Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie Q&A--Early Details, Combat, and Movie Magic

We sit down with Ubisoft Montreal to discuss the newly announced Ninja Turtles game based on the motion picture.

Those zany ninja turtles from those comic books and cartoons you remember from the 1980s and 1990s are making their way back to the silver screen next year. They'll also star in a brand-new video game in which they'll fight evil with their mighty ninja weapons and maybe a catchphrase or two. We caught up with Ubisoft Montreal's creative director, Nick Harper, to discuss the new game.

GameSpot: How closely are you following the movie's story?

Those rascally reptiles are back in a new feature film and a brand-new video game adventure.

Nick Harper: We are following the movie's story very closely and are really trying to explore the darker feelings of being a teenager, and at the same time, include lots of humor, intense combat, and action. We received an early version of the film script, and it was clear that this movie was about the strength of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles family.

We've added some characters from the turtles' history that aren't in the movie, and we've expanded on some elements that are present in the movie. Of course, we had the movie plot and script as our starting point, but I think the game and film will complement each other well. The game is really an extension of the movie experience.

GS: How much did you collaborate with the filmmakers?

Nick Harper: We have a really good relationship with Mirage Group and Imagi Animation Studios, the people making the movie. We traveled to Hong Kong to see early footage, and we are sharing assets on a daily basis. We are in continuous communication with Mirage and original cocreator Peter Laird. And so far, the relationship has been great, and the feedback from Peter has been really positive. They validate the look and ensure that we respect the universe, and they also help us create the dialogues. We regularly send them versions of the game, and they are great at giving us plenty of good suggestions and feedback.

GS: How involved is the film's cast? For instance, will the characters be voiced by their movie counterparts?

Nick Harper: The four turtles are voiced by the same actors in the movie and in the game.

GS: Tell us about the game. Will it offer straight-ahead action with items to pick up? Will it be some kind of action role-playing game where you gain levels for your turtles?

Nick Harper: This game is best described as over-the-top ninja action with lots of fighting and classic platforming elements mixed in.

GS: How many levels are in the game?

Nick Harper: There are 16 levels in the game.

GS: Can you walk us through the combat system?

Nick Harper: In combat, the turtles can pair up to perform "family attacks." Each attack is linked to the turtle who initiates it. So, for example, if Leo calls the attack, the brothers leap in the air and then slam down on the ground, creating a damaging ripple effect, whereas Mike's attack is more comical--he grabs his brother by the feet and spins him around like a helicopter, knocking the bad guys down and away. Individually, each turtle has his own fighting style based on his weapon, personality, and dedication to the ninja way. So Leo is very controlled and efficient, whereas Mikey is flamboyant and extravagant.

GS: How is the Jade engine helping you show off the turtles' unique abilities?

Nick Harper: Using the Prince of Persia engine definitely gave us a great head start, but the game mechanics have been optimized for the turtles' adventure. It was important for us to maintain a much more fluid experience. We wanted players to always be jumping and dashing along walls. We streamlined the input and animation systems to enable these abilities to flow together rapidly.

GS: What kind of multiplayer modes will the game have? Cooperative? Competitive?

Nick Harper: Since the game is based on the upcoming movie, it's really about the emotional toll of feeling the loss of the turtle family and the rewards of earning that unity back. So, we needed the turtles to be distanced, both physically and emotionally, just like in the film. Therefore, we opted for a single-player experience where players can control each turtle at certain parts in the game and then play the entire family once they have reunited all four brothers.

GS: Will there be any unique features specific to each platform?

The game's combat system will take each character's fighting style and personality into account.

Nick Harper: There will be some special content for the Wii version of the game, and we're taking advantage of the controller to make fighting and acrobatics more immersive and fun. We'll be able to provide more details on the Wii version of the game soon.

For the other console versions, we've taken lots of the movie imagery and sneak peeks and included them as Easter eggs in specific sections in the game.

GS: Will there be support for downloadable content for any of the games?

Nick Harper: Whether or not there will be additional content for next-generation consoles is still under wraps, but what we can share now is that we are leveraging the achievements system for Xbox Live, so that everyone with a Microsoft console can go online and see how ninja-like they truly are.

