The lights are on
A recurring theme during our visit to Visceral Montreal was the team’s focus on making Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel feel like a summer action blockbuster. We had a chance to talk to key members of the development team about how they planned on accomplishing this, and they offered up a variety of inspirations. Read on to learn about the games and films that inspired Visceral Montreal during the development process.
Tone: The A-Team
Visceral Montreal wants to move away from Salem and Rios’ high-fiving antics from the first two games, but it still wants to offer some over-the-top thrills. I asked executive producer Julian Beak to name an example of a film or game that features the right balance of seriousness and fun. “I would say the recent reboot of The A-Team. It’s really fun,” says Beak. “There’s a lot going on there. B.A. is a ***, and they’re doing crazy s---, and they fly a tank. Some s--- goes on, right? We don’t fly tanks, we don’t try to get into the ridiculous, but I want you to know that it’s not like Black Hawk Down in terms of feeling really heavy. [The A-Team are] the original non-d-----baggy private military contractors. You got a problem? Who do you call? You call the A-Team and they get it done.”
Music: Brian Tyler (Hollywood composer)
Many recent Hollywood blockbusters have enlisted Brian Tyler for pounding and intense scores. In the last few years, he’s composed both Expendables movies, Fast Five, Rambo, and many others. He even has gaming experience thanks to his work on Need For Speed: The Run and Modern Warfare 3. “In any entertainment medium, all we want to do is tell a story and with as much emotion as we can,”says Visceral Montreal’s audio director Francois Lafluer. “[Brian] knows how to tell a story.”
Setting: Robert Rodriguez films
Visceral is also looking to Hollywood for inspiration on how to portray the lawless side of Mexico. For the setting, the team looked toward films like Desperado, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, and Machete. “There are lots of inspirations from Robert Rodriguez, when you think of the cinematography and the color palettes of his movies,” says Julian Beak. “The gritty, visceral tone of those definitely influenced us.”
Destruction: Red Faction: Guerrilla, Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Thanks to the Frostbite 2 engine, Visceral Montreal is free to bring destruction to the Army of Two series on a scale that hasn’t been possible before. We asked the team’s visual effects artist Marc D’Amico about games that impressed him with their level of destruction. “The ones that impressed me most are definitely Red Faction: Guerrilla and Battlefield: Bad Company 2,” says D’Amico. “Red Faction was an interesting take on it, but I like what Battlefield did by putting you in positions where you could be exposed at any moment.”
Co-Op: Gears of War, Halo
Army of Two has been built around co-op since the first game, and the team pays close attention to other series with cooperative campaigns. Coming from Visceral’s main studio in California, producer Zach Mumbach is relatively new to developing for two players. We spoke to him about co-op experiences that struck a chord with him. “Obviously we look at a lot of co-op games as we jump into that realm ourselves,” says Mumbach. “To call a few, I think the Gears of War franchise has done really good with that. Especially with them being third-person co-op...we look at that a lot. The Halo games have done some great things with co-op. I’ll look at any game with co-op, because even if it’s not considered a good or great game, there’s something in pretty much every game that comes out that you can at least learn from and build on top of.”
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