Announced earlier this year, Rango is an upcoming computer-animated movie directed by Gore Verbinski that stars Johnny Depp as the voice of Rango. Industrial Light & Magic is behind the movie project and has been working closely with developer Behavior Interactive for the past year and a half to create Rango The Video Game. If you haven't heard much about the movie, you aren't the only one. Paramount only recently released a trailer of the movie, but EA stopped by to give us more information about the movie, as well as the game.
One thing to note is that the game has been in development for more than a year and a half, which is unusual because movie-based games are typically given a much smaller window of time in which to work. In our demo, we got a look at a pre-alpha build of several different areas that gave us an idea of the variety in the game. Rango the movie is a story about a chameleon who wants to become a sheriff of an Old West town called Dirt. He doesn't come across as an instant leader, but by weaving tall tales about his prior adventures, he eventually gains the respect of those around him. The video game follows a similar storyline, but instead, you get to live out Rango's wild fabricated stories.
EA wanted to highlight the variety in gameplay styles that are in the game. In the first area, Rango started off in a sunny, harsh desert, scaling chain-linked fences and gracefully platforming his way across random trash and other objects that made their way into the environment. A mariachi band followed us as we ran through, providing some festive music that fit the scene. Our hero, the chameleon, was armed with a gun, so you can fire at incoming rodents or use your melee attack to bring them down and collect stars--the in-game currency. The button-mashing routine works here, but you can also zoom into a first-person mode, where you can play the game as a first-person shooter if you prefer. Regardless of how you choose to get through the levels, you can upgrade your skills whenever you come across Wounded Bird--one of the characters in the movie. You can continue to upgrade your character even after you beat the game, so your second play-through will be much easier if you want to seek out all of the collectibles and hidden items. We weren't sure where the story was going at that point, but Rango seems to be quite adept at ziplining, doing flips off of poles, and taking death-defying leaps off of ledges.
While the story may take place under the burning sun, the game tries to keep things diverse by leading you through Rango's crazy tales. The next area had zombies--rodent zombies. Set at night in a dark, somewhat creepy area of the desert, Rango's goal here was to tee up some explosive golf balls to destroy them before they hit some iron gates. This is apparently all part of the story, so it wasn't some sort of minigame that had been added. You can control how far you want to hit the ball and even control it once it's in the air. There's enough firepower in these things to take out several zombie rats at a time.
If you think that's weird, the next area we jumped to was inside an old-school arcade machine. Inside the colorful matrix of the machine, we had to fight pixilated rodents, which looked like they came straight out of 3D Dot Game Heroes. Rango's a fairly frail-looking chameleon, so it's amusing to watch his tiny little arms punch and flail at a team of burly rats. He sure has quite the imagination, though, so we're curious to see how he lives up to his other outrageous tales.
Find out exactly what this chameleon can do when Rango The Video Game is released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS on March 1.