GS: Thanks for your time, Nick.

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Discussion

162 comments
rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Why exactly are they making this for Gamecube. The cube is basically dead now.

boo_dat
boo_dat

okay wow...PLEASE don't screw this up, Ubisoft...for the love of Splinter!!!

MClaw666
MClaw666

I agree with RamoneVercetti. Graphics don't mean anything without good story and gameplay. And why play the game if it just follows the same story as the movie? I'd rather spend $8 on a 1.5-to-2-hour movie than $40 on a game that tells the same story, especially if it doesn't have co-op.

RamoneVercetti
RamoneVercetti

Graphics, graphics...? What the hell? Do You think about gameplay?! Damn, graphics are nothing if the gameplay sucks!

alayeesquire
alayeesquire

sj420 said exactly what I was thinking. I enjoyed TMNTs as a child and wouldn't mind playing this game for nostalgia-sake but I do have reservations about this one.

distroyer927
distroyer927

This game isgonna be great, although the graphics do look like crap but it's still a WORKING title let's just hope that they'll fix it.

-Murdock-
-Murdock-

Wow, no co-op...why even bother guys? The graphics look like trash right now too. Great another awful TMNT game. Has there been a good one since Turtles in Time?

Kbs64
Kbs64

Turtle Power!!! This is great and i"m really looking forward to trying this game. But I have to agree, Those graphics look like crap! The impression I got from those pictures was more a paper cut out feel and very lil poylgon for the my favorite Ninjas. They appeared to have a very dull, vivid coloring that should be present but is other wise not.

Meej_Xyooj
Meej_Xyooj

Poor Graphics!!! no more works..................turtles don't even look like the old ones........they look weird and all that my hopes r down!

SteelWingX
SteelWingX

those are pretty terrible graphics by today's standards

mskittykat
mskittykat

I love TMNT, but I don't know....the past several TMNT games have been serious duds. SO far I'm not too impressed with what I see, but time will tell.

sj420
sj420

as a HUGE tmnt fan as a child... i don't want to get my hopes up. i think i smell a weak masher. "We wanted players to always be jumping and dashing along walls. We streamlined the input and animation systems to enable these abilities to flow together rapidly. "

DO646260
DO646260

OoOoOo I LOVE TMNT!!!! One hopes it will be good like the old ones!!! But different ofcourse!!

darkprince510
darkprince510

graphic is preety cool. not the cgar. look at the background.... much better thnan there other game

namdar
namdar

Graphics looks weak hope the finshed result is better !

mikep09
mikep09

EEEEEEEWWWWWW are these graphics supposed to be a joke??? The movie's graphics are superb, why not make the game with superb graphics as well... This game looks like it's made for sega dreamcast.. hell, even old Sega had better graphics......

gamecube120
gamecube120

Yeah, the graphics aren't very impressive. I wanna see the hardcore side of TMNT again (as in the original trilogy), not the "kiddy" side.

UltimaCloudX
UltimaCloudX

Yikes. I am looking forward to playing a game involving TMNT since I loved it when I was a kid, but I hope the gameplay does not match the graphics... I'm sure they will improve it by the time we can play it. Please. ^_^

kirby456
kirby456

Hmmm....I'm not sure what to choose, guess I'll have to wait for some demo to come out. It will possibly be like Spidr-Man 1 on PS2 mixed with Prince of Persia judging by the screenshots...

NA3D
NA3D

I love Ubisoft as a company, and I really hope that Mike isn't flying in the air with his chucks..... Besides the fact of it not being possible in real life, it does not go along with the TMNT style.... Looking at the render of Mike actually proves this is not the final model actually though. If you look at the character's left upper arm (between his elbow and shoulder) the polys are being stretched in an ackward way. There is no way Ubisoft will let that pass through to the final game, and hopefully not the environment either. It looks like a PS one game almost, there is it, I said it.

gozalo
gozalo

that screenshot looks pretty crappy.

benmandude
benmandude

Lets see how much money we can squeeze out of this franchise. Jeez, they never learn. You would think that they actually lose money on these horrible games.

sofy
sofy

No clue about the gameplay yet... But please....it's very lookin bad... I prefer to play TMNT on my emulators...

chrisbag
chrisbag

As this is using the Prince of persia engine it could be very cool. On the flip side though it is both a movie tie in and a Turtles game.

aceswordsman
aceswordsman

I'm 31 and the Turtles were always cool, and will always continue to be cool. Unfortunately the kids of today don't seem to all agree...but it's like Mario and He-Man. Doesn't matter how old they get, they will always be cool to a HUGE part of the population.

