Bilbo Baggins from Inevitable’s The Hobbit
Inevitable: My name is Chuck Lupher, and I’m the Design Lead on The Hobbit. Also providing comments are Craig Galley, our Technical Director and Cyrus Lum, our Art Director.
PlanetNintendo: How did you come about the score the project in the first place?
Inevitable: About a year ago Sierra approached Inevitable about possibly doing a console game based on The Hobbit. It took us about half a second to blurt out “Hell, yes!”
PlanetNintendo: The Hobbit is one of the most famous works of literature ever – does this fact intimidate you in anyway?
Inevitable: I don’t know if intimidate is the word I’d use. It’s a huge responsibility to be sure. One thing that became clear early in the project is that everyone has a slightly different vision of how Middle Earth should look and feel. While it will be impossible to please everyone out there, I feel we’ve struck an excellent balance between gameplay and remaining true to the literary work.
PlanetNintendo: How do you intend to make the video game faithful to the original story?
Inevitable: Gameplay moves chapter by chapter, through the story. While we don’t have the resources to cover every single plot element in the book, the large majority is covered either in gameplay or in the cinematics.
Bilbo’s in control
PlanetNintendo: What kind of gameplay does The Hobbit bring to the table?
Inevitable: Gameplay covers a variety of aspects. The Hobbit is an action RPG. The player controls Bilbo as he moves through Middle Earth on his way to the Lonely Mountain. Gameplay within the chapters consists of environment navigation, exploration, combat, stealth, lock picking, and the completion of quests. The player is given the opportunity to explore wilderness areas such as the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, and civilized locations such as Rivendell, the Elvenking Hall and Laketown. As Bilbo advances through the game he gains Courage Points. These courage points may be used to bolster skills such as stealth, lock picking and the use of weapons such as Sting and Stone Throwing.
PlanetNintendo: Why is the project for GameCube only at the moment? Will there be any other console versions later?
Inevitable: We are currently working with the GameCube because the style of game we are making fits so well with that machine. However, there is always the possibility of The Hobbit being on more than just the GameCube.
Fast-food for Wizards
PlanetNintendo: Can you describe the player experience for the first few minutes of gameplay?
Inevitable: Bilbo starts off in front of Bag End having just finished a conversation with Gandalf. He has asked Gandalf to stop by the following day for tea, and has just realized he doesn’t have a thing to serve the wizard.
The player starts off with the task of acquiring tea and cakes for Gandalf’s impending visit. In front of Bag End is a small garden where the player can become accustomed to the feel of the game. While on his way into town, he encounters several hobbits he may interact with. Some are just going about their business while others will ask Bilbo to help with certain tasks. In the process of acquiring food for Gandalf, the player experiences a simple tutorial that introduces the different aspects of gameplay. Environment navigation (climbing, jumping, wading through various depths of water) stealth (sneaking past a sleeping old man), lock picking (opening the flower shop door for the shopkeeper who lost her keys) are all covered. Also covered are first-person stone throwing, buying items, solving quests, and Stonelords our mini-game that is played throughout Bilbo’s quest.
PlanetNintendo: How are you handling the voice acting aspect of the game?
Inevitable: We have over 125 NPCs in the game and all will have full voice. We are in the process of casting and recording all the dialogue in the game as we speak. Not a small task.
PlanetNintendo: How long will the game take to complete from start to finish?
Inevitable: We don’t have all of the gameplay elements in place yet, so that’s impossible to answer right now. The total time it takes to finish the game will depend largely on how thorough the player wants to be. The player that wants to finds all the secrets, solve all the side quests, and master the Stonelords mini-game will take significantly longer than the player who sticks to the mainline quests. Suffice it to say that it will be a satisfying gameplay experience.
For the rest of the interview click the link below.