Jack Black and Ozzy Osbourne star in metal videogame
By Antony Bruno
DENVER (Billboard) - Amid the din of all the other music-based games being released this fall comes a unique twist on the convergence between music and videogames: "Brutal Legend."
Unlike the play-along focus of the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" franchises, "Brutal Legend" offers a comedic fantasy homage to the world of heavy metal. It stars Jack Black as roadie Eddie Riggs and features appearances by Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourne. The game draws heavily on the imagery and lyrics of heavy metal albums at all levels -- from plot to art direction to dialogue -- and features a soundtrack of more than 100 songs.
The much-anticipated title is the brainchild of veteran game developer Tim Schafer, a heavy metal fanatic. The founder/president of Double Fine Productions has built a cult following in the videogame industry with such hits as "The Secret of Monkey Island" and "Psychonauts," leading to a great deal of hype and anticipation for the upcoming "Brutal Legend."
In an interview with Billboard, Schafer talks about how the title stands apart from the broader music-game genre, how music can rise above the level of a mere soundtrack and what he believes "Brutal Legend" has in common with Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" movies.
DID YOU SET OUT TO MAKE AN ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME FIRST OR WAS IT A MUSIC-LED THING FROM THE START?
It was a fantasy game inspired by the world of heavy metal album covers. When you look at those great illustrations on Iron Maiden or Diamond Head albums, there's an unbridled creativity there. They're not worried about something being too much, there's no worry about going over the top. They just threw everything on there that they thought looked awesome.
We wanted to create a world where you could go around every corner and see another heavy metal album cover. So then we wondered who we could drop into that world, and I always thought roadies were great characters that can do anything. At a moment's notice they can deal with unexpected situations and fix anything with duct tape.
Then the gameplay came out of what would satisfy that fantasy. You've got to have a broadax. Then give a guy a guitar for a ranged weapon and the combat just came out of that. Continued...