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Bionic Commando: The Swedish PerspectiveVote Now!

Per Juhlén, Monday 07-07-2008, 11:35:52

Per Juhlén

Executive Producer

Time at Grin: 3 years and 6 months

Titles: GRAW1, GRAW2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Bionic Commando.

As we are in the final stages of Bionic Commando Rearmed and Bionic Commando is getting further along, it is both interesting and useful to look back at what we have experienced.

The work on Bionic Commando has introduced a lot of new challenges to Grin as an upcoming developer and to myself as a person. Not only have we taken on the challenge to develop a game based on a classic masterpiece, we also took on the challenge of being one of the few developers working closely with a Japanese publisher.

The cultural differences are vast between Europe and Japan, that was no surprise, but still something that needs to be taken into account and is a factor that has affected the day-to-day work. Apart from these two factors, we have also faced the task of creating a game that blends the western style with the Japanese style of making games from a design perspective.

As a person working on the production side it has granted me tons of knowledge within many areas as well as numerous headaches. A common mistake within any industry is to go into a new project with the mindset that there is a right way and a wrong way, because there is not. Working in a multi cultural development environment requires a lot of flexibility and an openness to focus on the goal and not get stuck in the process of getting there. We have focused on establishing a unified vision of every task ahead and once that is done, we just agree on the most efficient way of reaching our goal and that is when you need to share the best practice approach. That is the best piece of advice I can give to anyone, regardless whether you are running a project with friends or if you are a well established developer going into a relationship with a publisher.

Looking at Bionic Commando as a brand it definitely has some things that need to be the core around which the game is built. The original stood out because of three things: the swing mechanic and grappling hook, the cover-based gun play and the extremely slick level design that encouraged mastery of the aforementioned mechanics. Well, the music was great as well, which it will be in Bionic Commando Rearmed and Bionic Commando too. (I guess other points will be brought up as well just to flame me).

Bionic Commando Rearmed is a different matter, since it is so closely based on the original title and with the focus of building out an already excellent feature set. The 3D version however introduces so many new possibilities and in them tough design challenges.

We have built the game around the same key components as the original but adapted them to 3D free roaming environments. So the new game play introductions came naturally when designing the game - if you have a grappling hook that you have full control over what would you do? Of course you want to be able to interact with background objects and enemies, throw objects at enemies, use it in close combat and also a mean for transportation.

And what would Bionic Commando be without guns and gun fights, well, not Bionic Commando. So we implemented a straight-forward and well-balanced gun fighting system that works well together with the swing mechanic. Things needs to be handled on a slightly higher level due to the speed with which you can travel and the greater distances that this requires. So naturally the levels need to be designed around the grappling hook being your way of exploring the game and all the possibilities that it introduces.

And this time around you will have various multiplayer modes on both titles which will give you the opportunity to enjoy the games a long time after you have played through the single player campaigns.

Both Bionic Commando Rearmed and Bionic Commando are exceptional games and will attract the same crowd to a large extent. They are of course different in many aspects but just as the original they are focused on a few key features around which the rest of the game is designed and built. This is the vision upon which the Bionic Commando will re live its life once again and it will be unique, fun and challenging just as the original game still is.

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