Want to find out more about Capcom's Bionic Commando Rearmed on PSN? The game's Producer, Ben Judd - complete with his own bionic arm - answered some questions from the forums.
What is the reason behind your decision to bring Bionic Commando back, after such a long time? [Melbrune]
We live in a world where you really do get a lot of the same. It's a rare thing to see a truly innovative game mechanic now that console gaming is around 30 years old. The original Bionic Commando was a great game because the designers pretty much decided to risk it all, throw out the standard 2D side-scrolling jump mechanic and do something new and cool. In the end it frustrated a lot of gamers due to being almost too unique and its skill-based nature, but once you really got the swing of it, you knew it was unlike any other game you played. It's been 20 years and I still haven't seen another game do it right like this. I hope that with the right graphical updates, price, and design this game will take its rightful place in gaming history.
What do you think will attract new gamers to this title, who do not have any nostalgic memories of the original? [acridweasel]
To be honest, there is a lot of hype behind the game and the demo will help people get a handle on the swing mechanic. We never had free demos 20 years ago when the original was released so we had to take a lot of faith but now you really can play before you buy and know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Also, I really do think it has some of the best graphics, design, and play modes for a game you will only spend around £7 or €10 on. It really is a lot of value when you think about it.
What kind of improvements did you make to this new version of the game? [sy88rus]
We knew what we didn't want to add, and that was too many new controls to the original swing mechanic, it works fine on its own. What we have added includes new bosses that really require you to use your arm/swing skills in a new way as this was an area the original was kind of weak in. We've also added challenge rooms for the core gamers that really like to master a mechanic in a game for bragging rights, and of course there is multiplayer which is still based on the same swing mechanic but feels like a game in its own right. Plus we obviously added a load of new weapons, a remixed soundtrack and some mighty fine visuals. And if that wasn't enough there is also the addition of teaming up with a friend in the game's two player co-op mode.
When you first started developing this title were there any specific elements that the team decided they definitely wanted to add in that were impossible in the 8-bit days? [Alexsutton]
Actually, with the exception of in-game physics, ragdoll, and 3D effects that are shared between Rearmed and the 3D version, there wasn't much they couldn't do back then that we can do now. It's still the same story though - it's about how well you can design a game within the limitations you have. They had 8-bits, we've got a lot more, but still the gameplay stands on its own 20 years later which just shows the original designers were doing a lot with those 8-bits.
What do you feel about the fact that fathers and sons are going to fight to see who's going to sit in front of the TV and play the game? [eu_nuno]
Always bet on dad. Even if you think you can take him... you definitely can't.
What was the most difficult thing you had to do to remake the game? Faithfulness to the original version? The technology? [Winckle]
Honestly? I would say getting it approved internally as not everyone was signed on with the idea of creating a high-spec (i.e. expensive) game that was in 2D. I do think the end result speaks for itself though.
It has been announced that Bionic Commando Rearmed is to include one of PSN's most wonderful and underrated features: Remote Play. Why did you decide to make use of this feature? [Hearstbane]
Rearmed is a 2D side-scrolling game. Playing the game on the wide and sexy PSP screen just fits well with BCR. The colours look great, the side-scrolling naturally fits the widescreen. It's a match made in electronic heaven.
The fans were able to give a price indication for Bionic Commando Rearmed with a poll - how important is the feedback from the fans for you during the development for a game? [Daanoontje]
Very important. One of the key things I wanted to do with the Bionic Commando franchise was to create a portal to gamers and fans alike. Right now our community site continues to grow, has some great content, and is a direct pipeline between the fans and developers. It's a real open way of communicating the design process and one that you don't see a lot of Japanese publishers get behind so I am quite proud of getting it to this point.
How has it been working with the sound and audio for the game? Is there a lot of new material, or is it inspired by the original game? [Baines]
Most of it is inspired by the original. All of it is great. The director Simon Viklund is also the sound designer so odds are if you like the game you will like the music and sound just fine.
Did any of the programmers of the original game participate in this new remake? [Soulbreaker]Unfortunately, they have all moved on and a lot of them have left the gaming industry. I did have some of the original Megaman designers look at the title. Actually, Bionic Commando was created in tandem with Megaman 2 so when they see the title, they usually tell me some great stories about how difficult designing games were back then.