50 Cent: Blood on the Sand hit retailers this week sporting a fancy 2 player co-op option. We sat down with Julian Widdows, Game Director from Swordfish Studios, to talk about the game and what it offers.
Co-Optimus: We've heard comparisons to Gears of War being made for Blood on the Sand - was there any inspiration there? Any there any other games that inspired it?
Julian Widdows: Obviously we’ve been really flattered by the comparisons people have been making with ‘Gears of War’ - it’s such a seminal title that one can’t help but feel proud when ‘50cent: Blood on the Sand’ is mentioned in the same heartbeat. We never wanted to ape ‘Gears of War’, however. We share the same basic camera position and the cover system is very similar, but we’ve worked hard to create something that’s at its core a very different experience to Gears – a more arcadey, over-the-top, obviously self-referential and irreverent experience. Really, what we wanted to capture in a shooter is the impact the original ‘Burnout’ had on driving games back in its day. We’ve also seen comparisons to ‘The Club’ here and there – bizarrely, the similarities are purely coincidental.
We were a long way into development when ‘The Club’ was announced and were, understandably, choked when we saw what those guys were up to. That’s one of the most problematic challenges of development isn’t it, trying to differentiate your title never knowing if someone else is going after the same prize? We are a very different game to ‘The Club’, however, which some of the press have picked up on. Most of the similarities are pretty superficial – they are very, very different play experiences.
Co-Optimus: Is there any degree of customizable weapons or character models?
Julian : We discussed customizable characters at the start of development – the reality is we just didn’t have the time to develop the technology to support this feature such that it would have been competitive with the best in class. With regards to customizable weapons, they would probably have been a level of detail too far for this game. All the way through development we’ve worked hard to stay true to the over-the-top arcade focus of the concept.
Co-Optimus: Are there any plans to implement content filters? Or at least character voiceover muting?
Julian : We support parental controls and age restrictions and you can mute the in-game voices should you want to.
Co-Optimus: The latest videos released show the game is heavy on action and scoring. Does the co-op mode have shared scoring system? If so, are there online leaderboards for the best co-op scores?
Julian : Scoring in co-op mode is competitive. We very much wanted that sense of gamers having to both compete against each other for the highest scores, but also collaborate to get through the level. We think the final balance works really well. And yes, we do support online leaderboards.
Co-Optimus: Will the helicopter turret stages be playable in co-op?
Julian : Yes, absolutely. The helicopter turret stages are playable in co-op with each player taking control of the one of the machine guns. The driving levels are also playable in co-op with Player 1, as 50 cent, driving the vehicle, and Player 2, as the co-op member of G-Unit, firing the gun.