In the spirit of the game’s release, Crown of Wu Creative Director Jose Carlos shares the game’s humble beginnings as a student project and what makes the game unique.
Crown of Wu is set in a world inspired by Chinese mythology and created to tell a new story of Sun Wukong’s journey from anti-hero to hero, this is a world where legend meets reality. The game’s Creative Director Jose Carlos Montero recently shared his journey first as a school project involving teachers and students at Trazos School of Digital arts in Madrid to take the game to the next level.
|The following transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.|
Q: Share your journey creating a game about ‘Journey to the West’
A: I’m a teacher at Trazos School of Digital Arts here in Madrid in Spain and we thought of creating a game that could involve teachers from the departments across different disciplines like animation, game design and game production. We first started by brainstorming various ideas. However, when we found the classic Chinese tale ‘Journey to the West’, we realized it was a very good starting point because it is an exotic tale in our country. The first stage of development started as a school project. However, when the game started getting bigger, I decided to bring the project into my game development company to try to improve the quality of the game. Much as I enjoyed working with the students, the game evolved fast and needed to be polished. Almost 80 per cent of the people in my company have previously been my students. This is because I recognised their talents and I would like to keep them close to me. I think this is a very nice way to grow a company by building our relationships over the years and more importantly, getting the most talented graduates in the industry.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of making Crown of Wu? A: The hardest part has been programming animation. This involves making the animation more fluid and creating animation blueprints. In contrast, making art is almost natural for us. I’m a teacher of art and design and it is quite easy for me to get beautiful art and easy to get a decent composition.
Q: How does your Wukong compare to other versions of the character? A: Wukong is maybe one of the most powerful beings in the world but in our case, we thought it could be interesting to put all the power into the crown he has. When he uses the crown, he is powerful but with continuous use, it starts to twist his soul and darken his heart. So in the story, he left the crown and turned into the good soul that he was in the past. The player has to decide whether to put on the crown or to destroy it. Hence, we combined the stories of Journey to the West and Lord of the Rings to create a completely different history about Sun Wu Kong.
Q: How difficult is the combat? A: We have four difficulty levels. The first three levels are difficult but are not impossible. You need to learn the timing, understand the enemies and know the environment in order to fight them well. The least difficult level allows you to explore the world without too much challenging combat. However, on harder modes, the enemies will become eager to defeat you quickly. Finally, when you finish the game, you will unlock the most difficult level which is similar to non-hit or Souls-like games.
Q: There are elements of air, fire, earth, and lightning power, how are these elements used in combat? A: We have thought about the elements as a strategic component in which you can use them to influence the environment and to aid in combat directly by damaging the enemies or stunning them and use them to protect yourself from the attack of the enemy.
Q: In terms of gameplay, how is the proportion of combat, parkour and puzzle parts distributed? A: The player is going to find two or three hard puzzles to solve at every level. When I say hard puzzles, you have to observe the environments to discover clues on what to interact with to solve the puzzles. You are going to find a lot of areas in which platforming is also challenging because you need to be able to identify timings and measure distances. In terms of proportion, combat is 40 to 50 percent of the game and 50 to 60 percent are puzzles and platforming.
Q:How does your game compare to Black Myth A: A lot of people said that we were trying to make our own game based on Black Myth. We started with our game in 2018 so we didn’t know anything about Black Myth as we were already in the middle of our production for Crown of Wu. I feel when people compare our game with Black Myth, I could not help but feel we probably did something right with our team of five and a modest budget.
Crown of Wu releases on Playstation 4, Playstation 5 and Steam March 24th, 2023. It is published in Asia by Ripples Asia.
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