James Bond is in a strange crisis these days. While his latest film has been put on hold until MGM can sort out its financial issues, he's starring in two new games next month. The first is the re-imagined GoldenEye featuring Daniel Craig in a modern update to the classic, but gamers are also getting an entirely new adventure in 007 Blood Stone. As a longtime Bond fan I couldn't be happier and was eager to talk with Matt Cavanagh, lead designer at developer Bizarre Creations. Needless to say, a completely original 007 adventure in addition to a revamped GoldenEye make the uncertain future of the films a lot less painful.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Could you introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project? How did you get into the game industry and what do you like most about what you do?
I’m Matt Cavanagh and I’m the Lead Designer at Bizarre Creations on Blood Stone.
With the recent cancellation of the latest James Bond movie, do you feel any added pressure to be the only new/original James Bond property in production?
I think it’s a real shame that MGM has had to halt production of the next Bond movie. There are millions of fans who are waiting for the next instalment of Daniel Craig’s Bond. I wouldn’t say there is added pressure on us however – there’s always pressure. I think if we’d been making a game which ties into the next Bond movie it would’ve been a different story.
The hand-to-hand combat looks pretty extensive and appears to incorporate a number of fighting styles. Could you talk about the details and nuances of Blood Stone’s fisticuffs?
All of the sequences for Bond’s hand-to-hand fighting were choreographed and performed by Ben Cooke, who is Bond’s actual movie stunt double. Our hand-to-hand system gave Ben a lot of freedom in the moves he could use and the sequences he could create and that let him really convey Bond’s character within Blood Stone’s fight sequences.
The gun combat appears to use a system similar to the “mark and execute” feature in Splinter Cell Conviction. Could you tell us more about that feature, and the gunplay in general?
We developed the focus aim system as a mechanism to encourage the player to use a mixture of gunplay and hand-to-hand takedowns without relying heavily on one style or the other. Of course players can play through the game using entirely gunplay or hand to hand takedowns, but the game encourages you to use a mixture of the two styles and that’s when you really feel like Bond. Focus aim is designed to be used within combat – not as a stealth mechanism such as mark and execute and it adds surprising depth to the game-play. Gun-play uses a cover combat mechanism which we’ve taken forward with the way takedowns are incorporated – you can take down enemies over or around cover projecting Bond out of the cover if the player wants to be aggressive, or hauling enemies into the cover if he’s being stealthy.
Daniel Craig’s movies are notable for their restrained used of gadgets. That said, does Bond have any spy toys in Blood Stone, and will his cars outfitted with the usual weapons and deterrents?
Bond’s only gadget in Blood Stone is his AR phone. Inline with Daniel Crag’s Bond Blood Stone is ‘gadget lite’. The AR phone (like all good Bond gadgets) is realistic and advanced just enough to be outside of the general public’s hands. It’s versatile and the player will find himself using it throughout all of the different game-play styles in the game.
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