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Interview: The Fight – Lights Out

TheSixthAxis gets down and dirty.

Recently TheSixthAxis were invited to a pre-launch press event for Sony’s PlayStation Move controller. A showcase opportunity allowing us to see new games; titles which will either launch with the device on September 17th or scheduled to release soon after, and the chance to talk to the actual developers of games that utilise Move, it was also a hands-on experience with the upcoming technology.

We’ve already attested that the technology works as expected, mentioned that it has a few quirks (but nothing that will ultimately detract from using it) and presented an in-depth look at some of the games. On show at the event, however, were numerous other titles consumers will soon becoming all too familiar with in about a month’s time – and beyond. Apart from Sports Champions (which, in my opinion, is exceptionally polished and resoundingly surpasses its obvious ubiquitous competitor) we also got a look at Heavy Rain using Move, Kung Fu Rider, The Shoot, EyePet Move Edition, TV Superstars and street-fighting slug-fest The Fight: Lights Out

Pacifist that I am, I acutely watched contenders get to grips with the title, throwing jaw-cracking hay-makers and eye-stinging jabs before talking with Kieran Gaynor, the game’s Associate Producer.

[TheSixthAxis] Unlike some other games here today, the Fight won’t be a launch title. There was talk that it might be, however.

[Kieran Gaynor] Yeah, that’s right. It was originally scheduled to be, but in the best interest to the game we decided it needed to have some more development time.

[TSA] Of all the games here it’s obviously the most adult focused, a bit more visceral, one for the more maturer of audiences. Does the team feel any extra pressure? The fact that hardcore gamers are going to naturally gravitate more towards this title than some of the others. You’re flying the flag for Move outside of the casual sphere so to speak.

[KG] Not really. We don’t see it as something that is specifically marketed toward hardcore gamers or maybe people who enjoy a good Street Fighter game. It’s not aimed that way. It’s a game about street-fighting using one-to-one controls giving you full control of the fighter.

[TSA] Looking at the demonstrations you’ve given this evening, The Fight definitely seems to be a game that almost demands the use of two controllers. You can play it with one, though.

[KG] You can play it with one. You can use a SixAxis pad as a rudimentary move controller but to get the most out of the game you ideally need to have two Move controllers.

[TSA] How long has The Fight been in development?

[KG] The Move side of the game has been in development for about seven months now. However, it originally came to us as a SixAxis game, and when it went through the green-light process we got the PlayStation Move. We went back and said we love the game idea but we want to do it with Move. And Coldwood Interactive, a company based out in Sweden, they went away, they then came back and gave us a Move demo and here we are.

[TSA] In terms of the evolution of the technology, compared to what you had at the start of the project, how has Move come on?

[KG] It’s been leaps and bounds. Originally, as with all new technology, people didn’t really know what it could do, and as we’ve gone down the road we’ve done research into just how exact we can be with it. We’ve got millimeter detections. Now, if you even turn your hands it’s going to pick it up. And we’ve got it to the point that, depending on how good a puncher you are, it determines how much damage you’re going to do. If you just hold your hands straight and just throw them forward, you’re really not going to do much damage. As soon as someone throws a proper punch, however …

[TSA] You’ve brought along a new build tonight.

[KG] We have. We still have a couple of months left to fine-tune.

[TSA] Do you see the guys working with Move again? How have they found the experience overall?

[KG] It’s been a positive experience all-round. It hasn’t been an easy road of development, with it being new technology, so we’ve had to learn what we can and can’t do. We’ve spent a lot of time getting head-tracking to work with the hand-tracking, but it all works now, it’s all looking good. It’s been a hard cycle but it’s been a good one. It’s been worthwhile.

[TSA] In terms of support post launch, what are the plans for DLC?

[KG] Yeah, we’re planning on introducing new fighters, new arenas, more customisation to your characters. The exact route we’re going to take I can’t say yet as we haven’t got everything down just yet, but the ideas are there and it will be supported after launch.

[TSA] So far we’ve only seen one-player on display tonight. Can you talk a bit about the two-player experience?

[KG] Sure. You can go split-screen and go toe-to-toe or you can go online.

[TSA] Tricky to get a good punch in over the network? Any issues with latency?

[KG] No, not at all.

[TSA] I’ve seen older builds and it really has improved since previous versions.

[KG] We’ve done a lot of R&D and we’ve had builds where the head and hand tracking weren’t fully working together. We didn’t want to go to an event and show it off as it would have been unfair to the game. Now we’ve got to the point where we can show it off. With old versions of the game it was quite confined, you have to stand here, you have to do this and that. Now we’ve improved a lot of the flow of the game and the technology itself is working a lot better.

