During New York Comic Con this past weekend, I talked to the brand manager for "Overlord: Dark Legend" about how the Wii title will fill the void for Nintendo's hardcore gamers.
At New York Comic Con over the weekend at the Javits Center, I stopped by Codemasters' booth to see the new "Overlord" title "Dark Legend" for the Wii. The game is the first of the franchise for the Wii and is made exclusively for the platform. Set as a prequel to 2007's "Overlord," players will take on the role of a 16 year-old Overlord and be able control his evil minions with the Wii-mote and nunchuk.
During the demo, brand manager Dan Robinson explained to me how the title came about, why he thinks it's for the hardcore gamers and if he thinks it will sell well amongst the shovelware.
MTV Multiplayer: Why make "Overlord" for the Wii?
Brand manager Dan Robinson: This is our first time out on the Wii, and we realized quite early on if we just did a port of "Overlord" or "Overlord 2" onto the Wii, we'd get slighted. And it wouldn't work because you have to make sure that the game works with the control system. You have to make sure that it hits all the buttons that Nintendo fanboys want. And if it doesn't, then you're kind of dead in the water before you've even started. So we made sure that the game itself worked with the nunchuk and the Wii remote. The nunchuk controls the Overlord and the Wii remote controls the minions.
"I think [Nintendo fans have] seen enough big-headed sports games and mini game collections for the Wii."
Also, the minions are the sort of characters that work on the platform. You can do a lot with them, and they're good fun. But the other thing was, a lot of Nintendo fans are after a game like this on Nintendo. I think they've seen enough big-headed sports games and mini game collections for the Wii. Nintendo fanboys tend to be quite loyal to Nintendo, so the people who are playing "Metroid Prime" and "Zelda" and "Mario," they're kind of after a game like this that does more for them than picking up a Wii and just doing that action [flicks hand side-to-side] all the time. I think those sort of guys are going to be fiending for this game when it comes out.
MTV Multiplayer: So would you classify this as more of a hardcore game?
Robinson: Yeah, for the Wii. I mean, there are elements of it that are still fun [for casual players] and you can still get invoved with it. But I think it's definitely more of a hardcore game than you've got on the Wii at the moment. The other thing that the Wii's done is opened a market for the people who perhaps weren't into gaming before. So people who were bit scared because [gaming] was a bit too technical and a bit too geeky have suddenly been brought in because of the Wii. And I think this gives us an opportunity to show them that the Wii can actually do games like this, and it actually works and it can make good fun. So there are two distinct groups there that we're going for.
MTV Multiplayer: Are you concerned that third-party "hardcore" games haven't sold as well as "Mario" or "Zelda"?
"First-party titles tend to be more successful, but they tend to get more support...But I think this title's got a chance."
Robinson: Part of that would be the marketing spending. If it's a Nintendo game, they put a lot of money behind it. But also, I think fans have got a lot of faith in titles from first-party, and being a third-party, it's been important for us to get Nintendo on our side and get them really behind the game. They've seen it, and they think it's great because it's something different. With the original game, fans saw it and they thought they knew what was coming, but then they saw it and thought, "Hang on, this is something different." It got viewed as "Fable" mixed with "Pikmin." That was how it was seen, which is no bad thing from our point of view! So I think you're right, in that first-party titles tend to be more successful, but they tend to get more support. They get on TV, that helps. But I think this title's got a chance! It's a good game, it's something different, and I think if we do it right, it will attract the right sort of audience that will buy it.
I mean, people like it because it's like "Pikmin" and they've got the different colors, different abilities and you can send them off to do different things. But it's also totally different. The minions are evil. They kill things and set fire to things; you don't find "Pikmin" doing that!
"Overlord: Dark Legend" will be out for the Wii this summer.