Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Q&A

We get the inside word on the progress of the next Indiana Jones game.

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Indiana Jones has more adventures by himself than your average military squadron, and the famous fictional archaeologist is at it again in the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. Arriving on the Wii, DS, PSP, and PlayStation 2 later this year, the game will follow Dr. Jones on another globetrotting adventure, this time in search of the titular Staff of Kings. Old-school Indy fans will also appreciate a special treat in the Wii version of the game, which you can read about in our conversation with producer Matt Vella and associate producer Johnny Szary.

GameSpot: When did development on the game begin? How is this game tied to the next-gen Indy game mentioned at E3?

Matt Vella/Johnny Szary: It follows the original story created by LucasArts and mentioned at E3 a couple years ago.

Indy and his trademark whip will be in full effect in Staff of Kings.
Indy and his trademark whip will be in full effect in Staff of Kings.

GS: How did you settle on a story and setting?

MV/JS: The story was a collaboration between design and management here at LucasArts. There was a very strong desire to do an original Indy story--something that we could hang our hat on so to speak. The settings just naturally evolve out of the adventure and Indy's quest to find the Staff of Kings.

GS: Did you consciously try to take the movies and games into account?

MV/JS: While the Staff of Kings is an all-original story, we did want to build the game around those truly classic over-the-top adventures that Indy finds himself in around the globe. We do have a few homages to the films strewn throughout the game, so anyone who has seen the movies should get a kick out of them.

GS: Did the platform decisions affect development?

MV/JS: Because we wanted to utilize all of the available features that each of the platforms allows, we went about designing the game from the ground up on the DS, PSP, and Wii while using the same overarching story. This allowed us more freedom to really perfect the gameplay that would make the game stand out on each platform: stylus-based combat on the DS, amazing use of physics-based puzzles on the PSP, elaborate environmental HotSet usage on the PS2, and innovative gesture system for the whip on the Wii.

GS: We haven't heard much about the game's story other than that it's centered around the Staff of Moses and is set in 1939. What can you tell us about the story? Will we see some familiar faces from Indy lore?

MV/JS: The story is done very much in the classic style of Indiana Jones, with Raiders of the Lost Ark as its greatest inspiration. The story received input from both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Indy is chasing down a new nemesis by the name of Magnus Voller, who is hell-bent on getting his hands on the staff before Indy does.

For the single-player game, you'll see all-new characters and faces, which we're really excited about. The co-op mode is actually strung together in a unique storyline, and that is where you'll run into a familiar face.

GS: Who's handling the music?

MV/JS: When you hear the original John Williams music from the Indy films, it just gets your heart racing, so we just had to incorporate those pieces into the game. Additionally, our music supervisor, Jesse Harlin, went to the vaults and found some really great music from the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones TV series that we used as well. Finally, to bring more uniqueness to this story, composers Gordy Haab and Ray Harman created some really great original pieces that have odes to the classic John Williams music.

GS: What locations will the game send players to?

MV/JS: Indy will travel to locations in Sudan, San Francisco, Panama, Istanbul, and Nepal. We're really happy with the variety of the environments; each one offers unique gameplay and ambience. While in those environments the player will do things ranging from exploring temples to having wild shoot-outs with tomb robbers.

GS: How will the game differ between platforms in terms of gameplay?

MV/JS: On the DS the player will use the stylus for navigation, puzzle solving, and combat. Additionally, the microphone is used in both single-player and multiplayer cipher labyrinth gameplay. The PSP utilizes Havok in physics-based environmental challenges where the gameplay can be different each time you play it depending on what you do. On the PS2 you'll be able to use the analog stick to bring whipped enemies in close for a little payback. And on the Wii the player will "be" Indiana Jones by utilizing the gesture system of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. You'll be able to steer vehicles, fly planes, drive tanks, and escape sudden death in a raft. Players will also be able to play co-op with a friend in a separate storyline as well as unlocking two- to four-player versus mode. And last but definitely not least, you are able to unlock the classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis game and play it for the first time ever on the Wii platform!

The famed fictional archaeologist is on the hunt for yet another mysterious artifact.
The famed fictional archaeologist is on the hunt for yet another mysterious artifact.

GS: What about content? Will there be any unique content on the different platforms?

MV/JS: Indy explores the catacombs underneath Paris in that DS-exclusive location. On the PSP version the game begins in 1922 when Indy is just a young lad exploring ancient Mayan ruins with a schoolmate who will eventually become his archnemesis. On the Wii version you'll be able to drive a motorbike, fly planes using the Wii Remote like a flight stick, drive tanks, and escape sudden death in a raft by rowing.

GS: How did the inclusion of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis come about for the Wii game?

MV/JS: This idea was brought to us by the developer Artificial Mind and Movement. It seemed like a great fit for the Wii, and of course a natural for bonus content on Staff of Kings, so it was a very easy decision for LucasArts to make. We're really happy with the way it came across, and we feel that gamers will be pleased with the results as well.

GS: Thanks for your time, guys.

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