It's fair to say many third-parties have been caught a little short with Wii's rather unexpected success since launch last year. So much, in fact, that there have been a substantial number of ports fired in the Nintendo machine's direction the past few months, some good, others… not so good. However, the quality loaded former are starting to emerge more often as developers take the time to make the most
of Wii's unique control possibilities, which will hopefully even things out while original software is being made.
Radical Entertainment's acclaimed mission-driven sandbox title, Scarface: The World is Yours, is looking to add to that list in only
good ways as it gears up for its summer release; simultaneously helping increase Wii's profile for big name third-person action, and violent/adult marketed titles all in one big bloody swath. All while being a great game, of course.
We tied-up Radical Entertainment's Geoff Thomas -producer on the game- and forced him to answer a few questions (thankfully without the need to unleash any "little friends" upon his person) to see how Scarface is shaping up.
Wii Chat: When was it decided Scarface would come to Wii? Did you approach Nintendo or was it more collaborative in the initial stages?
Geoff Thomas: We've had our minds on the Wii edition of Scarface for some time now and began working on it immediately after finishing the PlayStation2 and Xbox versions. Nintendo has been excited about bringing Scarface to Wii from the moment we first discussed it with them, and working with them has been a blast.
Can you elaborate and detail the sort of moves the player will be able to do with the Wii remote?
GT: Camera control and shooting are controlled with the Wii remote and running, driving, and boating are controlled with the Nunchuk. The gesture system has us really excited and we've come up with some great applications. For example, players will be able to taunt enemies during combat by flipping them off with the Nunchuk, causing Tony to hurl insults and swear a blue streak. My favourite gesture is using the chainsaw; basically you swing it around using the Wii remote to hack off the arms, legs, and even the heads of any enemy stupid enough to get in your way.
Conversions across from PS2/Xbox to Wii have not usually been too flattering in terms of visuals and presentation - how close will the Wii version be to those original versions in those aspects?
GT: We've rewritten most of our graphics engine to get the most out of the system and as a result Scarface looks better on Wii than it does on PS2 or Xbox.
"My favourite gesture is using the chainsaw; basically you swing it around using the Wii remote to hack off the arms, legs, and even the heads of any enemy stupid enough to get in your way." - Geoff Thomas, producer
Was there ever a GameCube version in consideration?
GT: We decided to focus all of our energy on the PS2 and Xbox during the original development phase.
Given GameCube was fairly barren in violent sandbox style titles, how suitable do you feel Wii is as a platform for this type of game? And if it's more viable, what do you think are the main differences that make that so?
GT: Wii is giving us new ways to play games and we're taking full advantage of it with Scarface. For example, using the Wii remote to aim and fire weapons just feels so much more rewarding than using an analog joystick. Everything about Scarface on Wii feels more satisfying and visceral than in other versions of the game.
With videogame violence constantly in the spotlight, how do you feel about Wii pushing the boundaries between reality and fantasy given players will potentially be gesturing and 'performing' violent acts more vividly than before (for example, chainsawing people 'with' the Wii remote etc)?
GT: It's true that aiming your gun or swinging your chainsaw with the Wii remote feels much more satisfying and bloody than using a joystick or a d-pad. But at the same time I'm sure you can agree that there's a huge difference between using a Wii remote to chop up a gang member and using a real chainsaw on a real person! That said, Scarface is definitely a mature game and its rating obviously reflects that.
"What other game on Wii lets you cut down a drug dealer with your chainsaw, steal his stash, hop in your tricked-out sports car and race down the freeway in a firefight with his goons?"
Were there any areas of restriction or guidelines given by either Nintendo or in general as to what you could and couldn't do with the Wii remote in terms of content and practicality?
GT: Nintendo has a list of requirements that all games need to meet. They centre mostly on quality issues like load times, error messages, widescreen support, and so on. Other than that we've found that they encourage developers to try new things with the Wii remote and Nunchuk.
How would you separate yourself from other titles that would be classed within the same area/genre, such as Electronic Arts' The Godfather: Blackhand Edition?
GT: Scarface really stands out because it delivers so fully on being Tony Montana. The game is all about Tony taking back Miami, rebuilding his drug empire block by block, and ultimately getting revenge on Sosa, the Bolivian drug lord who almost kills him at the beginning of the game. But it's also about opulence, balls, and excess. And all of these features come together as well as they do because they resonate with the core of Scarface: The World is Yours, namely…'What Would Tony Montana Do?' I mean really, what other game on Wii lets you cut down a drug dealer with your chainsaw, steal his stash, hop in your tricked-out sports car and race down the freeway in a firefight with his goons?
How difficult/easy has it been in converting the game to Wii in terms of time-factor, programming, power, help and leeway (from Nintendo, if any at all) and so on?
GT: The development team is made up entirely of people who worked Scarface: The World is Yours for PS2 and Xbox, so we have a lot of passion and know-how going into bringing it to Wii. We've had a lot of fun trying out new control schemes, gestures, just playing the hell out of the game during development.
"We feel that the Wii edition is the definitive Scarface gameplay experience."
Besides the Wii remote's functions, are there any other unique or new features Scarface will have on Wii compared to other formats?
GT: In addition to overhauling the graphics engine to get the most out of the system, we've also updated a number of missions to make the most of the new control scheme.
Conversely, is there anything you've had to leave out or change (besides the factors of control)?
GT: We haven't cut anything from the game. It's just as full of blood, balls, and bullets as other versions.
Anything else you'd like to add?
GT: We feel that the Wii edition is the definitive Scarface gameplay experience and can't wait to get it into the hands of Wii owners everywhere.
Wii Chat would like to thank Geoff Thomas, Radical Entertainment, Vivendi and Sierra for their time.
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