Spare Parts: Simon Pegg, Robots, and Co-Op

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Spare Parts for PS3 (PSN)

Spare Parts is a game we made about these two robots – Mar-T and Chip – who find themselves dropped out with the garbage on an alien planet. To be honest, we cast robots as the main characters because we all love robots. Robots are awesome template for characters for a number of reasons, and you can apply so many things to their character, personality and abilities. I am a massive sci-fi fan and the basic story elements dealing with two buddy robots, cast out with the garbage and forced to survive on an alien planet appealed to me a lot. Very early in the game our two robots meet Con-Rad (voiced by Simon Pegg) in an abandoned space ship and he becomes their guide and mentor. Con-Rad explains that the evil race know as the “Krofax” are in orbit and if they detect that the robots are operational, will come after them with a vengeance. Their only hope is to collect enough spare ship parts that have been littered all over the planet by the Krofax in an attempt to repair the ship and escape.

Spare Parts for PS3 (PSN)Spare Parts for PS3 (PSN)

Essentially, Spare Parts is all about exploring the world, solving puzzles, beating up enemies, collecting items and finding hidden goodies. It was important to the team that the player feel a sense of progression and reward when playing through the game and one of the best things about robots is…you can upgrade their parts! We hit upon the idea of giving them abilities that you would find throughout the game and these took the form of Action Parts. The parts give you new attacks and abilities to use on the environment. Some of these can be used to stun enemies or reprogram them, others can be used for greater damage or to reach hidden areas. This allowed us to create the levels around the new abilities you would gain when playing through and also find hidden areas in levels that you have already been through upon re-entry. I think my favourite part at the moment is the Nano Trigger, which allows you to re-program enemies to attack each other and control Krofax Technology.

There are also 100 ship parts scattered around the planet for players to find. Some of the parts were amed after people who worked on the game, others are little nods to our favourite sci-fi films and games. As well as Mar-T and Chip, there are also eight other robots to find and play as in the game. They are hidden around the world and need re-activating to be of use.

We wanted to make a game that could be played by anyone really and capture that co-op feel you find in a lot of modern games. I love playing third-person action games and, for me, there weren’t a lot of games out there on PSN that I could play through with my girlfriend, or that people could truly play through together. The team came up with the idea of using specific co-op moves that would allow the players to work together for greater effect. Initially, we thought it would be cool to have both players combine their attacks to cause more damage to enemies. Very quickly, however, the original idea then lead on to enabling players to performing special moves together to unlock hidden areas, take out bosses faster and also, just to let players mess around and have fun. Thus, the break dancing and rock-paper-scissors ideas came about.

Spare Parts for PS3 (PSN)

When creating the story we realised that we had made a great way of giving purpose to a lot of our levels. We didn’t want to make a game that was the done-to-death “lava level, ice level, water level” style of game, so the planet we created had to have some cool twists to it. Alien worlds and strange unknown lands are food for imagination. Space is awesome and interesting because it contains (at least in fiction) ships, planets, aliens and most importantly, the unknown! We decided on having a jungle-based world which had been littered with technology, but also had local inhabitant wildlife that would populate the surroundings. This gave us a great foundation to play through mountain tops, river beds, caves, cliffs and deserts, and have interesting scenery, enemies and puzzles that didn’t feel out of place.

The main enemies in the game are lead by the evil “Lord Sulba Krung” who travels around the galaxy in his ship, decimating planets and stealing their technology for his own use. Frequently, anything he can’t use he drops on planets that pose no threat to him or his Krofax. The heroes in our game are cast out onto one of these planets before the Krofax detect movement and realise they are still alive. Sending down his troops, Sulba Krung is determined to stop them from repairing Con-Rad’s systems and steal the Power Core that Con-Rad has been protecting in his ship’s hull. Sulba Krung’s main forces are called the Krofax and we wanted to make them a kind of incompetent storm trooper who would be a problem in larger groups, but individually are very dumb. This gave us a chance to use some funny situations with the cutscenes and also a reason for them to be inherently evil… they are just too dumb to know better.

Very early on we decided that the ships computer Con-Rad, should be the narrator and guide for the players in the game. We needed him to have great character and personality so we wanted to cast someone great to perform the role. As the only speaking character in the game, it was important that we got someone who could fill Con-Rad with personality and charm and also someone who understands videogames and loves sci-fi. We managed to sign up Simon Pegg to perform as his voice and were thrilled with the results. When the audio recording started appearing in the game it really added another level to Con-Rad and made him feel so much more than he was on paper.

We have really enjoyed bringing Mar-T, Chip, Con-Rad and their adventures to life and hope you all enjoy playing it when it is released.

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