TRON 2.0: Killer App?

Kevin Hendrickson, game director on the Live-enabled Xbox port of TRON 2.0, talks about the various differences between the PC original and the Climax-developed port due out next month.

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Monolith surprised a few people with the PC version of Tron 2.0. Although the developer has previously enjoyed success with the likes of the No One Lives Forever series, there was a sense that developing a convincing FPS game based on a near-20-year-old sci-fi might be a bit beyond, well, anybody's capacity. Fortunately it was a nonsense. Monolith instead delivered a memorable, graphically unique extension of the film that deservedly won much praise - including a glowing write-up here at EG.

Not long afterward, rights-holder and publisher Buena Vista Interactive tapped Climax's LA studio to develop an online-enabled Xbox version. The result was Tron 2.0: Killer App, due out on the Microsoft platform later this year, featuring new multiplayer modes and a faithful port of the celebrated single-player game. With just over a month to go until the game's release, game director Kevin Hendrickson spoke out about the differences between the PC and Xbox versions. And when you're done, don't forget to check out our exclusive screenshots of the game in action.

Eurogamer: How long has an Xbox version been planned for Tron 2.0?

Kevin Hendrickson: The Xbox version of Tron 2.0 Killer App had been talked about for quite some time and during its progression toward reality, the pieces nicely fell into place with the staff at Buena Vista and Climax Group. The computer world of Tron came to life as a natural fit by bringing it to the Xbox.

Eurogamer: What new features will we see that we didn't see on the PC version of the game?

Kevin Hendrickson: The most significant difference from the PC to the Xbox game is in the multiplayer content. We have added many new game modes, maps, characters, weapons and light cycles to give players a full multiplayer experience. In the multiplayer modes, we added team and class based modes as well as vehicle combat in the form of light cycles. Consumers are going to be happily surprised with the amount of content and replayability that this game has to offer from the large story-driven single-player game to the multiplayer and Xbox Live offering.

Eurogamer: Does Killer App support Xbox Live? If so, how many players does it support?

Kevin Hendrickson: Killer App supports both Xbox Live and System Link. We also support Friends, Score Boards, Downloadable Content, Voice and Communicator Headsets. The maximum number of players on Live will still to be announced, but it will defiantly take full advantage of our large maps designed for light cycle and FPS combat.

Eurogamer: Do you have special modes of play for multiplayer games? What are they?

Kevin Hendrickson: Two of our favourite game modes are Data Capture and OverRIDE. Data Capture is our class-based team objective game mode. Players are able to select from various classes and their respective capabilities, while working together as a team to capture and hold objective points around the maps. We felt strongly about bringing a team-based class system to Tron as it rounded off the various game modes and brought a more strategic and tactical gameplay to our multiplayer.

OverRIDE combines FPS action and allows players to transform at anytime into light cycles. This is a unique mode because we allow players to literally have access to a vehicle at anytime and use it as fast as a weapon. The mixture of FPS and light cycles created the need for larger maps that support both types of game play. The maps were designed with large grids, light bridges, overpasses, and structures to encourage a variety of gameplay tactics that encourage the balance of players switching into and out of light cycles on the fly. Overall, the instantaneous cycle-switching mechanic proved to be a great design idea that really works well in the context of the Tron universe.

Eurogamer: What other games did you look to for inspiration when creating Killer App?

Kevin Hendrickson: The team is no stranger to FPS games. Most of us have had first-hand development experience with First Person Shooters in the past and all of us play shooters in our spare time. Researching for Killer App was not a problem. Subsequently we have our favourites and wanted to make sure the Killer App offered a variety of team and non-team game modes along with Tron-specific game modes; something that would stand out from the rest of the shooter and we believe that we have done exactly that with OverRIDE.

Eurogamer: How faithful have you remained to the original film?

Kevin Hendrickson: Buena Vista Games allowed us to push the multiplayer levels to be a bit darker than the PC version more edgy and moody. BVG worked closely with us to develop the look that we feel sets the tone for our multiplayer Tron world, which blends nicely into the single-player storyline.

Eurogamer: What creative freedom has the Tron world given you over other FPS games? What kind of missions are we going to be able to play?

Kevin Hendrickson: The Tron universe is perfectly suited to allow for the integration of new and creative ideas that are spawned from technology. For instance the creation of OverRIDE is a prime example of using a gameplay mechanic that was spawned directly from an idea based from the Tron universe. It just made sense that players would want to battle on large grids and at anytime transform into a light cycle and battle at high speed or try to run over players on foot. Combine all this action with vast computer landscapes and a great variety of unique weapons only found in the Tron world, it really creates a powerful formula of gameplay.

Eurogamer: Are we going to see any new enemies in Killer App? Do the enemies require special tactics to defeat?

Kevin Hendrickson: In the single-player experience, we kept our enemies similar, but made many enhancements to eliminate any frustrations as well as provide more action and intensive moments. In the multiplayer experience, since every online player can be viewed as ‘the enemy', we delved deep into design mechanics to offer different types of gameplay. For example, when looking at the four new weapons, we opened up many new abilities for the player, such as giving the ability to temporarily blind adversaries with the Burst Cannon, being able to obtain power-ups at a distance with the Charger Disc, and giving a massive ‘area of effect' barrier with the Ballstorm weapon. Players will find many new possibilities that can be combined to pull off strategies that are unique to Killer App.

Eurogamer: Is there anything you wanted to include but weren't able to because of time limitations?

Kevin Hendrickson: When do you ever have enough time? Ideas don't stop even though development must come to an end. We have a pile of ideas and afterthoughts and we have collected them together into what maybe a next incarnation of Tron. We enjoyed working on the license and expect the public to be favourably surprised by the level of development that has gone into this game.

Tron 2.0: Killer App is due out exclusively on Xbox this November.

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