March 17, 2009 - Recently, we went on a trip to Universal Studios' Hollywood lot to take a look at the forthcoming Wanted: Weapons of Fate. There, we got one-on-one time with both Pete Wanat and Nick Torchia, the game's executive producer and producer, respectively. Below are their comments.
Also, as background for the topics this piece covers, you might want to check out our preview of the game.
NOTE: This interview, though edited, contains language that may be inappropriate for younger audiences.
CCC: You have a lot of new mechanics in this game, like curving bullets and chaining cover. What was it like taking something that people haven't seen before and making it something they can pick up and get the hang of quickly?
PW: A lot of the problem is that I'm a big believer in the philosophy that when you're working on a game, one of the things you try not to do is to invent new control mechanisms. I'll give you an example. We were working on Scarface, and we had this open-world game. If you're going to get in and out of a car in an open-world game, Grand Theft Auto already told you that the appropriate button to do that is the triangle - the top button. Don't put it on the f@#*ing X button! If somebody sets for you a vocabulary of gameplay, don't change it just to change it. . .
That played into curved bullets. We didn't have someplace we could go to steal the vocabulary, because the vocabulary hadn't been invented yet. We looked at Heavenly Sword, where they controlled the arrows with the thing [the game used six-axis control], and that was just a giant f@#*ing mess. I've had conversations about that mechanic: "Why didn't you make it so you can control the bullet with the controller?" Because it was f@#*ing frustrating in other games... We started out with the controllable bullets; then we switched to the lock-on and the controllable thumbstick, so you could give the player that freedom to bend the bullet 360 degrees - not even just 360 degrees, but you can give the line whatever curve you want.
We wanted something that started as something that wasn't horribly hard to learn, but gave you a giant, long, big, huge depth, because once you got good at it, you could become really, really good at it… It starts out feeling like it could be a very gimmick mechanic. As you get good at it, you realize it's not a gimmick at all; it's actually a mechanic that grows beyond the player. When you get really good at Wanted and you're curving bullets really fast, the game changes completely. I've talked about it before as almost like the difference between driving an automatic car and a car with a stick shift. When you start to drive a car with a stick shift, you sputter out. It's hard to do, but once you become really good at using a stick, you actually get more control, and that's exactly what curved bullets do for us.
CCC: You've said you're trying to get rid of the frustrating things that are in other games. I hated the quick-time events in Resident Evil 4, for example, and you've tweaked that system a lot. Can you talk about that a bit?
PW: With a quick-time event, you can look at the screen and you're engaging in this giant, beautiful visual thing, but then you have to look at the bottom of the screen, or they put some annoying button thing right in the f@#*in' center of the screen, just to muck it up. That's not what we wanted. We did not want to obscure the view. We wanted the player to feel like he was going on a ride, but he was still an active participant. That he could move the reticule to shoot bullets and to shoot enemies, but not muck up the screen with, "Oh, here's an artificial button press that you'd better press, or you're going to die. You die. F@#* you, start at the beginning. You f@#*ed up again, we're back to the beginning."