This year is a huge year for Tron fans. Not only do they have the blockbuster film, Tron: Legacy, coming out, but they also have Tron: Evolution, which looks to really build upon the franchise.
We recently had the chance to sit down with Darren Hedges, the game director of Tron: Evolution, to briefly talk about how the project got started, and how he hopes it'll do.
GamingUnion.net: What was it like to go from Turok to Tron?
Darren Hedges: I wasn't lucky enough to actually work on Turok, I came from EA after working on FIFA. So what was it like to go from FIFA to Tron? It was actually interesting. I was brought to Propaganda to start looking at the Turok sequel which we then turned into Tron Evolution as soon as we knew that Tron was available to us. As soon as we started working with the film guys, for me, it as a dream come true. I've been a Tron fan since the original movie in 1982, so to be able to in and influence the whole mythology and chronology for me was like, wow. It's not something you get to do in this line of work that often.
GamingUnion.net: So you're effectively saying that Turok 2 became Tron?
Darren Hedges: laughs Not exactly became Tron. But you know, we obviously morphed the team from being a first person shooter team to a third person action adventure team. And that was really the evolution of the studio I guess.
GamingUnion.net: Given the nature of the franchise and the upcoming film, was it difficult to decide what types of gameplay you wanted in there as there's been a ton of games prior to Evolution.
Darren Hedges: When we first started we kind of looked around and saw obviously what had come before where Tron was concerned. We looked at Tron 2.0, we looked at the original arcade version, the discs of Tron, even what they did with Tron in Kingdom Hearts. We looked at all the freeware and shareware stuff that fans of Tron had stuck on the net; even iPhone applications. We literally looked at everything and saw where the fans were leaning towards and the consumers.
Then we looked at the competitive set that was out there in the world for what we wanted to do. Initially we were looking at doing the blend of parkour and capoeira for a fighting style so we looked at games like Assassin's Creed, God of War, Devil May Cry, Mirror's Edge and Prince of Persia - all those games that allow you that freedom of movement, but have a distinct style to them. And that's when we really settled on wanting to be a third person action adventure title. It also allows us to create a very world, a very rich storyline and a character that the player can actually identify with. That was one of the key reasons for us to be third person, so that you as a consumer can actually identify with that character more easily.
GamingUnion.net: Do you feel that since you've worked so closely with the film team, that the stigma of bad film tie-ins is behind us?
Darren Hedges: Well it's the thing from a Disney perspective, and you know, from my perspective personally, that we wanted to dispel with Tron Evolution. That stigmatism between movie-based games and the last 20 years have not been kind to movie tie-in games. And that's one of the reasons we chose to be not a direct tie to the movie and more of a prequel. It allowed us much more flexibility with how we approached our title. And then working so closely with the film makers from day one on our story, on our assets and sharing everything between the two of us; there are truly moments in the game where you'll have seen the film and be like 'oh my god, I know what's going to come next' or you play the game first and see the film and you're like 'oh my god, I did that!'. There are a lot of those moments in the narrative sense that you just don't get in a normal movie-based game because we worked so closely with the film makers from day one.
GamingUnion.net: You mentioned that the franchise is huge, what was one of the biggest challenges with picking that up? Was it intimidating?
Darren Hedges: It wasn't intimidating, more exhilarating. I'm a huge Tron nerd myself, so getting the opportunity to work on it was truly a dream come true. It was intimidating in the fact that you're going on to set and you're seeing these actors of such pedigree do their stuff, that was probably the most intimidating part of actually doing the game, was going on set, talking to Sean Bailey or Joe Kosinski and realising wow, these guys are in love with the franchise. And then you see people like Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner and that's when it starts to get a little bit intimidating because these are people you idolise through TV or film media.