INTERVIEW: Omar Kendall talks the clash of IPs in Battle Royale

Leigh Harris
INTERVIEW: Omar Kendall talks the clash of IPs in Battle Royale

At the EB EXPO, MCV caught up with SuperBot Entertainment's Omar Kendall to talk about characters and competition for Playstation All-Stars.

Has it been much of a challenge trying to tie so many third party characters into one game?

It hadn’t dawned on my until recently that there were so many personalities in the same game. I don’t even know if it’s been done before, actually, but it’s pretty cool. In terms of it being a challenge, surprisingly not. I mean Big Daddy went in straight away (we had a really good relationship with the guys), Heihachi as well. I mention those two characters because they’ve been around for a while and are sort of well established.

It’s a pretty precarious situation because, for many people, the first time they’ll be experiencing these characters will be in our game now rather than their origins.

That initial hurdle of just trying to get these guys in the game was actually pretty easy. It’s just a more interesting challenge when the characters themselves are still being worked on.

So there weren’t any other publishers or developers who were reluctant?

Most people just kind of got it straight away. Even now, today, there are certainly some publishers and people who even now just don’t quite get it. That just is what it is. I understand that everyone’s in a different place and has different plans for their brands – it’s all part of the business.

Have there been any conflicts with some developers perceiving their characters as needing to be bigger and more dominant than others?

What immediately springs to my mind is Sackboy. He’s only 10cm tall! I know this because I’ve been told it many times.

Still, in our game, he’s waist-high.

Whenever possible, we try and display Sackboy as 10cm tall (so in cut scenes and whatever), but in the game we display him larger which I believe caused the guys at Media Molecule a bit of anxiety.

But other than Sackboy, we’re also representing all these characters in a 2D game, where most of them are from 3D games, so they seem really different than they would from the back. There are different things you’ll do for the proportions of a character to make him look proper with that shift in perspective.

Most people have been actually very understanding.

So this is obviously a title Sony are looking to push as an ongoing franchise…

Yeah, fingers crossed.

…so with the subtitle right out the gate it shows the promise of longevity. Are you thinking big picture from the word go?

Well, some of that’s beyond my role as a developer working specifically on Battle Royale. I’d love to see it grow, and I can see where you could do a lot of things with a cool roster of interesting characters.

Did anyone turn you down flat out when you asked them for a character?

Yes.

Slightly easier question: are there any characters you’d like to have had in the game which you didn’t get the chance to include this time around?

Also yes, but again I get why sometimes it doesn’t work out. There are many times where the timing is just off, and I give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who’s looking at the situation from the outside in and they’re seeing this developer who are trying a game which is unlike anything they’ve ever tried before. There’s a built-in riskiness to the situation which can make some people wary – I can’t fault anyone for that reasoning.

The best thing we as developers can do is try to prove that this is a good thing for fans and a good thing for these IPs to get together to celebrate the Playstation brand.

Are you targeting people who’ve never played Super Smash Bros. before, or are you thinking there’ll be people who own both consoles who will be making a direct comparison?

I think whether we plan it or not, the direct comparison is inevitable. We didn’t build the game as a kind of alternative to Smash though. We like Smash, and there’s some obvious inspiration that we took from it and from other fighting games (we’re big fighting game fans).

You mean one-on-one fighting games?

Yeah, like Street Fighter, Tekken and that sort of thing. Although personally, I would consider Smash a fighting game when you look at the fundamental mechanics that go into it.

We took inspiration from all these things that we loved and tried to make it something new through the super system and the core mechanics. Your approach to landing your attacks and the flow of the match, the meta-game, is very very different than not only Smash but most fighting games, even though all these games are based off the same fundamentals.

It’s what you build out of those building blocks that makes your game very different.

Thank you for your time.

 

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Tags: interview , eb games , EB EXPO , sony computer entertainment australia , Omar Kendall , SuperBot Entertainment , Playstation Allstars: Battle Royale

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