Hi there. My name is Matt Leunig. I am an Associate Producer at Ubisoft San Francisco working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up for the Nintendo Wii. What does that mean? Well, it's my job to make sure that all the day-to-day things are running smoothly. Make sure testing has been set up, all the languages are being localized, talk with the developer about the latest build or chat with Mirage about what is the right hue of green for Raphael's shell. There is a lot to manage but the team here is really psyched to be working on a project like this especially with the Ninja Turtles attached. It’s hard to go a day without someone recalling a disastrous "Ninja Rap"-themed birthday party or who was a cooler looking toy, Bebop or Rocksteady.
Other than allowing us access to their library of amazing Turtle history, we worked closely with Mirage to get approvals on all facets of the game from the color of Splinter’s robe to the proper type of neon signs in the Manhattan level. We worked with the in-house comic staff including Peter Laird in helping create our story mode section of the game which was a total thrill for a fanboy like me and have weekly calls with VP, Gary Richardson to give updates and make sure Mirage is in the loop.
In the past I have worked with a number of licensors that can make the process of making the game a living hell, but I can honestly say that working with Mirage has been extremely easy and fun. The TMNT video game franchise has a long history dating back to NES days so this definitely isn’t their first experience with game development. I think in the end fans will be happy with the finished product -- and should keep their eyes open for hidden piece of Mirage history throughout the game. That is for all the fanboys out there.
Special Ninja Moves
Today’s blog is going to focus on some of the moves featured in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up. Obviously these are an important part of a fighting game so getting the right moves together was a huge task. We needed to make sure they represented the characters correctly but were also fun to play and exciting to watch. Each player needed a balance of effective short range and long range attacks as well as weak and strong hits. Here are a couple of our favorites:
The Fighting System
The fighting system for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up is turning out to be pretty exciting. After looking at numerous fighting games we took note of the strengths of some of their fighting systems, what worked and what didn’t and tried to incorporate some of these concepts into our game. A lot of these relate to creating the motions/animations and special attributes for each character’s moves. I’ll go into a bit more detail below.
TMNT: Smash Up focuses mainly on close quarters combat. The characters all utilize some sort of weapon but beyond that they all have the ability to use utilize Ninja Powers throughout the match. This gives a bit of spice and rounds out the combat system so that it doesn’t feel too simple. There is a bit of rock, paper, scissors action in respect to the fact that most moves have a definite counter, but along with these counters comes risk if you miss of being punished.
One of the main areas we worked on after we finalized animations and assigned damage points was to give certain moves special properties. These special properties mixed up the gameplay a bit adding the need for strategy in fighting as well as balanced the strengths and weaknesses of our characters.
A big aspect of the game that we wanted to push to differentiate ourselves from the pack was our environments. We aren’t the first to incorporate interactive arenas and environments into the fighting experience but feel we have taken it a step further then from what is currently out there.
Our stages range from traditional one room, one level fighting arenas to multi-platformed multi-roomed environments. The traditional stages are more for those who want to focus on straight up Brawl/fighting mechanics were as the multi-tiered stages add more elements of strategy and a variety of ways to defeat your opponent.
Remember Tournament Fighters on Super NES and Genesis? Remember it's "love it or hate it" gameplay that split Turtles fans down the middle? That's the feeling I'm getting after my first hands-on with TMNT Smash-Up for Wii. Only this time, it's a split down the middle of Nintendo fans. Turtles superfans will dig this game – you might as well pull the cash out of your wallet now – but anyone thinking they're getting a full-on Smash Bros. clone might find themselves going back to Nintendo's own offering after a few rounds of TMNT action.
It's not really fair to compare Ubisoft's fighter with Smash Bros. Brawl, but given the fact that the team is made up of ex-Smash devs, and that the game is literally going after Nintendo's own offering ("Smash" up?) we all have high hopes for the fighter. After a few rounds it's obvious that this game is stronger than most of the licensed junk out there – there's an in-depth parry system, slick animations, varied characters and fighting styles, and some in-level prop fun to be had – and with the promise of online and a unique single player mode Smash-Up could be the real deal. Rest assured though; it imitates Smash Bros. but doesn't totally replicate.
Kinda don't like the graphics.
And why is Fugitoid kicking *** in this game, he should just run around the whole time and apologize for getting the turtles into trouble.