Set in 1935, 10 years after the events of The Mummy, a band of treasure-hunters unearths the remains of the high priest Imhotep. Transported to London, Imhotep is resurrected… and once more embarks on his ruthless quest for immortality. His old nemesis Rick O’Connell is on the case though and soon they’ll both do battle against the evil Scorpion King to stop him from rising up and taking over the world…
How is The Mummy Returns different from the previous Mummy game?
It’s bigger and better in almost every way! It’s a 3rd person action adventure title but that’s where the similarities stop. We’ve been able to do much more with the license on the PS2 than the previous developers could and we’ve also injected a much more entertaining gameplay idea too because you can now play as either the good guy or the bad guy. It’s up to the player to choose whether they want to control all-American hero Rick or the evil and ugly Mummy himself, Imhotep. The game will play quite differently depending on who you choose so it’s really two games in one.
So how close to the film is the game?
The game’s pretty close to the film in most ways. The settings and the basic plot are the same but because of the option to play as either Rick or Imhotep we’ve had to tweak things slightly to make them work in the game. As well as the plot similarities we’ve also worked hard to maintain the look and feel of the film throughout. Blitz has had plenty of experience with recreating a film’s atmosphere in a game and we’re pleased with what we’ve achieved this time.
How have you made use of the PS2’s power to recreate the atmosphere of the film?
The locations in the game are every bit as mean and moody as in the film and we’ve included plenty of dynamic lighting and multiple-action cameras which will give you dramatic views of the environments and the action. We’ve also included depth-of-field views, animated fog and soft-skinned characters to help recreate that authentic look. As well as that, the levels and audio stream in seamlessly direct from the DVD and we’ve an average polygon count of between 8,000 and 10,000 for each individual room, as well as up to 3,500 polygons for each of the main characters. It all looks simply stunning now that it’s nearly finished and the team are all really chuffed with what they’ve created.
We’ll recognise the game’s settings from the movie then?
Definitely – there are plenty of familiar locations from the film included in the game and we’ve made sure that you’ll be able to recognise them straight away if you’ve seen the film. You’ll be able to explore the British Museum, fight off the pygmy warriors in the jungle and even visit the ruins of Hamunaptra. There are 12 huge levels in all with some of them exclusive to either Rick or Imhotep. Although you’ll visit several of the locations as either character, they both play through the game in a different order so it’s a different experience each time.
What’s the overall aim of the game then?
That depends whether you want to be good or bad! If you play as Rick your ultimate aim is to save the world of course! You’ve got to wipe out the Scorpion King but before you can do that you have to rescue your son, bring your wife back to life and track the scaly one down. If you decide to go all evil and play as Imhotep you’ll also want to see the Scorpion King go down but in this case it’s so that you can take control of his army and take over the world. Before you can do that though you’ll have to explore the areas, gathering up as much magic power as you can and summoning the black beast from the beyond.
Does that mean we’ll actually get to see the Scorpion King then?
Absolutely! And he looks simply fantastic. Most people who have seen this bit of the game reckon that it’s the best likeness of The Rock that’s ever appeared in a game and he’s a toughie to beat too!
How about the other character likenesses?
You’ll see from the screenshots that it’s not just The Rock who looks like his real-life counterpart. All the other actors’ faces are in there too so all the characters look authentic. Although we’ve not got the real actors’ voices in the game the voiceover work was cast by the same person responsible for the Metal Gear Solid voice casting so it’s quality stuff.
How about the other enemies?
You’ll face over 30 different types of enemy in the game and you can expect an average of around 10 enemies on screen at any one time. You’ll fight everything from the guards in the British Museum to the red-turbans and the pygmy warriors in the jungle so expect it to be fast and furious!
So how do you take out all these bad guys?
In Rick’s case you’ll use traditional weaponry like pistols and shotguns but he can also pick up swords and other weapons as the game progresses. Imhotep, on the other hand, gets through the game just with magic. He earns and learns new spells as he goes along and must suck the souls of his opponents in order to boost his health capacity. This offers up quite a variety in terms of gameplay with the Rick half being very action oriented and the Imhotep levels more based around spell-casting.
Are there any ways of getting help to defeat these hordes of enemies?
Both Rick and Imhotep have ‘sidekicks’ that accompany them through their adventures. Rick’s old friend and Medjai Warrior Ardeth Bey will be there while Imhotep is joined by Meela. Each of the sidekicks are computer controlled but they’ll be on hand to help get you out of a tight spot by taking on some of your attackers if it all gets a bit hairy!
So when will the game be released?
It’ll be available exclusively on PS2 in November to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD.
How long has the game been in development and how big is the team?
We’ve had people working on the game since October last year and the team size has fluctuated as the project’s gone on, as with most games. At its peak we had around 30 people at work, with a mix of experienced industry veterans and fresh new rookies. Many of the team (including the Project Manager Richard Hackett and the Creative Manager Steve Thomson) had previously worked on both PlayStation Action Man titles, and many were the core team from last year’s The Little Mermaid II. But we’ve also drafted in experience from throughout the company who’ve worked on many of our games over the years.
What else have Blitz done in the past?
Blitz have got plenty of experience with licensed games and have produced a range of successful titles on almost any platform you care to name. Our founders were making games back in the 80s but recently the company’s produced Chicken Run, Action Man 1 & 2, Frogger 2, The Little Mermaid, Glover and War Games. As well as The Mummy Returns they’re also working on a launch title for Microsoft for the Xbox, a top secret cartoon game for PS2 and their final PSOne game (which is also still a secret).