News for Oct. 10, 2005

Kong Mobile Game Producer Interview

10/10/05, 9:36 pm EST - Xoanon

King Kong Mobile Game Producer
Philippe Laurens, Producer of the King Kong mobile game

Could you briefly describe the King Kong game and tell us about its main features?

King Kong is an action game with dual gameplay: you have the opportunity to play both as King Kong and a human character. There are two distinct modes of play: King Kong’s parts are action oriented; and as a human, you are Jack, the main character in the movie. Jack’s parts mostly feature puzzles and cooperation with Ann. These two parts work perfectly in unison, and yet each part keeps its own unique atmosphere and gameplay. And on top of that this ambitious game features rich graphics, big sprites and animated decors!

Who is the game’s target audience?

King Kong is a casual game sure to please all types of gamers. The game is easy to play, and the harder parts include a tutorial to help you along

What pushed you to create a game with a dual gameplay that divides gaming between the part of King Kong and the part of a human explorer?

We thought that creating a game focusing exclusively on King Kong or Jack and Ann would deprive gamers of one of the movie’s main aspects.
Each part is very different from the other. There is a real contrast between playing as King Kong and playing as a human. The gameplay isn’t the only difference: the atmosphere, rhythm and emotional involvement change completely when switching parts. King Kong is a massive ape who is comfortable living in the jungle. Humans are small and they feel insecure and frightened in the jungle. We thought that it was a good idea to focus on these emotions to completely immerse players.

Can you give us more details about this dual gameplay and tell us how every part in the game has its own style?

The sequences where you play King Kong are action/platform oriented. King Kong is enormous and can lash out and grab dinosaurs as well as jump up and grab liana. The parts where you play a human mostly include puzzles, temples to explore and riddles. You will also cooperate with Anne as well as fight against the indigenous inhabitants of Skull Island.

Our main goal was to create an atmosphere in which the player would get emotionally involved. King Kong's part is focused on power: you can really feel the character's strength when you play, all you have to do is compare his size to the tiny humans! The screen on the phone will even shake when King Kong first arrives and chases people! There is also a 'rage meter' we incorporated that unlocks very impressive combat moves. We're sure the players will love this! On the other hand, the human part focuses on insecurity.

Is the game closely based on the movie or simply inspired by its universe? What elements from the story did you keep in the game?

The game is closely based on the movie, and the storyline follows the action from two points of view. The major moments in the movie are all present in the game: King Kong meeting Ann, Manhattan, King Kong attacked by planes… We worked closely with Universal Studios to ensure the game resembled the movie as much as possible.

What did you do to immerse players in the game with regards to atmosphere and sound?

We wanted the player to be as emotionally involved as possible. Everything in the game was designed with this in mind: King Kong’s environment seems small. You can really feel how powerful and fearless he is. On the other hand, when playing as a human, the environment seems huge and dark. You can definitely feel that it is a risky and dangerous place for a human to be.

How did you work on modelling King Kong? Does he really look like the real King Kong that we see in the movie?

Yes, he looks like the real King Kong. Details down to the scars on King Kong’s body have been reproduced in the game. Universal provided us with a lot of information and we also had access to modelling that was made by Ubisoft for their version. On a technical level, we worked very hard on this character to produce the best replica of King Kong possible. His animations are highly advanced and composed of more than 70 moves and 300 images. This resulted in a very fluid, solid and detailed animation.

What about the environments? How did you create them? Did you get ideas from Universal or Peter Jackson himself? Did you have the opportunity to watch some excerpts from the movie?

Again, Universal gave us all the information we needed. We travelled to Hollywood to go to Universal’s Studios. We saw the decors of the movie firsthand. We had access to a huge database of artwork and hundreds of storyboards made by Peter Jackson’s team! We also read the script to be as faithful to the movie as possible. And a few months later we were honored to see certain excerpts from the movie. It was truly amazing and impressive!

Was Peter Jackson involved in the development of the game?

Yes, he was involved. We presented the game concept to him and he gave an extremely good feedback, adding some helpful comments. He approved our vision of the game storyline and concept, and what we wanted to do, stating he liked the way Gameloft was designing the game.

Peter Jackson is very respected and known as one the greatest directors ever. King Kong is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. I imagine that it must be very exciting to work on such a hot license!

Working on this license has been incredibly exciting. Universal welcomed us and gave us full access to what we needed to create an outstanding game. It was like creators meeting other creators. Something really motivating for all the team!

As you said the game is also scheduled to be released on PC and consoles. How did you collaborate with Ubisoft? What elements did you retain in this version?

Both games have the same concept of a human part and a King Kong part. We met with Michel Ancel, the producer of the console version. He shared his opinions and gave us some good advice. He was really enthusiastic about our game.

What problems did you encounter when working on the game – as much in terms of gameplay as the platform itself?

King Kong is an ambitious game with rich graphics and incredible animations. It was really hard to make everything fit with such limited space. However, King Kong will be available on many mobile phones. Over the years, we have learned to optimize use of phones and fully take advantage of all the space we are given to work with.