Once Eddie acquires The Deuce, his kickass hotrod, players can access the vehicle's "mouth of metal," which functions like a radio, says Schafer. Songs can be arranged into playlists, shuffled, and certain songs or entire genres of metal can even be turned off. Among other hidden items and upgrades, players will be able to hunt for "buried metal" as they drive around the realm. Locating these hotspots and playing a shredding guitar solo will cause twisted monuments to rise from the earth that add new music to your repertoire. Now, that's freakin' metal.
The Man In Black
Eddie's looks and mannerisms were modeled after Jack Black (with a touch of Glen Danzig thrown in for good measure), which was decided well before the renowned actor signed-on to do the voice work for the character. Schafer admits he initially never even thought he'd be able to get Black at all, but he wanted to make a game the actor would enjoy. Later on, he learned Black was a serious gamer and had played and enjoyed Psychonauts. They eventually had a meeting where Schafer showed black the concept art and talked about the direction he wanted to take with Brutal Legend. Black got on board with the project immediately. "I knew we were making the right kind of game, because Jack Black liked it," said Schafer. "He was great to work with, a crack up in the studio, and a nice guy."
Given Black's work on School of Rock and with Tenacious D, it was easy to write Eddie's dialogue with him in mind, says Schafer. Black improvised a lot of the dialogue as well, and added his own touch and personality to Eddie's. In some instances, the team simply taped the actor playing the game, and worked some of the funny comments he spat out in mid-session into the finished game. Other elements of Eddie's character - like a power slide move where he runs up to enemies, slides on his knees while playing a power chord on his guitar, and sends them flying into the air - were similarly inspired by Black.
Heavy Metal Warfare
Schafer's team began working on getting Brutal Legend's multiplayer mode nailed down and running smoothly before anything else. The idea, he explains, was to tackle the hardest aspect of the game immediately (this being the first time they'd put together multiplayer components to a game). Mixing action and strategy, the multiplayer aspect pits two armies against one another, with both seeking to obliterate their opponent's stage. There's far more to it than what you might find in a typical deathmatch, he says. You'll be able to select different types of warriors to add to your army, choose where to send them on the map and when to capture resources, and decide how you want to invest those resources in battle. Though it's all about destroying your rival's stage, there's far more depth to it than just that.
The concept of leading an army of heavy metal warriors carries over into the main game, which gradually introduces key elements found in the multiplayer mode as you play. An extensive introduction section lays down the game's story and shows you the ropes before the game unwinds into and opens up into a setting that lets you follow the main campaign or explore numerous side quests at your whim. Some missions are combat focused and revolve around Eddie cleaving skulls with his axe and guitar, while others have you recruiting and controlling other units to stock your growing army and battle the demonic forces corrupting the world.
As immense as the dark world in Brutal Legend already is to begin with, Schafer says he's currently tossing around ideas for possible DLC to add to the game down the road, though there haven't been any solid decisions about what will happen after the main game launches next month. There's a lot of back-story and research that went into crafting the fantasy realm; far more than will fit in a single game. A full-blown sequel and other continuations are not being ruled out. "There are definitely more stories to tell in the world of Brutal Legend," he says. "There's nothing concrete yet, but we'd like to expand the world for sure."
CCC Staff Contributor