Scapland Interview

Article

posted 11/15/2004 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
We recently had the chance to talk to American McGee about his upcoming game Scrapland. The game has you controlling D-Tritus, an intergalactic traveler who finds himself involved in a series of mysterious murders committed in a world where death had been previously unheard of. With the ability to transform into any of 15 character types each with their own unique powers and the skill to pilot hundreds of gunships found in the game, D-Tritus attempts to solve this murderous conspiracy plaguing the city of Chimera.

GamingNexus: Can you provide a brief synopsis of the game?
American McGee: Scrapland is a film noir murder mystery set in a world full of robots. The story revolves around a reluctant hero that manages to save the world, get the girl, and ride off into the sunset… The story explores themes of mortality, heroism, and greed. The gameplay is classic action/adventure with a couple of cool twists thrown in such as being able to assume the identity of any character you encounter. This means that the player can overcome obstacles in a multitude of creative ways.


GamingNexus: What was the inspiration for the look of the game?
American McGee: lead designer Enric Alvarez sites many influences and inspirations such as fiction author stanslaw lem and movies such as blade runner and the 5th element. Many of the narrative influences center on tales that concern the human condition as experienced in machines. These ideas have been stewing in Enric’s head for quite some time. The game has been in development for over two years.

GamingNexus:What do you think Scrapland has that will differentiate it from the other games on the market?
American McGee: The story, art style, and gameplay really set the game apart from others. The story because when you finish it you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve just read a great novel or seen an epic film. It is rare that games provide this sort of narrative depth. Next is the art style, which is truly unique and stunning. Finally the game play. We did our best to present the player with an entertainment experience first and foremost. That means that the frustration level is much lower than your traditional video game. Scrapland is an entertainment experience first and a video game second.

GamingNexus:What kinds of game play can users expect?
American McGee: There’s a little something for everyone. Game play ranges from traditional 3rd person action adventure story based mission solving to ship building, piloting, racing, and combat. The ability of the player to switch instantly between different character types means that traditional story driven mission elements can now be solved in a multitude of different ways.



GamingNexus:Can you describe the multiplayer part of the game?
American McGee: Multiplayer revolves entirely around ship piloting, racing, and combat. You can import ships that you’ve built in single player into the multiplayer game. Game types include CTF, deathmatch, team deathmatch, and racing. We’re also going to release tools to the community so that new ships, weapons, maps, and game types can be created.

GamingNexus:There are quite a few other big name games coming out in November, are you afraid that Scrapland might get lost in the rush?
American McGee: I think that this is up to the retail buying public to decide. We’ve put together an amazing game filled with tons of engaging content. It’s original, which to me is a good thing, but this also creates an awareness challenge. These days you can have an amazing game that never sells because people just didn’t know that it existed. Our biggest challenge has been in raising awareness… but I think we’ve done a pretty good job. Now we just wait and see.

GamingNexus:About how long do you think it will take to complete just the bare minimum of the game?
American McGee: if you work hard to race through the game and skip all the fun you might be able to get through in about 20 hours. For the average player the experience will take something between 30 and 40 hours. This all depends on how much time you want to spend engaging other characters, racing, and doing combats to earn extra cash. Scrapland is a world unto itself and that means you’ll find a lot of places to explore and characters to interact with. You will be able to escape into it for as much time as you wish.

GamingNexus:Is American McGee’s Oz still on the way? (We’re assuming this has to deal with the classic series of books and not the show on HBO)
American McGee: At this point you can buy the toys at many retail outlets. We have a finished novel and will be releasing that soon. Three films are being developed with Bruckheimer/Disney. The game is currently on hold and will probably remain that way until the first film is greenlit.

GamingNexus:What’s up next after Scrapland?
American McGee: We’ve got a full slate of games & films that are currently in various states of development and production. Mercury Steam is actively looking for their next project and we hope to be involved with that as well.

GamingNexus:What other games are you playing now or are looking forward to playing (besides Scrapland of course)?
American McGee: I’ve been so busy that it has been impossible to play any games lately but I am very excited about the new GTA.

I’d like to thank American for taking the time to talk to us about his new game and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.