I always look at the user's score instead of seeing GS's score (even when there's a lot of people who high rates everything) - - 5.7 on the wii, 4.0 on the ps3, 3.5 on xbox - this game is a disaster!
We chat up EA producer Trey Smith about the problems in the previous version of FaceBreaker, and how the Wii version is going to be different.
There was a buzz of sorts around EA's arcade boxing game FaceBreaker when it was released in September. Unfortunately, that low-level buzz turned to high-decibel complaints when the final game didn't deliver on its promise of laugh-out-loud characters and compelling gameplay. Although the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of FaceBreaker met with a harsh critical and commercial response, the Wii version of the game, subtitled K.O. Party, is still full-steam ahead and set for release next week. In anticipation, we hit up the game's producer Trey Smith for a frank conversation about the failures of the original game and what his team is doing to make sure K.O. Party is a knockout.
GameSpot: The reception to the original FaceBreaker was pretty negative, so let's start with how fan and critical reaction has shaped K.O. Party. What did you guys learn from the original game that you're looking to fix and/or improve upon with the Wii version?
Trey Smith: First off, we knew we wanted to take FaceBreaker K.O. Party on the Wii in a different direction than on other platforms. Our mantra from day one was "FaceBreaker K.O. Party is not a port!" If we've all learned anything about developing games for the Wii, it's that in order to be successful, you have to build the game from the ground up specifically with the Wii in mind and cater to its strengths. With K.O. Party, we set out to create an arcade boxing experience that you can only get on the Wii, and we're very pleased with the game we ended up with. We were bummed by the lackluster reception of FaceBreaker on the PS3/360, but we hope that people will give K.O. Party a fair shot because it truly is a completely different experience. We've been humbled, but still think we've got something special.
As far as the Wii team addressing the issues that people have had with the 360/PS3 versions of FaceBreaker, we think we have. Once we started getting feedback on what people liked and didn't like about FaceBreaker on other platforms, it confirmed that we made the right decisions.
1. Slow down game speed--We knew that we were going to have to slow things down across the board when we decided to go with a gesture-based control scheme instead of buttons. It takes longer to punch than to tap a button, and under the hood it takes a bit longer to accurately detect things in order to get the responsiveness we knew we needed to get the gameplay where we wanted it. Slowing things down a bit--our animations run about 80 percent of what they did on the PS3/360--makes the game more about reading your opponent's actions and then reacting to them, and less about guessing. This is key. FaceBreaker K.O. Party takes strategy. You can't just go in and "waggle mash" if you want to be successful against human opponents and AI. We think one of the major hang-ups that people had on FaceBreaker 360/PS3 was the game speed was so fast that it didn't allow you the time to learn, and in turn effectively use, the many weapons in your arsenal on the defensive side of things. We feel that slowing things down creates a much more balanced and enjoyable experience on both the offensive and defensive ends of the spectrum.
2. No button/waggle mash--We felt from the beginning that we wanted FaceBreaker K.O. Party to be all about strategy, so we drastically reduced the amount of damage and effectiveness of jabs and, in turn, juiced the damage and effectiveness of the charge punches/hooks, which are key to our counter and parrying system. So if you go in and try to "waggle mash" against someone that knows how our defensive mechanics work, you will absolutely get your a** handed to you. Can I say a**?
GS: We prefer "tushy."
TS: 3. AI--We are very aware that the AI on the PS3/360 was...uh....extremely difficult? While this was intentional and at the time what we thought the PS3/360 consumer wanted, we knew it was not the direction that we wanted to go with the AI on the Wii. We knew we wanted to try and find the sweet spot of challenging-but-enjoyable AI, and I think we nailed it. We've got two difficulties in our single-player campaign, "Brawl For it All"--lightweight and heavyweight. Lightweight is a great place to get your feet wet, learn the ins and outs of the motion controls, and start unlocking stuff. We've found in our focus groups that it takes your "average gamer" about two to three hours to play through BFIA on lightweight. With heavyweight, we wanted to make sure that we had something in there that was a solid challenge for the even the most seasoned gamer. It usually takes our best tester around four to five hours to play through heavyweight, depending on which character he's using, and he's been playing the game for months. I played thru BFIA on heavyweight a couple weeks back and it took me about six hours...and not once did I want to throw my Nunchuk and Wii Remote. Every time I lost it was because I failed to execute, not because I felt like the AI cheated.
