Monster Madness: Grave Danger Interview (PS3)
And, while any substantial release delays associated with the hardware’s arrival seem to go conveniently unnoticed by detractors, titles such as Eternal Sonata, Overlord: Raising Hell and BioShock are bound to help cement the PS3’s back catalogue of quality -- albeit a little belatedly -- while major exclusive hard hitters loom large on 2008’s horizon.
Bearing that steady evolution in mind, we here at Strategy Informer were recently lucky enough to spend a little quality alone time with none other than Lee Perez, Producer from SouthPeak Interactive, the Virginia-based publisher of action title Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia, which first appeared on the Xbox 360 back in June of 2007 and is now on its way to the PlayStation 3 as Monster Madness: Grave Danger.
Stevie Smith: Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to let our readers in on what to expect from the upcoming release of Monster Madness: Grave Danger. Can you provide a brief genre and gameplay summation for those not already familiar with Monster Madness?
Lee Perez: Sure thing, we wanted to make a fun group game that harkened back to the arcade days of Smash TV and Gauntlet. So Monster Madness: Grave Danger is a four player, top down shooter, with tongue and cheek horror movie / video game clichés. FULL Online & local co-op play through 18 Adventure Mode campaign levels, 100 NEW items and weapon upgrades, 25 NEW Challenge Mode mini-games, and 9 Multiplayer Maps with Free For All Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag support for up to 12 players.
Stevie Smith: Built on an obvious sense of gameplay humour and raucous action, the game offers up four appealing lead protagonists: Zack, Carrie, Andy and Jennifer. Each comes equipped with a specific core attitude and unique abilities and weapons to draw player interest, could you flesh out their attributes for us?
Lee Perez: Well, not to give too much away, we’ve included a plethora of new items in the game that will give players an extra edge on the enemy. Each character has several specific items that are tailored to their personality. For example, Zack can purchase “Boots of Bully Escaping” which let him run faster, or Jennifer’s “Daddy’s Credit Card” which has a vampiric effect on enemies you melee. The mini-games are essentially single player missions that are stand-alone in the game. These challenges will unlock 16 special costumes that players can use in both the story mode (single and co-op) as well as online multiplayer. Allowing gamers to show other players how L33T their character is.
Stevie Smith: And what of the Zombie hordes so intent on feasting on human flesh, are they equally varied and well versed in combat in terms of specific breeds? Also, what can we expect to be confronted with when it comes to level boss confrontations?
Lee Perez: Zombies are clearly the most prevalent antagonist in the game. We have regular, business men, construction worker, exploding and even fat zombies. They have unique attack styles and speeds. They will use nearby objects like toys, tires, barrels, hazard cones, 2x4’s and more. We have over 70 different monsters like vampires, mummies, swamp thing, werewolves, harpies, and even El Chupacabra.
Stevie Smith: The game characterisations carry a very distinctive cartoon style. Did SouthPeak commission a particular comic strip artist or team to design them? If so, can you point us in the right direction to see more of his/her/their excellent work?
Lee Perez: The games look and character art was designed by Immersion Games in Colombia. They developed a fun indy comic book inspired world.
Stevie Smith: With this particular version of the game being a system port, is there any reasoning behind the “Grave Danger” title tweak or is it merely an aesthetic distinction?
Lee Perez: We mainly wanted the PS3 version to stand out in order to avoid confusion. There are a ton of improvements and new content in this version. So we felt it deserved its own place in the Monster Madness world.
Stevie Smith: What caused the game’s release delay to be pushed back from April 22 to September?
Lee Perez: The original timeline was very ambitious considering it was not just a straight port. All of the new content and general improvements took a little longer than anticipated.
Stevie Smith: Coming more than a year after the original release, has the development team utilised any of that chronological stopgap to infuse Monster Madness: Grave Danger with fresh gameplay and feature elements specific to the PlayStation 3?
Lee Perez: It is up you to fight off the monster invasion and save the neighborhood in this action game featuring the following PS3 exclusives. FULL Online co-op play through 18 Adventure campaign levels. 100 NEW power-ups. Unlock 16 NEW character costumes in 25 NEW Challenge Mode mini games. Grave Danger is bigger, longer, and with ONLINE Co-Op.
