We chat with Darren McGrath, VP of Creative Development at InLight about their upcoming zombie based platformer.1. The DS is an interesting handheld console that has a number of things going for it, one is the stylus and dual screen. How will this game make best use of the features on the portable?
DMC - We make very good use of the touch screen/stylus in the Stylus Mini-games and the BBC (Big Brain Challenge). For example, one of the games lets the Player sling-shot one of the zombies, Lefty, into the air to smash alien brains and feed her cohort Fins. In another mini-game, Lefty, a former basketball player, shoots hoops using brains instead of balls! While both use the stylus the play patterns are quite different. Actually, all of the DS controls are used pretty extensively. In addition to the D-pad, the buttons are also used for attacks, opening elevators, puking (yes PUKING!), gathering power-ups, etc. So I’d say that it was pretty well balanced from a hardware input standpoint.2. Can you explain something about the game's plotline to us?
DMC – Sure… The Earth is under invasion by a horde of Alien Brain… uh… Thingys! Humans, having succumbed to ray guns, mind-control, and shiny flying saucers, have failed to defend their planet and let it fall into the clutches of the Big Brain and his army hordes!
The only hope for mankind is three Teenage Zombies that have arisen from a nearby graveyard. Disturbed by the alien invasion, the undead Zombie trio ignore their usual human victims in favour of the pulsing pink brains - all the while being lured to the ultimate lunch: THE BIG BRAIN!
The Big Brain soon realizes that he’s overlooked this Zombie super-race that inexplicably resist all of his usual defences and devour his Brain Armies! Somewhat flustered by this unprecedented turn of events, the Big Brain refocuses his efforts and resources to battle the Earth’s greatest champions: The Teenage Zombies!3. What would you say is the biggest selling point of the game?
DMC – I think that this title is very unique. The way that it combines several genres with a variety of play patterns is pretty cool. I also think that the characters we created are particularly strong.4. Are there any specific drawbacks to developing for a console like the DS?
DMC – If I had to pick something… I guess that I’d have to say cart space. We’re always wanting to pack more fun into our titles.5. Is there anything with Teenage Zombies you're most proud of, one thing that stands out above all others?
DMC – Tough to pick just one thing but I’m very fond of the characters. I’m especially proud of how our team has adapted such strong characters into an equally strong game.6. Would you be able to go into detail on some of the gameplay elements, we hear there are mini-games, perhaps you could tell us some more?
DMC – In this game we actually have both mini-games, these occur within the context of each world and are encountered by the Player as a natural progression of the story. Then there are micro-games. These occur as part of the “Big Brain Challenge.” Here the Big Brain himself issues a challenge to the Player directly. Mini and Micro-games are all stylus based.7. Co-op gameplay is the by-word these days, is there any kind of co-op planned for the game?
DMC - We didn’t really feel that a multi-player aspect fit very well with the puzzle based structure of this game – there just wasn’t a compelling enough reason from a gameplay standpoint to include it.8. Can you tell us something about the game's engine, what makes it stand out from other engines?
DMC – We’ve created and tailored a lot of different engine types over the years. This game features so many different game types that we needed to figure out how best to adapt all of the various sensibilities into a single engine - I probably shouldn’t say too much more about the various engine components.9. Do you have a favourite character from the game, if so, why? What makes them your favourite?
DMC – That’s a tricky one but I’d probably have to pick Fins – it’s tough to beat a guy who can puke fire!10. Lastly, what (if any) would you pick as your favourite Zombie movie, and why?
DMC – I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead, Undead, Dead Alive and the Evil Dead series – they’re all great campy zombie flicks!