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Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Release Date: Sept. 15, 2009 (US), Sept. 18, 2009 (EU)


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'WET' (PS3/X360) Developer Interview

by Adam Pavlacka on Aug. 24, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

WET is a third-person action/shooter where you take on the role of Ruby, a sultry mercenary that could give Lara Croft a run for her money, in looks and battle.

Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: A2M
Release Date: Sept. 15, 2009 (Sept. 18 in Europe)

WET throws players into a heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping adventure of double crosses and paybacks in which they’ll take on the role of problem fixer, Rubi Malone. Use Rubi’s dual pistols or samurai sword during any acrobatic move as you take on countless enemies in a number of exotic locations around the globe.

On a mission to find the man that left you for dead, you’ll master the controls that will allow you to create the most incredible fight sequences - limited only by your own imagination. Once you are able to chain together a number of moves, including sliding down ladders, running on walls, jumping and flipping, you will be rewarded with auto-lock and slow motion advantages. Featuring the perfect mix of humor and violence, WET is a third-person shooter experience unlike any other.

WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank, and occupation!

I'm Sylvain Awad, the product manager for Wet at Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M).

WP: Where is A2M based?

SA: We're based out of Montreal, and we've been in business for close to 17 years.

WP: One of the big things about Wet that we noticed is that you've got big stars like Malcolm McDowell and Eliza Dushku voicing roles, but the characters aren't modeled after the real-life actors. A lot of times when they get big names, video games try to make the characters look like the actors to capitalize on that, and you guys chose not to do that. Is there a particular reason for this?

SA: Well, we really focused on the story and the action. The characters, we wanted to create over the top with the style of gameplay, '70s spaghetti western look to it, so what we did is we maximized the voice of Eliza with Rubi, with her character, the raspy voice. She really brought out our character, what we wanted to bring to the game and the world we wanted. The same thing with the other actors. We were more focused on bringing over the top characters and big action than focusing on the look of the actors.

WP: The game has you moving around across the world. You've got Texas, you've got Hong Kong, you've got San Francisco — how did you go about picking the locations?

SA: It just blends well with the story. Rubi is a type of character; she's a problem-fixer. She doesn't really like to fly but she still goes on jobs across the world, so it's really one of the quirky things we have in this world. Because we went with a grind house look and over-the-top story, we sort of integrated different areas of the world for her to travel and find jobs.

WP: Where does "Wet" come in to the title? Aside from the look of Rubi's outfit, what does Wet have to do with the action in the game?

SA: Wet is short for wetworks, which is an old CIA term that means, literally, hands wet with blood. It reflects a lot of our game because there's a lot of blood and a lot of action and a lot of killing, so it really brings it home.

WP: You got a throwback to the old spaghetti western and Hong Kong films, where even the video is purposely made to look grainy, and it fades in and out at some points. You've got old movie intermissions. What was the inspiration for that, and was there any worry that by purposely degrading the video, you may put off some "graphics whores," who are used to the perfect, super high-definition 1080p image of today's game consoles?

SA: We already had an idea of the look of the style and world that we wanted to create, so we really modeled it to be like a B-type movie, drive-in movie feel to it, so everything from the cut scenes to the film scratch and intermission all reflect the world we're trying to create with this game, as a '70s drive-in movie.

WP: Where did the inspiration come from for the little bonus monkey that walks around, clamping his cymbals? It seems like you also have a fascination for mini-bosses with chain guns. Where did those two things come from?

SA: If I start off with the bosses with the guns, it really goes into the over-the-top action so we have over-the-top characters with humongous guns. Even Rubi does some incredible acrobatics to get the job done, so this is part of the world. As for the monkeys, it's sort of a theme on her guns. She has monkeys on her guns, so we decided to have collectible monkeys through the game where, at the end of the game, you get to unlock art, collectible cards and things like that.

WP: Games always want to make the player feel like a superhero. Many times, it comes off as being completely uncontrollable or so far on-rails that you're not really playing but doing a series of Quick Time Events. What was the hardest part for you guys in trying to achieve that balance where you give the player the illusion of control without totally opening it up and making it impossible to handle?

SA: We really wanted to create an immersive experience where the player gets to find different ways to achieve the objective and solve the problem. In our car-hopping section, there are QTE sections where you have to press a button to jump from one area to another, but what we did was we added the elements of live action so you still get to shoot while you're jumping, and it flows. There's a purpose to where you're going and what you're doing, and that's what we're trying to produce through the game. Hopefully, we achieved it.

WP: The style of Wet seems to have been more inspired by film than games. What films were you watching and wanted to emulate? Were they all '70s spaghetti westerns, or were there any current action films in the mix? What drew you guys into this?

SA: Well, we were really inspired by [Quentin] Tarantino and [Robert] Rodriguez, with the latest "Grindhouse" movies. There's a section in "Kill Bill" where you have the crazy 88, and in the game, there's a section called The Basketball Court, where you have about 100 enemies swarming in to Rubi, and these are the types of things that we tried to re-create in our game.

WP: Your development studio is based in Montreal. Does it have any bearing on how the potion that Rubi downs to restore her health is called "Quebec"?

SA: (laughs) It does. It goes with the character Rubi. She's a blue-collar heroine, and she lives in a boneyard. She drinks beer, she drinks whiskey. We wanted to add a Quebec flavor to it, so you see the Quebec whiskey.

WP: Speaking of the boneyard, what significance does it have? From what we played in the demo, there were a few challenges and upgrades there, but do you ever go back to that during the game? You have the plane that she's made her home. Is any of that explained?

SA: When you progress through the game, you unlock guns, and as you unlock guns, you get a flashback where you go back to her boneyard and you're able to practice or do another challenge with those new, unlocked weapons. This is the type of thing that we wanted to do. The explanation of Rubi's boneyard is part of her character. She's alone, and she's a free spirit. It's a bit contradictory because she hates flying but she lives in an abandoned boneyard. She likes to be alone and do her own thing.

WP: You're working on the game so you've obviously played a lot of it. What's your favorite part of the game as a player rather than a developer?

SA: There are always different areas that I like in the game. I like the Rage mode, where you don't think much of what you need to do; you just chain-kill people. Also, the car-hopping is fun, where you're jumping from one car to the next and you're still shooting. You also try to accumulate as many style points as you can, which is fun because you get to unlock a lot of different moves.

WP: Are we going to see a demo on either PSN or XBL before the game ships?

SA: We produced a demo, but as for the timing, we're not 100 percent sure when it's going to come out, either before or right after the launch.

WP: Is there anything about the game that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?

SA: Well, I didn't speak about the gameplay experience, which is really combining three elements: shooting, acrobatics and sword-fighting. What we try to do is incite the player to shoot anytime, anywhere, so you have 360-degree shooting, where you can walk on walls, jump over objects and still be able to shoot at any enemies — two enemies at the same time, with the dual-wielding, split-targeting mechanism that we have.

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