Interviews

Creative Director Mark Crowe Unravels the World of Godzilla: Unleashed
by
Louis Bedigian

“We didn't start by pasting our old game onto the Wii – we specifically developed this entire game for the Wii hardware.”

This November, when the air is cold and the days are much too short, a legion of monsters will come to heat our planet…with bursts of fire spewing from their mouths. Godzilla: Unleashed, the latest brawler in Atari’s popular monster series, is the first to incorporate motion controls. Mark Crowe, Creative Director, recently took a few moments to tell us more.

“The game will be played using both the Wii remote and the nunchuk attachment,” he said. “Players will have six primary actions – Charge weapons, Punch, Kick, Rush, Brace and Fierce Attack. The Wii remote will handle attacks, while the nunchuk handles movement, jumping, and so forth.”

A 24-year veteran of the game industry, Mark Crowe has authored or directed over 30 titles. He was one of the legendary Two Guys from the Andromeda design team and served as co-creator of Sierra’s Space Quest. Mark co-designed the latest Godzilla title and did the same for Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and Godzilla: Save the Earth.

“Almost every action is initiated with a button press,” he continues, “because buttons feel ‘tighter’ in a way that is essential for a fighting game. But the remote movements modify those inputs. Pressing A, for example, launches a basic punch attack. Swinging the remote Up, Down, Left, or Right while pressing A changes the attack into a specific heavy attack, such as the Uppercut or Hammerfist.

“The pitch and angle of the Wii remote also drives your monster’s head in real-time while you fire your weapons, which feels really great. Monsters which use their Tails for Fierce Attacks can use the Wii remote to manipulate their tail in the same way.”


Besides what you’ve mentioned, are there any other features specific to the Wii control style?

Mark Crowe: It’s important to remember that we didn’t start by pasting our old game onto the Wii – we specifically developed this entire game for the Wii hardware. So while veterans of the series will need to spend a little time adjusting to the new controls – I think Wii aficionados will really get excited about what we’ve done with the hardware. So to answer the question – the whole game has been made specifically for the Wii controls.

I believe that Godzilla: Unleashed will have a non-linear story mode of some kind - is that correct? How does it play out? Are there multiple branching points that lead to the conclusion?

MC: The story for Godzilla: Unleashed differs greatly from your typical fighting game story mode. Basically, there are these alien crystals that suddenly grow out of the Earth, bringing about these cataclysmic changes to the planet. Your monster and the faction it represents will in turn determine how you will approach these crystals and the changes they’ve caused. Depending on the monster’s motivation (are you invading Earth or defending it?) the storyline will expand from there.

The initial screens reveal a cluster of colored hexagons on the top left and right corners of the screen. In one of them, it appears that Godzilla (whose scales appear to be on fire) has a yellow hexagon highlighted and is shooting a yellow-ish beam from his mouth. What can you tell us about this? Do these hexagons have something to do with the monsters' powers?

MC: Those hexagons are actually part of an experimental HUD that won’t be featured in the final version of the game. However, Godzilla’s appearance in that screen is a result of reaching Critical Mass.

In Godzilla: Unleashed we are exploring the interactions of these new Alien crystal power sources, which will have a variety of effects on the monsters. Monsters will absorb power from these crystals to generate a slew of different effects – one of these being Critical Mass. Critical Mass is what happens if your monster absorbs too much crystal energy. Your monster will begin to burst at the seams with glowing red light, you’ll get speed damages and knockback bonuses, but you’ll also have lowered defense and will be physically drained when the state wears off.

Critical Mass will also allow you to activate a Power Surge. Power Surges are one-time abilities that players earn in the single player game. They confer awesome abilities like total immunity to weapons, increased health and energy regeneration, and ultra-finishing weapon attacks. Power Surges are designed to make you significantly stronger than other monsters – strong enough to defeat two monsters at once if necessary. But that sort of power also comes at a price.

What special moves and attacks will the monsters include? They breathe fire, but what else?

MC: All monsters have a “Fierce” attack mode, which includes very powerful but slow attacks. Godzilla’s Tail is his fierce weapon. Megalon spins up his drill hands. Ghidorah actually uses BOTH tails in his fierce mode – one controlled by the remote and one controlled by the nunchuk. We also have burrowing, teleporting, flight, stuns, freeze attacks, napalm, grapples, regeneration – and those are just the innate abilities. Once you start adding in the Power Surges the monsters get really awesome.

One of Godzilla: Unleashed's touted features is its destructible environments. How many world elements can be demolished in your pursuit to take out the opposing monster? Are there rewards or consequences your destruction?

MC: Our buildings have always been 100 percent destructible, and that trend will continue in Godzilla: Unleashed. But we weren’t completely satisfied with our old destruction system given the new console, so we’ve kicked it up a notch by amplifying our destruction behavior. Now the buildings deform and char dynamically with your attacks. It really increases the immersion factor of the game when you’re carving the buildings with your attacks. We’re punching up our destruction audio as well – for the most destructive Godzilla experience yet.

It looks like military vehicles will enter the fray. How will they influence the course of the game? I assume you'll be able to destroy them as well?

MC: Absolutely. What kind of Godzilla game would it be if you couldn’t smash the military with a swat of your mighty tail or reduce them to cinders with your atomic breath? That’s half the fun. One of the coolest things about dealing with the human military is that they will focus their firepower on the monster who is perceived as the greatest threat; the monster who is causing the most destruction. So you can play ‘good monster’ by avoiding building damage and cause the military to gang-up on your enemy.

Obviously we'd love to hear about the two monsters created specifically for this game. Can you tell us anything about them?

MC: The fans are still voting on certain aspects of one of the new monsters, so we’re still in the development process. One of the coolest parts about this title will be the heavy fan involvement in the development process. We love that the fans are so amped about the title. As we near launch, Atari will reveal more specifics about the new monsters.

I understand that Godzilla: Unleashed will be a two-player fighter on Wii – is that correct? Will this be true for the DS version as well?

MC: You’re not quite correct – it’s actually a four-player fighter. The previous Godzilla games work as two, three, or four-player fighting games – we call this game style a “brawler.” The DS version supports two-player co-op play, with both monsters working together to defeat the story mode.
 

Thank you for your time.



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Godzilla: Unleashed (WII)