Now that MADWORLD is released, I can focus this blog on things like difficult periods during development, or how to get the most out of your MADWORLD experience. I’m also going to do something new at the end of the blog – Insider Information! If you read my blog and then play MADWORLD, it will be 10 times as fun as it was before! (I think…)
With that out of the way, let’s get to the topic at hand. Controls!
But since this is a Wii game, that automatically translates into how you use gesture controls in gameplay. Right!? I think we ended up with absolutely awesome Wii Controls, but it was definitely one of the biggest challenges during development. It was a long hard road to arrive at the final product.
At the start, once we decided to make MADWORLD a Wii game, we began to think about how we would use the Wii Remote. What we initially ran up against was that gesture controls and MADWORLD didn’t seem to match tempo-wise. The more and more you swung the Wii Remote around, the slower the game tempo became, and that feeling of visceral fun that comes with an action game fell by the wayside.
But you can’t just eliminate gesture controls entirely, so we would try various control schemes, and iterate upon them again and again. For instance, we tried things like using only the Wii Remote (no nunchuk) turned sideways (like Mario Kart)… Of course, all of these attempts were thrown out pretty quickly.
Amongst all these efforts, I found an answer. We needed to make the buttons the center of our scheme. Up until that point, we had been focused on how we would swing the Wii Remote, but we switched things up and focused on a button-based control scheme that maintained the tempo of “existing action games.” But that doesn’t mean that we abandoned gestures entirely. We turned it over to members of our team, the Bayonetta team, and Mikami-san’s team and listened to their opinions on where they would like us to introduce gesture controls, whittling down the possibilities.
Basically, we moved all of the player movement to the nunchuk, and let the Wii Remote handle all the player actions. The only gesture used in movement is the Backflip, which you execute by yanking the nunchuk towards you. With the chainsaw, you hold down the B button to activate it, and then swing it sideways or up and down. The chainsaw responds to that and cuts horizontally or vertically. We also added specific gestures for the finishing moves. There are also specific gestures for attacks used during the boss fights.
By doing this, we placed the basic controls on the buttons, but were able to get a good balance by accenting these controls with gestures. That’s when we knew MADWORLD’s controls were set. Controls are absolutely critical, and can affect the quality of a game, especially action games, and even more so action games on the Wii. Starting with our lead programmer, Tarukado-san, we were able to pull through thanks to our numerous talented staff. I’m not sure if the controls will please everyone, but I think that we are using the best points of the Wii and integrating them into the controls. I’m quite satisfied with the result.
When you swing the Wii remote, are you swinging the Wii Remote with all you might? To make sure we maintained the tempo of the game, and also to make sure you arm does get tired, we adjusted the way we detected swing strength. So you don’t have to flail your arms around, please just flick your wrist and destroy all the enemies in your path! Of course, if you get into the Jack state of mind and want to swing for the fences, you are more than welcome to! However, just make sure you don’t destroy the room you are in by the time you are done…
The soundtracks have finally arrived at the office!