Activision has today exclusively announced to GameSpot that the upcoming PC version of its best-selling action thriller True Crime: Streets of LA will feature a roster of nine playable character skins.
These skins will consist of several all-star cast members from Activision's lineup, including characters from titles like Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Tenchu, Call of Duty, and the Tony Hawk franchise.
Players will be able to unlock these skins by collecting hidden icons that are scattered throughout the game, as well as by completing certain missions in specific ways.
GameSpot spoke with Brian Clarke, producer of True Crime: Streets of LA, regarding the character skins.
GameSpot: Whose idea was it to put the Activision characters in True Crime PC? Why did you decide to do this?
Brian Clarke: The production team was thinking about what characters' skins we could add. When someone brought up a couple of internal IP characters that seemed to work well with the game (Rikamaru, for example, seemed to be a perfect fit with the whole ninja thing going on). From that, we came up with "The Activision All-Stars" concept, which brought some funny and cool characters into the mix (Officer Dick from the Tony Hawk series was another idea). We also added a couple of other characters outside of the "All-Stars" but have not yet announced who or what they are.
GS: Describe how the player will access these new skins?
BC: If you are referring to the different skins seen in the movies, such as the Call of Duty soldier on the helicopter or the COD soldier and Rikamaru fighting Nick, the player will not be able to swap out skins on enemies in the single-player game. This was done purely to show you some of the new skins in the game in a fun way. The movie with Rikamaru in the strip bar shows the typical gameplay experience with the new skins. The player will be able to unlock new skins in single-player mode and will be able to play through single-player or in multiplayer with that skin. That skin will be used to replace Nick in single-player for both gameplay and in-game movies. However, in multiplayer Dojo Master, you could fight a COD soldier, "Disco Nick," and Rikamaru all in the same room.
GS: How do you weigh the benefit of placing secret characters in a game with the possibility that gamers might feel "used," since arguably, it's Activision hyping Activision.
BC: It's not really about hyping Activision as much as it is about picking some different skins to change up the gaming experience. We have many years worth of recognizable and varied characters that have appeared on gaming platforms since the Atari 2600. We thought it might be fun to bring some of them back in True Crime. Sure, some are from current titles, but we've also added a couple of completely new characters as well. You'll just have to wait and see...
GS: How does a team decide which characters to include? And why isn't this sort of thing done more often?
BC: There were many proposals for skins for the game. Like I said before, we got together and thought about some cool ideas, most of which converged on Activision characters. Some of the ideas were great but involved acquiring licensing permissions that would have been impossible to get. You would think that licensing skins would be simple, but with approval rights, some of these deals can drag on for months in both contract details and renovations to the models and skins. The addition of skins was a bonus for the True Crime PC users to add some gameplay (discovering how to unlock them) and fun. And the team feels like we have a good selection of new character skins to choose from. With new music, new weapons, new controls, multiplayer modes, and the new skins, we feel that we had enough to offer both new and veteran True Crime players a rewarding and different experience on the PC.