PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale (PSASBR) is a Crossover Fighting Video Game, developed by SuperBot Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The game is best known for allowing 4 Player [Free For All] Online Matches, with over 20 characters from popular franchises to choose from. It has won "Fighting Game of the Year" at the 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.
Famous characters from Sony include: Kratos from the God of War series, Parappa the Rapper, Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Nathan Drake from Uncharted, and more. Notable 3rd party characters include: Big Daddy from BioShock, Dante from Ninja Theory's recent Devil May Cry, Heihachi Mishima from Tekken, and Raiden from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
The stages, items, and unlockable minions are based on these famous franchises as well. Each character has 24 unique attacks that players use to build up a meter that allows for 3 possible "Super" moves. These "Super" moves are used to actually KO your opponents. Throughout development, every character was delicately handled to present their history in the PlayStation world, their personality, their iconic moments, and fighting style in all their actions. At the end of it all, PSASBR is a celebration of the characters and their history in gaming, aimed to give fans another chance at re-experiencing their favorite characters in an ultimate showdown!
My first successfully Released Title - the brimming start of my video game career.
I feel tremendously honored and blessed to have been part of the development of PSASBR. I suspect it'll always have a special place in my heart and memory, as I strive onwards to expand my career. Here, I'll share what I've accomplished while working as a Combat Designer at SuperBot Entertainment.
Main Character Focus
Secondary Character Focus
My Role - Combat Designer
Design and Pitch Combat Moves of Characters!
- Continuously Research on Character
- No matter how old your character is, there's always something NEW to discover.
- Communicate with Character Pod
- Character Pod is a team of Artists, VFX, Programmers, and Animators devoted to one character
- Brainstorm fun aspects of the character to highlight
- Discuss potential problems upfront
- Formulate Combat Persona / Play Style
- How should they fight?
- What are some Props they used?
- Are there any Iconic moves to draw from?
- Advanced or Beginner Fighter?
- Document Character Proposal
- Character history or background
- Base 24 Moves
- Super Moves
- Technical Requirements
- Asset and Prop Requests
- In-Game VO Lines
- Costume Suggestions
- Discuss Desired Role of the Character in Game
- How should this character compare to the rest?
We start by researching about our characters. Research includes: playing their games, discussing with the IP holders, understanding what their abilities are, and essentially becoming a huge fan. We also design around many non-combat aspects, grabbing inspiration from their personality, script, interactions with other characters in their own game world, and sometimes even from what the IP holder hoped to put into their original game.
All characters have Navigation, Defense, and Reaction behaviors that are standardized among the cast. Even within these commonality, some characters have special traits that make them stand out. For example, Nariko can [Wall Slide] like in her original game, Heavenly Sword.
After designing their possible 24 attack moves, we move onto the Super Moves, which are the best moments in our game to highlight their charm and sheer power. Each character has 3 Super Moves: Level 1, the strong Level 2, and the ultimate Level 3. Various constraints and rules surround each level of Super. Designers must ensure that each super is fun, easy to grasp, and effective during gameplay.
After a long process of feedback, meetings, discussions, and approval on the design, it's time for the implementation!
Implementation and Iterations
- Receive and Utilize Assets
- Just as design goes through iterations, so do assets.
- When assets fall out of the desired form...
- Discussions ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Important to remember - everyone deserves respect and understanding.
- No doubt "butting of heads" happen, but we're always moving one step closer to our goals!
- Script and Build Moves
- Using our in-house Tools, here are just a few of the many elements Combat Designers affect:
- Hit Volume Location and Durations
- Defensive properties
- Cancel or Breakout traits
- Super behaviors
- Did you know? Some supers have new movesets within themselves!
- Jak's Lvl 3 changes him into Light Jak, giving him 4 new abilities!
- NPC behaviors
- Repeated PlayTesting
- In-House and Outreach
- A quote from a close friend: "Ideas are cheap. Playtest is gold."
- Feedback calls for design improvement and changes.
- Important fine-tuning and balancing occur with each iteration.
- Uphold Production Loop and Milestones
- Each character goes through the usual Design, Alpha, Beta, and Gold phases
- In the pipeline, there are many others dependent on combat (and vice versa).
Collaboration of Departments
- Discuss how to better emphasize character personality
- Work together to make sure Character's move are readable and effective
- Discover ways to work around system constraints together
- Visual Effects
- Bring on the pizzazz to every move! Not just Hit Sparks!
- Discuss and share in-game references of inspired moves and outside references.
- Ensure each move appear different from one another and from other characters
- Discuss technical (script, tools, or system) obstacles before implementation.
- Request new script commands and utilize it for specific game scenarios (such as Supers)
- Ensure character moves and abilities are Online / Networking compliant
- Other Designers (Level / System)
- Ensure all combat elements fall inline within rules and constraints
- Uphold their values and importance in the face of Gameplay
The above bullet points are a brief overview of what happens during the process of creating one character. Some of these actions happen all together in larger meetings, some quietly huddled over my desk with the character pod, or even just while working alone. All in all, the entire process is collaborative and like a good roller coaster, there are mountain high and valley low moments. What I treasure most about the entire experience is that we keep growing together as a team and draw closer to our goals!
Due to potential copyright infringement, I am unable to present my design documentation. Luckily, I can still show you the fruits of my labor. In fact, the game is out right now with amazing DLC available. There are also a galaxy worth of fan-generated content online: Combo videos, Discussions, Fan Art, Tumblrs, and I can't even keep track. The reception towards characters I've worked on (Jak, Nariko, and Emmett) truly move me and inspire me to be a better designer everyday.