Kung Fu Panda Developer Q&A
It's time to get your 'fu on with Kung Fu Panda! The movie arrives on June 6, 2008, and an action-packed video game coming on June third for the DS, PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Filled with characters, levels and crazy moves, it lets you kick a whole lot of butt as Po the Panda and the rest of the martial arts masters. Gary tried to sneak his way into the Activision HQ to dig up some super-secret info, but got busted when he stopped for snacks at every vending machine in the building. However, Brian Clarke, the senior producer from Luxoflux that developed the game, was nice enough to chat with him anyway. Here's what he had to say about Kung Fu Panda!
Gary: How did you get all the characters' moves down? Have you already seen the movie or something?
Brian: Oh yeah, the movie is going to be awesome! We worked pretty closely with DreamWorks Animation so we were able to see various film clips of the characters fighting from the very beginning. All along the way, they would show us the various cool moves they had created for the characters and we added them in the game where we could.
Gary: Did you get to make up any new moves for the game?
Brian: Luckily DreamWorks liked the idea of us not only using moves from the film, but making up a few of our own. For example, we created this move called the "Panda Stumble," where Po curls up into a ball and is able to roll quickly through the environments, as well as knock over enemies that get in his way. It's pretty fun.
Gary: Did you get to work with Jack Black or any of the other big stars of Kung Fu Panda to get some of the crazy lines for the game?
Brian: Due to the busy schedules of the movie cast we were unable to get their voices in the game however we worked with fantastic sound-alikes that did an incredible job of bringing the characters to life.
Gary: Who do you think is the most awesome character? Why?
Brian: All of the characters are pretty fun to play, however I do like Po the best. His humor is great and he has some really unique moves, such as the "Iron Belly" technique. When an enemy attacks Po, players can block the attack, then use Po's belly to bounce the energy from the attack right back at them. Po can also pull off a "Panda Quake" attack by jumping up into the air and belly flopping on the ground to knock down groups of enemies. That belly is handy!
Gary: Which Kung Fu Panda character do you think would own the rest in a fight?
Brian: It's hard to say. I think most of the characters are fairly well balanced so players will really need to rely on quick reflexes and knowledge of each character's abilities to reign supreme in the multiplayer games.
Gary: Does anybody on the team have crazy kung fu skills?
Brian: We all do. In fact, we're all ninjas. We make great games AND stealthily move about the office to ambush each other. It's a pretty sweet gig.
Gary: Did you and the rest of the team do anything crazy while you were working on the game?
Brian: Well, working late nights, things are bound to happen. One guy went a little loopy and decided he wanted to dress up like a Transformer, but all he had was a stack of brown boxes and a wastepaper basket. Needless to say, it was the worst Transformer I have ever seen, but funny nonetheless.
Gary: Are there any hidden secrets that you can't wait for people to find and have fun with?
Brian: Several of the multiplayer/mini-games are only unlocked by finding special hidden coins in the single player game, so they are really worth looking for!
Gary: What was the favorite team snack while working on Kung Fu Panda?
Brian: That's rough, since we have so many kinds of snacks in the Luxoflux kitchen. Honestly, I would have to say bananas, if you can believe it. We would go through tons of bananas each week to satisfy these guys. I guess when you work with a bunch of monkeys... ; )
Gary: How many moves does each character have?
Brian: Well, Po has a few more moves than most of the other characters since he is a large focus of the single player game however, we made sure to limit him a bit in the multiplayer levels so that every character has an equal chance of winning a fight. The characters in the multiplayer levels have a variety of moves that range from basic punches, to dodges, to combos, to special attacks. Players just need to find the character that best fits their personality and playing style.
Gary: Kung Fu Panda vs. Naruto - who wins?
Brian: Po (a.k.a. Kung Fu Panda) would win hands down. Po is pretty resilient, so he could take anything Naruto had to throw at him. In fact, with Po's "Iron Belly" technique, he could essentially reflect any of Naruto's attacks back at him. Naruto would basically beat himself up. I shudder to think about it.
Gary: What is Tai Lung's fighting style like?
Brian: Tai Lung uses very strong and powerful attacks, mainly employing his arms and upper body, but mixing in some kicks as well. You don't want to mess with that kitty.
Gary: Wu Sisters! How many of them are there and how do they feel about lolcats?
Brian: Well, there are three of them actually - a triumvirate of felines you might say. As for their feelings about lolcats, they find them amusing, but are concerned about their spelling and punctuation. The Wu Sisters personally think that their own grammar is actually puuuuurrrrrfect.
Gary: Did you just do that?
Brian: Yeah, I just did that.
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