Title: Alien Syndrome
Developer: Totally Games
Format: Wii, PSP
Genre: Action RPG
Release date: Sep 7th 2007
Jeff Kung, Senior Designer, Totally Games
When we approached SEGA with one of their back catalogue titles, Alien Syndrome, and told them that we wanted to make a totally new game based on that franchise for the PSP and Wii, SEGA was all for it! All the initial pre-production milestones were met and away we went. But it was no easy task. We wanted big meaty levels where players could sink their teeth into the game and play for as long or as short as they wanted. We didn’t want just another RPG game that was too heavy on action and not enough role playing. We wanted to push what the PSP and Wii could do and we think we nailed it.
For the PSP, we designed the game with every intention of making it a full scale action RPG with hundreds of items, weapons, monsters, and tons of action. We created 5 very different classes each with its own weapon advancement tree and specialty proficiencies to spec into. It was a huge challenge to fit this big of a game into the PSP. But we managed to do it and not lose any of the scope of the original design.
This is something that we’re very proud of. The feature cutting, that’s so prevalent in most game dev cycles, hardly had to happen on Alien Syndrome. We actually had time to implement almost every key feature we spec’d out in pre-production. Which is why, in my opinion, our Wii version came out as great as it did.
On the Wii, we immediately started in on the design for the Wiimote/Nunchuck control system. We were able to polish the game’s infrastructure and core gameplay ideas as well as the math and itemisation curves, in tangent with the PSP. The levels and the length of the game (we’re talking a whopping 30 to 40 hours on just one difficulty level) makes the Wii a solid console for the game.
On the Wii, it was nice that we were able to concentrate on controls and multiplayer. The differences on the Wii are noticeable in the higher-rez textures and models. On the Wii, players will notice the increase in details such as dynamic shadows, lighting, and specularity, as well as a large number of sounds and more details on Aileen and her guns.
And the controls are absolutely the best feeling controls out there. The Wii remote points at a target, like a laser pointer, and the character spins and rotates to follow that pointer. Then the Nunchuck’s joystick moves the character in all directions. The result… the most intuitive aiming and movement system ever designed. I think when players pick up the Wiimote and Nunchuck to play Alien Syndrome, they’re going to be treated to a really smooth and awesome gameplay experience.