyline, but players can upgrade them in a variety of ways throughout the adventure by spending the points they earned from killing the bad guys.
One last question before we wrap up. Usually, with great hype comes great expectation. WET’s arguably A2M’s largest project yet, what’s the toughest part about trying to impress such a large crowd with the usually-‘shallow’ action genre?
I think probably the hardest part for us is to get people to give the game a chance and not shrug it off simply because the company is better known for family-friendly games and movie licenses. Obviously, family titles are a big part of what A2M is, but WET really does break some new grounds both for us as a company and for the action genre in general.
I think people will have a lot of fun with it if they take it for what it is; an action-packed rollercoaster ride that puts a whole new spin on familiar mechanics, to create an adrenaline-filled gaming experience!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Avi, always appreciated. All the best for WET’s impending release and A2M’s future endeavours.
WET is scheduled for release later this month on September 15.