Wanted: Weapons of Fate Q&A - Bullet Curving, Cover, and Environments

Universal Pictures producer Nick Torchia explains how to shoot a gun around a corner.

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Wanted: Weapons of Fate
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The story of Wanted, in which an everyman is inducted into a secret clan of assassins with questionable motives, started in a comic book penned by comic author Mark Millar, and then hit the big screen in a 2008 motion-picture adaptation. Now Wanted is headed to a video game system near you in a new game that will draw inspiration from both the comic series and the movie, and will include plenty of ducking behind cover, dramatic slow-motion shoot-outs, and of course, curving bullet shots around corners. Universal Pictures producer Nick Torchia explains.

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GameSpot: We understand that the gun battles in Wanted: Weapons of Fate are all about the unique gunplay made famous in the motion picture. Tell us about what went into the implementation of the bullet-curving mechanic that makes this game so distinctive. How did the team go about designing how it would work, and making it actually work in the game, in practice?

Nick Torchia: This was something that we spent a good amount of time on because no other game had tried to implement anything like it before.

We went through a ton of rapid prototyping and play-testing to get the feel of the mechanic down, and to make sure it was fun. Since the idea of curving a bullet is foreign to shooter players, we had to make sure that it felt accessible enough for all players to get into the game and have fun, but deep enough that you had to work at becoming great at it. Curving bullets is core to the film, and to the game, so it was really important that we spent our time iterating and iterating to make sure curving bullets felt right.

Curving bullets: When you absolutely, positively have to shoot around a corner.
Curving bullets: When you absolutely, positively have to shoot around a corner.

GS: Most shooters are usually about getting bigger and better guns over time. Given that one of the key features of Wanted is curving handgun bullets, how will this work in the game? Will we see curving sniper-rifle bullets or rocket-propelled grenades, for instance?

NT: You're right, that is exactly what most games do. For this game, we wanted to try something new and concentrate primarily on hand guns. Since the film concentrated on pistols, we had the background to support doing this, and with the new curve mechanic, adding giant machine guns would have felt awkward and wouldn't really have made sense. Wesley is an assassin--he moves quickly and effectively to eliminate his targets, he doesn't stomp around in giant metal boots carrying a BFG. We do, however, have sniper rifles and minigun action scenes, so it's not all pistols. But pistols--and double-pistol bullet curving--is a heck of a lot of fun.

GS: Aside from curving bullets with a flick of the wrist, another iconic image from the motion picture is assassins countering enemy gunshots with their own gunshots, so that bullets collide in midair. How does this work in the actual game?

NT: When we started, we talked about having that happen in the levels, but the mechanic was difficult to figure out, and implementing in the actual levels could have slowed our fast-paced action game to a crawl while players deflected bullet after bullet. That's really not what we were aiming for.

So instead, we have interactive sequences that let players shoot oncoming bullets. It is a nice homage to the classic arcade game Time Crisis when you shoot the bullets, so it's really fun. These interactive sequences are very elaborate set pieces for players and add a nice, refreshing twist to the gameplay. Incorporating these let GRIN take the action in these scenes way over the top, exactly like the look and feel of the action in the movie, which is great.

GS: We understand that the game will make strong use of cover as an important part of the game, and got our first look at the "active cover" system at last year's E3, which seems to have multiple parts. For instance, it seems like your character will automatically acquire context-sensitive cover as you go? Your character will automatically flatten himself against the nearest wall or duck under the serving cart in an airplane aisle, for instance? How will this auto-cover system work in a way that makes real-world sense without being frustrating for players?

NT: In the film, [Wesley is] an assassin and [is] incredibly fast and agile. We took that idea, and that definition of character motion, and applied it directly to the cover system of Wanted. A lot of fans are used to cover, but they will be surprised at how quickly cover in our game actually moves. It's different and fun, and something they haven't really seen before.

You can move from point to point with a simple push of the button. And this is context-sensitive, so that lets players move in a very easy fashion, yet have complete control. We call it "chaining cover," where players can move from cover to cover and, at the same time, build up momentum. So as you go faster, the enemies around you start to slow down, so you can be more strategic.

Curved shots are even deadlier when you're using them with effective cover.
Curved shots are even deadlier when you're using them with effective cover.

GS: Another aspect of cover seems to be the game's interactive environments. We've seen examples of players blasting explosive barrels or fire extinguishers to smash up walls and nearby cover, pushing dining carts to hide behind, and so on, but to about what extent will players really be able to change, interact with, and blow up what's around them?

NT: Of course, it is a pretty simple equation; players like to blow [stuff] up. For some reason in a level, there's this giant red barrel next to a bunch of enemies, and it's just fun to shoot the barrel and watch them all fly through the air. To me, it never gets old, and games still to this day have that in their level designs.

GS: Another important part of cover seems to be the way players will be able to seamlessly jump from cover to cover by hopping or mantling over small obstacles to constantly stay in motion. Will this system be in place for all levels in the game? How does it work in practice with cover that you can destroy?

NT: Players will be able to move from cover to cover from the beginning. How they use this ability is entirely up to them. Each level or area gives players the freedom to approach [each level] from any angle. Some players will be more likely to go run-and-gun; some will use the cover system to take out enemies. It really depends on what type of player you are. For me, I love to run-and-gun, but there will be a certain point in the level where you will have to use cover. As for mantling and hopping items--once you get moving quickly in cover, you'll find yourself flowing into that [motion] naturally and without stopping.

GS: All things considered, it seems like Wanted: Weapons of Fate will offer a very different experience from the average shooter. The game seems to be more about holing up behind cover, curving bullets, [and] then using the active cover system to stay in motion behind cover...rather than gunning on the run. How would you describe the pacing of the game? How will people who are used to run-and-gun gameplay adapt to this game?

NT: This game is really fast! We always have something thrown at players to keep them moving and shooting, and players who are good will still use "chaining cover" quite quickly, flying around a level through cover in a blur. Try to imagine a third-person action game that is the love child of Gears of War and Max Payne. That game is Wanted: Weapons of Fate. We take the best elements of both games and created a fun and action-packed title.

Wanted will also satisfy the requirement of diving through the air in slow motion with a gun in each hand.
Wanted will also satisfy the requirement of diving through the air in slow motion with a gun in each hand.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the shooting, bullet-curving, cover systems, or just about the way the game will play in general?

NT: Master the curve! It is really fun to kill enemies in various ways with the curve mechanic and even more fun--when you really master it--to kill a bunch of enemies with a single curving bullet! Also, look for a supercool female unlockable character in this game. I think she is the coolest secret character in a game yet.

GS: Thanks, Nick.

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