CCC: How and when did the project originate: Was it suggested by Universal or did Radical initiate development?
Radical: Universal had the idea for a Scarface game kicking around for a while, because the franchise has such a strong lead character and is so focused on action that it was a perfect fit to be made into a video game. Vivendi was really excited about the idea and saw great promise for a Scarface game, so when a team at Radical became available in the early fall of 2003, the project got underway.
CCC: How early on in development was it decided to create a "What if Tony lived?" scenario rather than follow the plotline of the original 1983 movie? Were any other scenarios suggested?
Radical: There were quite a few scenarios pitched early on in development, one of them involved following the plotline of the Scarface movie. However, that scenario really wasn’t appealing to anyone involved in the creation of the game for a number of reasons. I mean, what is there to add through a game to a classic film that was so perfectly executed? Also, who wants to play as a character that they already know will be dead at the end of the game? It just didn’t sound like the right thing to do for Tony Montana – he really deserved something bigger, more innovative and more exciting.
In the end, the ‘What if scenario’ gave us a great deal more freedom to both reference the movie (specifically the climactic Mansion shootout), and to create a game where we could unleash the character of Tony Montana in an open world environment. One of the primary goals of development was to allow the user to ‘Be Tony F-ing Montana’. The ‘what if’ conceit gave us the creative space we needed.
CCC: After playing Scarface for hours now, the differences between it and other games in the "free-roam" genre are crystal clear, but what would you say are the 3 defining factors that separates Scarface: TWIY from those "other" games?
Radical: The first major difference is that the game mechanics change as the player makes progress. You start selling to dealers on corners, then you buy fronts to sell larger quantities, then you make contacts in the islands and buy kilograms, then you are distributing this to all your fronts. All the while you are taking over Miami.
The second difference is that other mechanics are tightly intertwined. Like the need to eliminate other gangs to enforce your grip on the turf you are contesting. These gangs are more than happy to mess you up for all the trouble you are causing them and you notice this “payback” (front attacks, car bombs, drive-by’s) when your gang heat rises. You need to intimidate them, or clear them out if you have any hope of taking control.Additionally, the economy is not a tacked on feature. The money you make is essential to buy fronts, payoff cops, buy more drugs, weapons and Exotics. This last category includes cars and boats that directly affect your ability to run drugs and kick ass.
Finally, the Blind Rage combat mechanic can get Tony through the most overwhelming scenarios by encouraging the player to be more like Tony as often as possible – Ballsy.
CCC: What madman at Radical decided that it would be cool to be able to shoot off a dude's testicles one by one? That's just mean. Now that we think of it, was this a woman's idea of a good time?
Radical: The name is Jason Bone. Combat designer extraordinaire. But to be honest, leaving the text onscreen that calls out exactly which nut you hit, for example, came about from the reactions of people who played the game early on, including testers, press and others. It was originally just for reference for our testing team, but everyone got such a kick out of it, we just had to make it part of the final game.