The initial PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale roster has 20 playable characters and Superbot plans to expand that number through downloadable content. We met with Omar Kendall, the director of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale at Superbot Entertainment, to talk about the process of getting characters for the mascot fighting game and how they developed the PlayStation Vita version.
Was it difficult to get all these third-party characters in the game?
Omar Kendall, Director: It is rather amazing that we have all of these different characters from all of these different publishers in the same game. But, even getting the first-party characters into the game was a big challenge. It wasn’t just like, “Oh, we’re making a PlayStation game, so we get all the dudes.” [Where] we open up the catalog and say, “That guy, that guy, that guy.”
It’s like, “Oh, we want to use Kratos.” We need to go talk to the God of War team. “Oh, we want to use Drake.” We need to go talk to the Uncharted guys, and get their permission. They have the right to say yes, they have the right to say no. They have the right to say, “You can use our character this way. He needs to look that way. You can only use these moves.”
All IP-holders have a right to do that. So, we started that process with the first-party characters and got a really good roster of those guys, and then started branching out to third-parties, because of PlayStation being so synonymous with third-party titles. You have to have third-party characters in a game like this.
And once we had a working build that we could put in publishers hands and say, “Hey, I want Heihachi Mishima in this game. This is the kind of game we’re making, these are the sorts of things we would do with your character”—we could demonstrate that we had a skill and love for these characters and the type of game we were making and that went a long way with publishers.
And they were all really super cool, and they got it, and they understood what we wanted to do from a game standpoint and a fan standpoint.
Are there any first-party characters you wanted to bring in that you couldn’t?
I think we really did hit the very high-level top-line characters—past, present and future—from the PlayStation universe. There probably is a character or franchise out there that we didn’t hit this time around, but we are doing DLC for the game, so there’s always an opportunity to add to it.
But, I think, when you listen to what the fans are asking for the loudest, we definitely hit all of it. I mean, Kratos, Drake, Cole, Ratchet, Daxter.
What about on the third-party side?
From the third-party standpoint, honestly we would love to have a character from every franchise that was on PlayStation, right? But, I think the realities of what we were able to achieve from a production standpoint and different IP and what’s going on with those particular franchises and publishers, sometimes the logistics don’t work out. But the door is always open, and there’s always an opportunity for DLC.
Did you try for Crash Bandicoot at all? Crash was so synonymous with the PlayStation brand early on even though he’s at Activision now.
Yeah. I have to say it’s not that Superbot is some independent developer chasing down third-party characters. This is a negotiation that happens on a much higher level than Superbot, with Sony and Activision, these two giant companies.
And I completely understand how big and important a character like Crash is to the PlayStation universe. We want to make it clear to fans that we understand how important a character Crash is to the PlayStation universe. Obviously, we try everything in our power to try and get characters like Crash.
What can you tell us about the DLC characters?
We won’t be talking specifically about DLC characters [yet], other than to say that we will absolutely be doing them.
The DLC will be cross-compatible with the Vita version, right?
Are there any secret characters in the game that you still haven’t revealed?
Playable? No. We’ve got our 20 launch characters and they’re unlocked from day one. We’ve got some secrets, but not on our playable roster. If I really dig Sly Cooper and he’s not unlocked on day one, that’s going to be a bummer for me, so we want to make sure the characters are available.
When did development on the Vita version start? Was it really difficult to pivot and do both platforms simultaneously?
Well, we actually worked with Bluepoint Games who actually created our engine. They handled our Vita port, so it was essentially co-developed simultaneously. They ran just a couple of weeks behind us in terms of what we put in the game and what they incorporated in the Vita version.
I got to say we wouldn’t have been able to do it without those guys. They’re working really hard right now to finalize the Vita version, and they’re an amazing group down there. I don’t want to call it a “port”. The Vita version of the game is really amazing.