The Kore Gang Interview
|Interview with Oskar Burman, Senior Producer, on the whacky and loony release, The Kore Gang.
|05.02.05 - 10:32 pm
XG: What is your name and position on the team? Could you give us a little background of your company?
OB: My name is Oskar Burman and I'm Senior Producer here at UDS, leading the team that's working on The Kore Gang. In the past we've created games like "Ignition", "World's Scariest Police Chases" and "Futurama".
XG: How long has The Kore Gang been in development for, and, what stage is it at?
OB: The game's been in development around two years and we plan to have it done during first half of 2004. Currently we're implementing the last levels and the bosses.
XG: Could you give us a rundown on the structure of how the game works and the actions we are able to take?
OB: The Kore Gang is an action-adventure with unique interface where you control three characters in one, all of them sitting inside a robotic suit. Be part of strange journey in a new world with twisted environments and join the adventure to save the humankind from the Kranks evil mass-destruction weapon. The big difference from a normal platform game is that we've focused much on creating an exciting and intriguing story with loads of humor!
The three characters you control have their different strengths and weaknesses and each situation suits one of the characters best. For example our heroine, Pixie is very athletic and is the best one to use for climbing and jumping. Madboy is the one to use when you end up in a fight and Rex, Madboys' dog is extremely good at listening and smelling things humans don't.
XG: How would you describe The Kore Gang and, how does it differ from other games in the genre?
OB: Well, the gameplay itself is pretty similar to Jak&Daxter and Ratchet&Clank but we've focused more on creating a different and interesting story. It centers around aliens invading earth, but instead of coming from the sky, they actually come from the inside of the earth, drilling themselves up in a gigantic drill-ship. The three friends Pixie, Madboy and Rex accidentally finds The Kore Suit, which is a robotic suit which reads the mind of the user and takes what you're good at and makes you super-good at it.
So, for example, Pixie, who's very athletic gets very advanced climbing arms when entering the Kore suit. When she's in control you can jump between the cliffs and attach to almost any surface to reach places otherwise impossible to reach.
XG: How is the combat executed in the game? How many weapons etc will we Be able to harness in the full game?
OB: Well, as explained earlier, Madboy is the one taking care of the Nasty bits. We he enters the Core suit he gets gigantic fists, making him ideal for taking out enemies. There are several different moves at your disposal and Madboy can also bounce back bullets shot at him with his fists.
There's also several ways to take out the enemies. For example, one of our favorite enemies is the Moscow, a light-red creature somewhere in between a cow and a human. Despite their huge head size, they are very unintelligent. The truth is that they don't have a brain at all, but a little creature called Brainy inside the head controlling them. The Brainy cannot do any harm on it's own but inside a Moscows head it makes the Moscow do evil deeds. There's two ways of defeating this monster, either Madboy uses his fists to take the Moscow out, a rather dangerous project, or Pixie uses her arms, waiting on safe distance until the Brainy opens the head to look out, then Pixie can quickly grab the Brainy with her long spike arms and pull him out of the Moscow head. Now the Moscow enters a Zombie state and can easily be defeated by Madboy.
XG: How many levels/scenarios will we be able to take on in the final version? Could you tell us about some?
OB: Well, since the whole game takes part inside this huge alien vessel one could think the levels are very small, tight and dark, but think again, for those aliens have craved for the surface for centuries. They've craved so much that they've created huge rooms inside the ship, and pained the walls with sky backdrops to create a feeling of being outside, much like the feature film "Truman Show" where Jim Carey finds himself in a studio whilst thinking it's the real world. So, in the game, as the player approaches the backdrop the actual metal plates building up the dome becomes visible. The game features many of these rooms, from the Junk Yard in the bottom filled with garbage and used robots and junk to the green paradise of Zeek Garden where the harvest of Zeek eggs is done. Then we have the Zook Lab where the Kranks experiment to come up with new weapons and the Prison where they hold the resistance behind bars to keep in power. In total the game features more than 20 unique environments to explore, and one of the stranger ones must with no doubt be the level that exists inside a huge creatures stomach.
The player has to find his way out of this acid filled place before being digested by the monster!
XG: What games or movies have influenced The Kore Gang?
OB: Artistic inspiration was mainly taken from Tim Burtons work on movies such as "Nightmare before Christmas" but also from games such as Monkey Island and Earthworm Jim. We love twisted alternative worlds and this has been achieved with strong art direction and concept art of almost every object in the game. It all fits together perfectly and the players will find subtle details over and over again in the graphics when playing the game. There's a lot of references to contemporary culture both in the art and in the storyline which will make players have as fun playing the game as we had creating it!
XG: Could you describe your favorite part of the game?
OB: Oh, there's many, but right now it's probably one of the bosses we've just finished. The fight is just hilariously funny and during the gameplay the guy you're fighting bursts out singing and it just suits the game perfectly. We had a hard time though, finding actors for the voiceover who could both act AND sing!
XG: What games are you looking forward to in the next year?
OB: I can't deny "Half Life 2" will be very interesting to play but I'm also looking forward to lesser-known titles such as the next game from the team behind "Ico".
XG: How have you found Microsoft? How do they fare with other companies from a developer's point of view?
OB: Well Microsoft are one of the easiest I've worked with. They're very quick with answers on questions and really tries to help their developers to get the best result possible from the console.
XG: What is the predicted release date for The Kore Gang in the US and UK?
OB: The game will be released during first half of 2004.
XG: What are your future plans? Will we see any more Xbox titles from your team?
OB: Possibly. First we will see how this game works out on the Xbox market. Generally this genre works better on the Ps2 but we believe the Xbox market is ready for games like this. Games with more humor, not taking themselves so seriously.