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'Batman : Rise Of Sin Tzu' - Interview

by Thomas on May 15, 2003 @ 1:13 a.m. PDT

This morning we serve up a 'Batman : Rise Of Sin Tzu' Q/A with Benoit Galarneau "Producer", who's confident he's making "the most fun Batman game ever".

A new era in Batman history begins in Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu - the first videogame to introduce a new character into the Batman universe.

1) What is your role on the project?

As a producer, I create and manage an environment where all the talented team members are able to give the best of themselves. It starts by hiring those people and setting the framework, the resources, the timeline and the clear goals inside which they'll be able to create the best game.

2) What other projects have you worked on?

1999 : Playmobil - Hype the Time Quest on PC
2000 : Donald Duck - Goin' Quackers on PS2
2001-2002 : Work as content manager on many in-house developments

3) What are some of your inspirations for your work on the project?

We wanted a "pick and play game", inspired from the arcade world. We wanted to kick some ass and double the fun with a cooperative multiplayer feature. There are not many multiplayer games out there while everybody enjoys them.
Working with the full franchise of Batman was the perfect match. Batman is the king of martial arts and all his buddies are all skilled fighter.

We looked at other games for some inspiration, some recent (DMC, Lord of the Rings) some older (Double dragon, Street of Rage) but in all case, we had something they didn't have: the gadgets. We found ways to turn all gadgets into potential weapons. This brings a lot to Batman.

4) How do you feel the project will differentiate itself from other PS2 games?

Batman - Rise of Sin Tzu as many features that are either exclusive or atypical from today's game.

We have developed a never-seen before particle system that interacts with any moving characters. When Batman walks into a layer of fog, on the docks of Gotham let say, the fog is pushed away and swirls like if would in real life. Same applies for the dust that is visible in the light cones. It allows us to create a unique ambiance that is so typical of the Batman universe.

Also, having 4 controllable characters is a great feature of the game : Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl can all be played with.

Being allowed to play multiplayer is a feature that we do not see enough in games. In Batman - Rise of Sin Tzu, 2 players can pick up their favourite character and team up to beat the Mastermind of the story: Sin Tzu.

Sin Tzu is another exclusivity of the game. He is new villain in the Batman mythology. Sin Tzu was created by Jim Lee who is a well know creator in the comic industry. Sin Tzu is brilliant and mean, beware.

5) What problems have you encountered during the development of Batman - Rise of Sin Tzu?

We have a new character, Sin Tzu that had to be thought out from scratch. The scriptwriter gave him a personality and Jim Lee gave him a look. It was now up to the development team to animate him and mainly, turned in into a gameplay. The challenge was great. We managed to turn an idea into a reality in less than a few months. The relation between Ubi and DC was very tight and efficient.

6) What techniques used in the development process are you particularly proud of. Did you innovate in any way?

We build tools that give the power to the designers. Every event and every interactive element of the game can be balanced and tweaked by the levels and game designers without any programmer interference. Moreover, those tools allow micro balance of the gameplay as well as macro balanced of the whole game. That is really about giving the power to the designers.

The interactive fog mention earlier is another feature we couldn't live without. It is truly amazing.

7) How would you describe the game in your own words?

The most fun Batman game ever. No joke.

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