4. Gameplay depth--On the gameplay side of things, we knew we wanted to takes things a bit further than the 360/PS3 versions. We felt that defense needed a "boost" and added a meter to our parry mechanic. When you parry your opponent's punch, a meter appears, and if you release your counterpunch within the "green zone," you deal big-time damage. This is something that adds further depth and strategy to the defensive side of things and is also one of our most satisfying gestures with our motion-control scheme. It feels so good to parry your opponent's punch and then land a devastating counterpunch of your own. And the "green zone" within the parry meter changes based on which character you are boxing with. If your character is good at parrying then the green zone will be big, and if they're not so hot the window is smaller. Also on the character-differentiation side of things, we decided to make some boxers left-handed and others right-handed since, unlike the 360/PS3 versions of FaceBreaker, we separated left and right punches. Some boxers deal more damage with their right punches and vice versa. Finally, we wanted to give each character a weak spot, high or low, where they take more damage.
5. Exclusive multiplayer modes--One of the big things that we feel makes a successful Wii title is a solid multiplayer experience. Slapping in a handful of bad minigames doesn't count. We've invested heavily in creating two compelling multiplayer modes that you will only find on the Wii version of FaceBreaker. The first is T.K.O., which serves as our team battle multiplayer mode. Here, you draft three boxers and use them against up to three other players' team of boxers. One by one you match up against your opponents in one-fall matches, winner carries over damage into the next fight, until the last boxer standing wins. Drafting characters' forces, you to learn how to play with more than one character in order to be successful. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each character is key to making sure you're picking the right character for each match-up. When you win a match that you are an outright underdog going in, it feels really good. Also, if one player is much stronger than the rest of the group, it allows the other players to gang up on them. We thought about adding an artificial handicap to this mode for the more advanced players, but we found in focus groups that you guys are more than capable of policing yourselves.
The other exclusive multiplayer mode is Punch-O-Matic. This mode is meant is for up to four players and is kind of like a slot machine that spits out who fights with who, where you fight, and the conditions of the bout. We did the math and I think there's something like 100,000 possible combinations, so you're going to be hard-pressed to see the same match twice. We've got some pretty crazy scenarios in there that we feel will give you guys hours and hours of fun when you have people over to play. Some are pretty basic, like fighting at a hyperfast speed. Others are more arcade-like, where you have to avoid hazards in the ring to avoid being stunned. Then there's "Xterminator," where one player controls a humongous killer robot that has 60 seconds to KO their opponent and the other player just has to survive. It's really fun stuff that offers a good experience for a group of people with varying experience and skill on the Wii.
This looks pretty interesting! I hope they're able to make it quite a bit better than the 360/PS3 Hoping for at least a 7.
This guy should be a politician. Not one bad sounding answer it the bunch. He even made the terrible original sound like no big deal.
i hope this turns out decent, because i wanna buy this and take it to my cousins house at Christmas time this along with guitar hero but if its crap im not gonna bother, but ill have to see reviews and rent it myself but its sad when a Dev. is actually trying and its still crap @Goheat; yea that is a load BS im tired of hearing that excuse for why the Wii version is lacking , jeeze its character creation the Wii has Miis so im pretty sure it can handle some form of character creation mode and what about online im upset about that
The Ps3 version of Facebreaker was abominable, simply because playing it was as much fun as shaving with a chainsaw and using lemon juice as aftershave. The one promising thing about this interview is that they admit that they went way over the top with the speed and AI difficulty. It's the only fighter of any sort, on any platform, on which I've given up in disgust before completing it- and I've played everything from Yie Ar Kung Fu and G.A.S.P. to VF5.
Here we go, another lame 'lazy developer' excuse: "Although it was a tough decision at the time to hold off on building a "create a boxer" feature on the Wii, this first time out of the box, I'm confident we made the right decision."
I think the improvements will give it a better review but over all people are still going to think of the failures of the other versions. I don't think the improvements will make it a good game but probably a game worth renting at least.
It seems the developers are really giving a good effort. However, I'm not sold to this game, especially after the rather poor high definition version.
I hate these kind of articles lols the game might be terrible but the developers were genuine guys who WANTED to make a great game but sadly it just didnt work, shame really.....
- Release Date: Sep 3, 2008 (AS)
- Release Date: Sep 3, 2008 (AS)
- Release Date: Nov 11, 2008 (US)