Stevie Smith: Has the transition to the PlayStation 3 also seen the team apply any fixes to address some of the review criticisms levelled at the original game: namely the control system, in-game camera, and the somewhat user-unfriendly checkpoint system?
Lee Perez: We read all of the press reviews and consumer forum postings and took the feed back to heart. The camera system has been completely revamped, giving closer proximity to the action and better angles for players. The graphics have seen a noticeable texture improvement as it moved over to PS3. We’ve also restructured the control scheme so that the left stick moves your character and the right stick controls aiming and firing of ranged weapons allowing for seamless transitions from melee to ranged combat. It also helps players keep the action flowing non-stop!.
Stevie Smith: Did the development team encounter any particular transitional challenges connected to the PlayStation 3 during the process of porting Grave Danger?
Lee Perez: The only problem we had is that we wanted to create so much content that we would be the first game to use TWO Blu-ray disk. The suits said no.
Stevie Smith: And, simply because fanboys everywhere live for bragging rights, which current home console provided the most promising base to work from?
Lee Perez: We think that each of the consoles provide a unique advantage but we really like would have liked to make a Neo-Geo version.
Stevie Smith: When it comes to multiplayer capabilities, is there any chance Grave Danger will expand beyond the existing online staples such as ‘death match,’ ‘king of the hill,’ and ‘capture the flag’ by introducing a full online cooperative campaign mode?
Lee Perez: You knew you were going to ask so we have up to 12 player Death Match, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag. In addition to PS3 exclusive full online cooperative play in 18 Adventure Mode levels.
Stevie Smith: In terms of button-mashing fun, how many gameplay hours can PlayStation 3 owners expect to amass throughout Grave Danger, and does it also provide extra longevity via variable difficulty settings?
Lee Perez: There are 4 difficulty levels. Childs Play, Thriller, Horror and Madness. In addition to varying difficulty you will get special unlockable character weapons. Well over 45 hours of play when you combine all of these modes and the 25 new mini-games.
Stevie Smith: Are there any plans to further increase the game’s depth through downloadable extra features and related content? And is there an official cross-platform sequel on the cards for our future enjoyment?
Lee Perez: Right now we’re really focused on making sure everything goes smoothly and getting the game to the players! We’re definitely thinking about DLC, but we don’t have anything set in stone yet – keep on the lookout for more. We do have some ideas for a sequel but nothing official.
Stevie Smith: Any secret extras, features, goodies or tasty Easter eggs hidden away for the more diligent player to discover during their time with Grave Danger?
Lee Perez: You will have to play to find out.
Stevie Smith: With the PlayStation 3’s software selection growing steadily ever-richer, what exactly does Monster Madness: Grave Danger offer its audience that makes it stand out convincingly against the competition?
Lee Perez: Four player old-school arcade fun. Especially with full online co-op that allows you to join your friends at any time.
Stevie Smith: Beyond ‘bigging up’ Grave Danger, please feel free to shamelessly hawk SouthPeak’s bulging portfolio by pointing our readers in the direction of the most interesting titles currently working their way up your ‘coming soon’ release list.
Lee Perez: SouthPeak titles to keep an eye out for this year:
Things On Wheels (XBLA) - Crazy arcade style racer
Ninjatown (DS) - Action strategy featuring the honourable and adorable ninjas
X-Blades (X360, PC) - A dynamic anime-style third-person hack-and-slash action/RPG
Brave: A Warrior’s Tale (PSP, Wii, X360) – Action adventure with a tribal setting
Brave: Shaman’s Challenge (DS) - Fast-Paced action puzzler
Raven Squad (X360, PC) - A unique blending of real-time strategy and first-person shooter genres
For more info please go to: www.southpeakgames.eu
Stevie Smith: On a slightly more personal gaming note, what has ranked as your favourite videogame release of 2008 thus far, and what are you most looking forward to?
Lee Perez: It looks way to cute to be fun but I am really looking forward to Little Big Planet.
Thanks once again for filling in the Grave Danger blanks ahead of the game’s retail release. PlayStation 3 owners with suitably whetted appetites and pricked ears can get their hands on Monster Madness: Grave Danger when it hacks and slashes its way onto retail shelves this coming September.
Monster Madness: Grave Danger Trailer
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Monster Madness: Grave Danger Golden Gameplay Trailer
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