[TSA] The one-to-one mapping looks pretty tight.

[KG] It is. As I say, it’s down to millimeters, and with our calibration process we detect the length of each player’s arms. It’s not going to work if some guy who’s six foot passes it to someone who’s four foot. It’s not going to work. So, we calibrate between every fight – your character’s arms are the same length as your own arms. If you have a long reach you can use it to your advantage. If you have a powerful swing you can use that to your advantage. The technology in Move, there’s a magnetometer and a gyroscope so it detects force as well as where it is in 3D space. If you throw a light punch, the character will throw a light punch. If you throw a heavy punch – and it hits – the enemy is going to know about it.

[TSA] It would seem that you are inhabiting your own space. There’s not much out there as a direct competitor. Wii Boxing, perhaps. But it really is apples and oranges.

[KG] Yeah, but we don’t see ourselves as direct competitor to the Wii. They’ve got the social gaming market and the casual gaming market. What we see with the Move is, we see ourselves as the next step of taking people into gaming. There’s nothing that you can’t do with a Move that you couldn’t do with a SixAxis. It’s just a matter of getting people used to the idea that they’re not sitting down with a pad. Or standing up with a pad.

[TSA] What about combos, finishing moves …

[KG] Oh yeah, they’re all in there.

[TSA] Any personal favourites?

[KG] Yeah, I like giving him a good slap in the end. But you can throw a knee in there. Or a butt. Or a good elbow.

[TSA] Any concern about negative press? Tabloids love to pick up on any violent elements in games, and the public’s perception of street-fighting is not what you might say glowing at the best of times.

[KG] We’re aware that some people are not going to enjoy what the game is about. At the same time, it does have a 16 rating so it’s not meant to be sold to minors. People who are going to buy this game are going to know exactly what they’re getting. So, any negative press we feel we might get is going to be from someone who doesn’t quite understand it. ‘Ah, you just go out on to the street and beat someone up.” It’s not just that. There is a career. There is progression. It’s the story of a guy who starts off at the bottom and trains to improve. It’s basic boxing training. [Kieran starts to cycle through the game options] And to take you through your paces is the one and only …

[TSA] Danny Trejo!

[KG] Yep! Danny Trejo. And he’ll take you through it. He’ll teach you how to throw punches, all the dirty moves, how to defend yourself, how to box.

[TSA] You kept that one quiet.

[KG] Yeah, we kept that one under the carpet. But we’ll be at Cologne, so everyone is going to know about Danny soon enough.

[TSA] And, finally, what about a release date?

[KG] We’re looking at the end of October, start of November.

Our thanks to Kieran for taking the time to speak to us on the night. And if you don’t know who Danny Trejo is, well, first, shame on you! Second, just watch this.

14 Comments
  1. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    I think it’ll benefit from a captive market as previews seem to be a bit average, unfortunately. Lovely interview, though. Really shows how the game and the hardware are working well together.

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:14.
    • Kovacs
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      There’s some good fun spectating. Watching someone trying to slap someone else is surprisingly enjoyable!
      :)

      Glad you liked the interview.

      Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:16.
  2. Kamokazi-UK
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    I was always hoping this would be a launch title. Do you have a definite launch list yet?

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:29.
  3. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    nice interview Kovacs, looking good I think. Not my type of game but I reckon it could show off what Move can do.

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:36.
  4. Pete_UK
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Did anyone but me read ‘dirty moves’ in a scouse accent?

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:39.
    • Kovacs
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      Kieran is indeed a scouser so well spotted.
      :)

      Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:44.
    • STILLCANTTHINKOFAGOODPSNNAME
      Member
      Since: Mar 2010

      calm down i read the whole thing in scouse

      Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 11:58.
  5. Aitrus
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    I’m not sure this is my type of game, but this did pique my interest. Good job on the interview, Kovacs.

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 09:44.
  6. Radboud
    Member
    Since: Nov 2008

    What is the lag like in the latest build?

    I’ll defo gonna check it out at gamescom next sunday.

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 10:20.
  7. Charmed_Fanatic
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Shame it got moved back as not a release title

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 11:20.
    • Kamokazi-UK
      Member
      Since: Sep 2009

      likewise.

      Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 11:44.
  8. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I’m not that interested in this game but from what he said about using a sixaxis it sounds like you could possibly play it in a limited fashion just using two sixaxis.

    I take it you folks at TSA didn’t get a hands-on with Tumble? – That’s one of the more interesting titles for me.

    Comment posted on 17/08/2010 at 18:08.

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