SlortaHauz
SlortaHauz

Gedden, you try telling a 5-12 year old boy from 1989 to 1995 that they weren't cool. The turtles were always awesome, and that sweet theme song. Man, it's my ringtone. You must be at least 30 if you can honestly say you never ever thought the turtle were cool.

mobfootyball
mobfootyball

you guys can say what you want about the graphics, I think it's going to be a great game. they got my money!

SLiM16
SLiM16

it's a shame they keep making terrible TMNT video games when the old ones were so good. i doubt very much that this game will differ from the most recent atrocities and even though i used to be an avid fan of the TMNTs, i'll probably not bother to get this game. i've been dissapointed many times over with TMNT games and apparently this one doesn't even have a co-op mode which is the heart and soul of TMNT, they are four brothers after all.

thesand212
thesand212

TMNT Turtles back in time is the best game ever

CRIMZNQUASAR
CRIMZNQUASAR

MICHELANGELO IS A PARTY DUDE!!! TMNT FTW :):)

sam_prince
sam_prince

i think after popt2t ubi needs a graphics technician.

GreenGoblin2099
GreenGoblin2099

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Heroes in a half-shell Turtle power! yay!!! :D

Gedden
Gedden

Since when were TMNT cool again or for that matter ever?

Deellis
Deellis

needs better graphics

eminem_glen
eminem_glen

TheProphecied1 I seem to remember the video stating clearly "work in progress."

termadoyle
termadoyle

Whoa! HAHA! UBISOFT is a great company! They've never made a bad title before IMO and I trust them to bring out the best of everybody's favorite turtles.

wytefang
wytefang

It's a work in progress so you can't expect it to have PC-quality graphics. I'll wait and see how it turns out.

Firetears
Firetears

Well, they sound as if they're trying but the graphics really are a turn off. I just recently brought Prince of Persia, it's a really fun game and I'm excited that they decided to use the engine.

TheProphecied1
TheProphecied1

Eminem glen Ubisoft worked on king kong too but i still think that the graphics arent too great

squareenix
squareenix

I'm taking it those graphics are for DS or PSP, right?

eminem_glen
eminem_glen

Graphics don't look too good, but it's a work in progress so I ain't gonna moan like the rest of you lamers. I will, however, stress that it's not EA making it - which is a very, very good thing. King Kong was a good game. Superman Returns was trash. Go figure.

littlevicky93
littlevicky93

I really agree with the fact that the graphics looks ugly. But guys, it's a WORK-IN-PROGRESS, so you can't expect it to have Gears of War-esque looks.

dRfTnDuNks
dRfTnDuNks

Well i grew up watchin the turtles. And i still enjoy watchin it and always will. The pics show that its not done, and even if it is a crappy game. They got my money.

stray18
stray18

God Mario64 was better then this! The GFX made me think we have gone back in time, but yet, take alook at farcry for the wii and tell me its nextgen. o'well hope the movie is better!

spidey008
spidey008

The old TMNT arcade game is still the best ever. It will take a great game to beat that.

tippets
tippets

The graphics are awesome!! Like a whole new Generation of graphics, this game is going to be unreal.

seijimargera
seijimargera

I was never into the series, but i think that The graphix are crap. terrible. i think that the ocarina of time had even better graphics than this crap. shame.

Superion74
Superion74

Nick Harper: There will be some special content for the Wii version of the game, and we're taking advantage of the controller to make fighting and acrobatics more immersive and fun. As a Wii owner, I'm very excited by this comment. With the innovative controls of Wiimote and nunchuk, I believe Wii can offer the most interesting version of TMNT game. I really hope they won't screw it up, and if it's good then they will have my $50 in the bag.