With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End due to hit a fleet of platforms in a few weeks, GameSpot AU caught up with Disney Interactive Studios producer Jeff Blattner on a recent trip down under to find out the latest on Jack Sparrow's digital adventures.
GameSpot AU: The Pirates of the Caribbean films are very comedy driven. How are you bringing across that humour to At World's End?
Jeff Blattner: You know, the character experiences there are just so diverse, [but] certainly most of the comedy in the film is driven by Jack Sparrow--he has proven himself capable of going toe-to-toe with anyone. More often than not, he will have more than one way to dispatch his enemies. We've had the great challenge and pleasure of delivering those methods through knocking over people, putting barrels on people's heads, and the accidental harmony that he brings to situations.
GS AU: How are you planning to expand the universe seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean films?
JB: By giving players the ability to explore the worlds they saw, to peek around the corners they may have only seen as facades. We wanted to let you go beyond flat 2D layers into the taverns and create the tavern fights, to create new characters like Black Bart on the 360 and PS3 who fit very well into the story of the game but don't appear in the film.
GS AU: What were the main challenges in developing for the different platforms, especially the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360?
JB: The PS3 and 360 were the platforms with the greatest technical challenges--they were very new to our developers, and we had to throw a greater number of technology resources and programming resources at those titles. We tackled those head on--we didn't shy away from the challenge. A lot of games still aren't enabling 1080p experiences, but we allow for that on both PS3 and Xbox 360. Our dev company Eurocom is using all of its own proprietary technology, its own engine, and getting really impressive results with the Wii interface that we have. We think we have delivered a really good experience.
GS AU: Will you be using the next-gen game engine again? Any plans to license it out?
JB: It's an interesting question--we are certainly looking for other ways we can use it at Disney companies and we're discussing future projects that we are not ready to announce quite yet.
GS AU: You worked closely with Industrial Light and Magic in the development of this game. How did that relationship work? Would you do it again?
JB: Absolutely. They were able to deliver us extremely faithful reproductions of things like boats. Actually, we were able to get model sheets that allowed Eurocom to re-create them, and in some instances, they actually provided us with the 3D models themselves (though they are much higher res for the film). But we were able to max them out to the highest detail possible for the consoles.
GS AU: How long will the single-player campaign go for?
JB: I'd say about eight to 10 hours.
GS AU: And what sort of multiplayer features does the game have?
JB: All of the platforms offer duelling between two players--so if your friend is over you can play that. There are co-op challenges as well--special sections of levels which were designed with multiplayer in mind, so you can play thorough those and experience those with a friend. Also for the PSP, there are minigames you can play over Wi-Fi. It supports game sharing via ad hoc and includes one minigame for the PSP, which is a hearts game.
GS AU: What's next after Pirates?
JB: Well the Disney Company has a great number of titles coming up, but for me personally, nothing we are ready to announce quite yet.
GS AU: Jeff Blattner, thank you for your time.