Select Page has posted a new installment in the developers diary from Double Helix, this time talking about the production of the Nintendo DS version of G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA.  Click here to see what Associate Producer Nick Pavlich had to say about this version of the upcoming game, or you can simply click the “Full Story” link below.

For fans of all ages, 2009 is gearing up to become another watershed milestone in the timeless franchise by introducing even more new ways to engage, immerse and play within the G.I. Joe® universe. The G.I. Joe video game will feature an exclusive storyline that picks up where the live-action movie leaves off, allowing players to re-create and re-live the greatest moments from the film, cartoon series and action figure toy line. The game will feature 12 G.I. Joe characters, each with unique abilities and weapons. Adding to the adrenaline rush will be an intense single-screen co-op mode allowing two players to easily unite as a team in a classic struggle between good and evil as they work together to defeat the powers of the COBRA organization.

Developer Blog #3: Making a cool G.I. JOE DS game

Recruits listen up; it’s time to brief you on your mission at hand.

It only takes five letters to bring back a collage of memories from yesteryear, those letters: G.I. JOE. When General Hawk commanded me to produce the best G.I. JOE DS video game COBRA has ever seen I was nervous, excited, and ecstatic. To achieve such a tall order were going to need to make a unique version for the DS rather than slamming the console game down into 64mb. This allows us to play to the strengths of the DS. Everything was built to maximize the DS hardware from the 3D top-down view, to the wireless multiplayer.

Now back to the mission at hand…I suited up and started to collect critical intelligence: what characters should we have? What vehicles? What play sets? The only thing I was sure of was this mission was going to be action packed! I needed the very best team to help take on this monumental task, one that was grizzled and war trained in the arcade genre, it was time to bring in the big guns (sorry Heavy Duty!), Backbone Entertainment!

The great thing about Backbone is they have a long history in making great arcade games everything from Commandos, to most recently Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. These guys have more knowledge on the subject than Breaker does on COBRA. Right out of the gates we concentrated on the control scheme. We started with prototyping stylus controls, we had something that worked well for just shooting but our game was going to require much more than just shooting. We were going to need fast reflexes, different types of attack and melee. We wanted to pack it full of different ways to dismantle COBRA: Katana Blades, Cross Bows, Machine guns, Accelerator Suits, not to mention Vehicles! Cramming all these varied types of game play into a few simple swipes with a stylus was not going to happen. Instead we opted for the more traditional arcade controls; move on the DPAD with action on the buttons. We took the controls out on the practice range and kept tweaking them until they were smooth. Now it was time to suit up and tackle the other ¾ of the equation, what makes a G.I. JOE DS game great?

G.I. JOE is about a few fundamental things: unique characters, venomous vehicles, expansive play sets and hordes of COBRAS. In replicating each component we used the same philosophy we did with the controls: “it needs to be fun first.” For the characters it was important to represent as many varied types of G.I. JOE’s as possible. On one hand we have Snake Eyes: quick, stealthy, deadly with a Katana, on the other end of the spectrum we have Heavy Duty, slower but packing in the firepower with a chain gun firing about one zillion rounds a second. Now throw in Scarlett who has a crossbow, Shipwreck who has a parrot, Duke who is your elite combat solider and you have a ton of different options to dismantle COBRA with. We’ve packed in six unique G.I. JOE’s that all feel very different from one another. Each G.I. JOE is more suited to one situation over another. Same goes for the vehicles, we have your slower more powerful tanks like the MOBAT, quicker more nimble vehicles like the Armored Panther, and even COBRA vehicles such as the Hiss Tank.

Next up Play-sets. When selecting play-sets we wanted to bring to life all the scenarios you dreamed up using the toy figures in real life. For example a vast Desert Base (most likely you used a sand box?), to the Arctic Tundra (in my case this was approximated by an ice box. Sorry mom for spoiling all the food in the freezer during the summer of 86’, although the fight against COBRA was epic!) to a menacing COBRA Fortress (perhaps a couple of couch cushions?). The DS game has 21 missions spanning the jungle, desert, arctic, COBRA labs, fortresses, boss battles, interiors and exteriors. Now what are you going to do in each of those spaces? You’ll be carrying out infiltration rescue missions, adventuring through the desert taking down COBRA one bunker at a time, not to mention facing off against some deadly bosses. All these different types of missions keep the action fresh and unique even hours into the game.

I’ve saved the best for last and the reason you’re probably here….

COOOOOBBBRRRA! We really wanted to give the player the ability to not only play against COBRA but to play AS COBRA. In the single player game you get to play as five different COBRA characters including Destro, Cobra Commander, and Storm Shadow as they try to siege the G.I. JOE Pit. The action doesn’t end there! You can play up to four players in G.I. JOE vs. COBRA multiplayer. We really wanted to allow you to play up the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA fantasy. We have three unique multi-player game modes: Team Battle, Warhead, and Defend the Base. In Team Battle, taking an opponent down will earn you a point and the team with the highest score wins. In Warhead teams battle over escorting an armed Warhead to the opposing team’s base and then have to detonate it. Lastly in Defend the Base mode, teams take turns attempting to destroy the opposing team’s base.

G.I. JOE The Rise of Cobra is packed full of G.I. JOE goodness, there’s a lot of stuff hidden in that little piece of plastic. I think General Hawk would consider this mission a resounding success, and I hope you do too!

So, you want to be a member of G.I. JOE? You don’t ask to be in G.I. JOE, you’re asked. Here’s the deal – this August, the first person to send me a screenshot showing they achieved 100% complete in the DS game will get some cool swag from the G.I. JOE coffers, send pictures to: BRING IT!
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes details in the coming weeks.

Nick Pavlich is the Associate Producer working on G.I. JOE The Rise of Cobra

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