Golden Compass Video Game Questions & Answers
The video game folks over at Sega are hard at work turning the upcoming Golden Compass movie into a butt-kicking giant-armored-bear of a video game. Based on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy of books, it's an incredible fantasy adventure as Lyra, her companion daemon Pan and her big furry friend Iorek (he's a bear in a suit of armor!) head off to rescue her friend Roger from the Gobblers. Gary chatted with the folks at Sega and got them to answer a bunch of questions about their Golden Compass game. Check out the details and some exclusive preview images right here!
Xbox 360 Screen
Gary: Ok, what makes this game so awesome that everybody needs to play it?
Sega: Duh! How about a sassy tomboy who manages to outsmart adults at every turn in the search for her friend, Roger, who has been kidnapped? Along the way, Pan, her spirit daemon - a kind of animal version of a person's soul - can help her out of tight spots by changing his shape. For example, if she needs to climb up a wall he can become a cat and she can hang on to him as he scales heights. Oh, and Lyra's got a BIG, fighting, armored bear called Iorek for a friend who takes on the tough guys.
Gary: Gobblers, wolves and bad guys - how many flavors of critter do you get to smash, stomp, crush and destroy?
Sega: Hah, you forgot witches and bears! Some of them are good but some of them are bad guys. Plus you'll encounter misguided doctors and nurses helping out the frighteningly all-powerful, all-controlling Magisterium - they're the fellas the mysterious child-snatching Gobblers work for as well. Oh, and there are fearsome bosses at the end of each level too.
Gary: How many levels are there and how long do you think it will take to finish?
Sega: There are 11 levels - starting at Jordan College, going to London, and eventually across the sea to the frozen north. You'll get to explore these environments and many more! For expert players, there's loads of stuff that should keep them occupied. There are different ways to go through levels and you just might find some stuff that was hidden on the "easy" route.
Gary: Once you've finished the story, what's left to do other than use the game as a coaster?
Sega: Well, along with exploring extra parts of the levels, you can do more with the Alethiometer. Oh yeah, I got over-excited about the fighting bear and forgot to mention the Alethiometer (aka The Golden Compass). Idiot. Right, this little baby enables Lyra to work out the answer to pretty much any question. It's not as simple as asking "What will I get for my birthday?" or, say, asking it to tell you who the 32nd President of America was in your history test. (Just in case you're reading this during a history test, it was Roosevelt). Oh no, you need skill. And Lyra has it. It's also a really important part of the story so the game designers made it a feature that you can really get into using it if you want to.
There are unlockable goodies too. You can see some of the cool stuff that went into the making of the game.
Gary: Are there any multiplayer options or mini-games?
Sega: There are no multiplayer options, but there are loads of mini-games. One of the things Lyra's really good at it is tricking adults to tell her stuff that she needs to know in order to progress in her search for Roger. The game designers have created lots of little mini-games that you need to complete as you go through the levels to fool people or create diversions. One of my favorites involves spitting peach stones at the stiff scholars (hah!) from the roof of Jordan College, where Lyra lives until her journey begins.
Gary: Lyra - What are her levels like? Lots of puzzles, obstacles and sneaking around with Pan?
Sega: Full marks for you. Yes, lots of exploring, sneaking and puzzle solving with Pan! There are plenty of times in the game where you need to get across some tricky terrain without drawing too much attention to yourself and Pan comes in very handy. Plus Lyra gets to ride Iorek when she needs to cover long distances and fight enemies too big for her to handle on her own.
Gary: Pan - Does the shape-changing critter get any of his own levels, or is he more like a multi-tool Lyra can use to get past stuff?
Sega: Oh man, you're too smart! You keep getting to the good stuff before I do. Pan can't be separated from Lyra. In her world a human can never be too far from their daemon. There is a link which can't be stretched without causing pain or... well, you'll have to see for yourself. So Pan works with Lyra so that the player can use him when Lyra needs help. I mentioned Pan's cat form helping her climb up high walls and stuff before, but he can also become a sloth, a kind of monkey, and help her swing over gaps. Pan can also turn into two other creatures, but I'm not giving you all my secrets.
Gary: Pan - What shapes can he change into and what do they do?
Sega: Oh alright... When he's an ermine, which is most of the time, Pan can help Lyra balance when she's high up on narrow beams. There's a bit in the game where Lyra has to climb up a mast on a ship called the Noordelicht and walk along the spar. It's pretty narrow and you have to make sure she can balance. If it looks like she's going to fall Pan will run to the other end of her outstretched arms to counterbalance. Sometimes the gaps Lyra needs to cross are just too big or there's nothing to swing on so Pan becomes a hawk, picks her up and glides across. In all these cases, it's up to the player to decide what Pan should become.
Gary: Iorek - The video shows him unleashing a ground-pound attack, what else can the massive bear do to smashify his puny opponents?
Sega: Ever been swiped by an angry 13ft armoured bear?! Me either and I don't plan on it! Iorek kind of goes where he wants. He smashes and bashes his way through "puny" huts, guard towers or ice walls.
Gary: Do Lyra, Pan and Iorek have their own levels, or can you mix and match the characters as you play?
Sega: Yes, Lyra and Iorek have their own set levels or areas where you play as them. However, when you play as Lyra, Pan is always with you and like I said earlier, you can choose when and how to use Pan. With Lyra/Pan, you tend to explore, traverse and solve puzzles. As Iorek, you get to unleash your inner bear and smash your way through enemies and environments.
Gary: Power-ups! Are there any? What do they do? Let's get some details here!
Sega: Ok, as long as you promise not to tell anyone I'll give you the lowdown. Promise? Lyra's a smart girl in her own right and Iorek is one tough cookie already but there are loads of collectibles that give both of them a helping hand as they go along. There are pickups that help Lyra improve her adult-fooling skills for example. And Iorek can be made even tougher. Now that is TOUGH! But that's all I'm telling for now...
Gary: Are the actors from the movie doing the voices of the characters?
Sega: You're definitely not getting all my secrets.
Gary: What non-movie stuff can you explore in the game?
Sega: Well, if you didn't know the movie is based on a book by English author Philip Pullman. Not everything in the book will fit in the movie so we've been able to take some of the stuff in the book that's not in the movie and add it into the game. There are definitely some characters in the game that you won't see in the movie, some environments too, and of course, in the movie you don't get to work the Alethiometer yourself.
Gary: Anything you want to say to everybody here at Kidzworld?
Sega: We've loved making this game. It's such a cool book and now it's going to be a cool movie and a cool game. The videogame comes out on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, PC and DS December 4, 2007. Hope you like it!