Sega had its latest build of MadWorld at the NYC Comic Con show floor. It's looking (and playing) tight. Gamers play as Jack, just your every day mechanic with a chainsaw built into his right arm. He's trapped in a psycho game show called Death Watch, where the goal is basically to avoid becoming that guy that gets impaled, split in half or otherwise killed. The Wii is about to get a hell of a lot bloodier when MadWorld hits shelves on March 10.
According to Platinum Game’s lead developer Shigenori Nishikawa, the team has spent its final few weeks of the game’s release tweaking the enemy AI -- the positional layout of items and fine tuning the controls. “The biggest challenge we faced developing for the Wii was achieving the best graphics possible in standard definition,” said Nishikawa-san. When I asked him what made using a chainsaw with the Wii controller so satisfying, he replied, “Since it’s linked directly to the Wiimote, it just works really well.”
I will say that the controls are easy to pick up and a hell of a lot of fun. The developers didn’t bother using the infrared sensor in the game -- which is a plus. The A and B buttons do most of the work doling out punches, picking up items like street signs and tires to punish enemies, or grabbing victims to throw. The more creative you get with your kills (using a street sign to impale an enemy or sticking a man’s head in a ceiling fan) the more points you score. Using a slashing motion with the Wiimote fires up the chainsaw. You get one lone defensive move. Flipping the nunchuk back causes Jack to initiate a quick backflip. It’s pretty clear that Platinum didn’t want to see anyone try to pull off any blocking.
Anytime Jack lands an attack, the camera is splashed with vibrant red blood and text appears for cartoon sound effects like “Pow!” and “Krack!” The action is accompanied by some truly hilarious color commentary by the shady characters behind Death Watch, known only as the Organizers. During a short demo at E3, the voice actors sounded so damn familiar it was killing me. Turns out Sega hired Greg Proops from Who’s Line is it Anyway and John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender on Futurama.
The demo took me through a basic combat mission culminating in a mini-game that revolved around tossing enemies into a giant spiked vise. An in-game emcee dressed like a pimp kicked off the session saying, “I introduce to you, the motherf*&$in’ Death Press.” A pinup girl then sauntered out into the scene and demonstrated the power of the machine by tossing the pimp into the vise and watching it crush him like a bug. When I asked producer Atsushi Inaba what his favorite aspect of MadWorld was, he replied, “My favorite part of this game is the fact that we could bring a mature-rated title to the Wii.” What Inaba-san and Nishikawa-san have pulled off is a piece of black-white-and-red art.