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Vast improvements are underway as Team London give us the lowdown...
Referred to by some as The Getaway 2, this title is already being spoken about as one of the real biggies of 2004. TotalVideoGames spoke with Naresh Hirani, director, at Team Soho, who is responsible for creating this monster title.
To those unfortunate not to have played the original title, which sold over one million copies worldwide, it continues the gritty action based tale, again based in London, with attention not only to the cast but location!
TVG: Naturally Black Monday continues the first titles strength of offering a cinematic gaming experience, however it sounds as though vast improvements are being made to the actual gaming aspect; perhaps you could elaborate on the open-ended structure and what this brings to the game?
Naresh Hirani: We've taken the cinematic experience a step further in The Getaway: Black Monday, experimenting with proven cinematic techniques and sophisticated new methods of storytelling. The characters in the game are played by real actors. We've cast each character very carefully to ensure that they can deliver a believable and absorbing performance.
As a player, you take control of the game narrative, making subtle choices that will change the course of the game and have an effect on the eventual outcome. We've planned multiple endings for the game and the player will experience emotions he would feel at the end of a gripping movie. Depending on the outcome of the game they could feel a range of emotions from uplifted and exhilarated to shocked and exhausted.
TVG: Please tell us a little about the three main characters and how the storyline weaves between these; more specifically what does this structure bring to the game?
During the course of the game, you'll play as three different characters, Sergeant Ben Mitchell (Mitch) on his first day back on the force and fighting demons from his past, Eddie, an amateur boxer who gets involved in a robbery which goes badly wrong, resulting in all his crew ending up dead and Sam, a small-time thief and computer hacker who helps Eddie to seek revenge on those that betrayed him. The game takes place over two black days that will change these characters lives forever.
These character's stories are told in a cinematic and non-linear way, from different perspectives at different moments in time, with a twisting plotline that will throw you off the scent just when you think you've worked out what is going on. In true thriller style, it's not until the final scene in the game that everything will become clear and the events that you've witnessed throughout the game will all slot into place.
TVG: It sounds as though more detail is being focussed on with regards to the location of London, particularly the use of the underground for transport; could you give us a little information on this and perhaps a few examples of improvements being made to the environment in terms of general interaction?
For the original Getaway we faithfully recreated 25 square miles of London. We didn't want to extend outwards into the suburbs, as we didn't feel that this would add anything significant to the game experience. By adding more detail to the map and by adding in new back alleys, we allow the player to discover new shortcuts and areas to help lose the cops and other gang cars in the intense driving sections of the game. Motorbikes are a big new addition to the exterior gameplay, some of the new roads in the map are only accessible on bikes - this adds a new dimension to the driving experience. We've also extended the playing area upwards and downwards. This time around you can explore the rooftops as well as the sewers and underground stations as well as new sections of gameplay on the river Thames. We have also updated key landmark locations and add in new buildings, like the "Gherkin" in the City.
TVG: Aside from the inclusion of a variety of new vehicles such as motorcycles, will the driving sections remain close to the original or do you have any changes in store?
We've added more set pieces to the driving missions this time around. Plenty of action will take place on the roads, and the driving sections won't just be a means of getting from one part of the story to the other. This time we've added ambushes and hijacking to some of the events beyond your control. Escaping from the law will also be a much more tricky experience, with the overhauled driving AI.
TVG: The driving/action genre is certainly a popular one these days, however the competition is fierce; what makes Black Monday stick out from the crowd?
The immersive cinematic experience of The Getaway: Black Monday makes it unique. The game is set in the centre of London and is packed with gritty realism. All the events in the game are linked in some way to the main story, with a sophisticated script complete with cinematic twists, turns and suspense that will keep you gripped right up until the end.
TVG: What did the team learn from the original game that they have worked on and improved in Black Monday?
One thing that players loved about the original was the atmospheric London setting. We've focussed on this in Black Monday and listened to our consumers, taking on board much of the player feedback we received. We've included a smoother learning curve, more predictable controls with improved targeting, better handling for the vehicles and more realistic AI.
One of the few criticisms that we had with the original was that the missions were so tightly structured that there was little emphasis to go off and explore the wonderfully detailed recreation of London that you painstakingly created; have you addressed this in the sequel, perhaps you could elaborate on the concept of bonus modes in the Free Ride?
The free-roaming mode is now unlocked right from the beginning of the game, allowing players to explore the detailed environments whenever they wish. There will be rewards for exploration and hidden bonus games.
TVG: Does Black Monday link in with the original in any way, will we see the return of any familiar faces?
The Getaway: Black Monday takes place 2 years after the original. It's set in the same world, but things have changed. After the demise of Charlie Jolson, London is being carved up by new gangs, but some of the familiar faces haven't gone away.
TVG: Could you please tell us an exciting moment from Black Monday, one that will excite fans of the original?
We think the subtle choices that can be made during the game will really excite players. Because the player isn't making a choice from a drop down menu, they may not even be aware that they have chosen a particular moral path at all. The choice is made depending on the way that the game is played and the way that certain situations are dealt with. When other characters adapt their behaviour towards the player and they realise that this is a direct result of something that happened previously in the game, they'll be really excited about how deep this game is.
This will become even more apparent when players discuss the game with each other and they find that they have experienced different situations in the game resulting in very different endings.
TVG: Is it true that a Getaway film is in development?
Yes, thats right. Screengems are working on the screen play as we speak
The Getaway: Black Monday looks like one true blockbuster in the making!