Eragon Producer Interview

We recently had the chance to ask Ben Borth, Associate Producer at Vivendi Games, some questions about the upcoming Eragon games.  Here is what we were able to find out...

GT: The game is scheduled to be released a month before the film hits theaters. Do you think that playing the game first will spoil the movie for gamers?

BB: Good question. The game does stay consistent with Eragon story, look and feel of the film and book. However, I think with the game we are able to offer a unique perspective and re-telling of the story that offers a separate experience from the film. For the sake of compelling, interactive gameplay, the game primarily focuses and extrapolates on the action sequences, swordplay battles, and dragon flight from the film with story segments as bookends. We also expand upon the vast fiction in the book and offer some enemies and locations that are not seen or fully explored in the film. For someone who has not read the book, I think the game can serve as a great introduction to the Eragon characters and world and still leave plenty to be discovered in the film.

GT: When designing the levels for the game did you use the movie as your source material exclusively or did you draw inspiration from some of the events found only in the book?

BB: We used both. Being fans of the book, early in the game development we identified a lot of character attributes and key scenes we wanted to focus on in the game prior to knowing what was going to happen in the movie. Most of the games core mechanics such as Eragonís agile combat system and the experience of dragon flight came directly from the book. Then as the movie started filming and we were invited to the sets, we worked closely with 20th Century Fox to combine our core game mechanics with the filmís visuals and create levels based off the blueprints from the film.

GT: How would you describe the game? Is it an action, adventure, or role-playing game, or something in between?

BB: With multiple Eragon games on multiple systems, I have four answers for this. The console game (Xbox 360, PS2, Xbox, and PC) is an action/adventure, beat-em-up/hackín-slash game with dragon flight combat that includes drop-in/drop-out two-player co-op (thatís a lot of slashes and dashes!). The co-op bit means a second player can join in at any time to play as one of Eragonís allies, but if he needs to drop out, the AI can take control of the ally and allow the 1st player to continue his progression. The PSP game is an aerial combat action game featuring 4-player multi-player dragon flight combat. The Nintendo DS game is an action RPG that allows you to draw out your spells on the bottom screen and fling them at enemies on the top screen. Last, but not least, the Nintendo GBA is a traditional turn-based RPG with 10 playable characters from the film and book.

GT: Please tell us a little about the gameís combat system. Will it include combos and attack upgrades?

BB: Yes. One of the main things we focused on was creating a deep combat system that is easy to pick up for novice players, but complex enough to reward skilled players who are able to time their combos against the A.I. Combos can be used to stun enemies which allow you to link the combo into a grab which can link into a throw or kill move. Throw in magic attacks to enhance the chain of link moves, and the combat really has a fluid flow.