Toy Fair 2009 – Tons of details about the Video Game

Along with sneak peeks at all the upcoming toys for the G.I. Joe: Rise of COBRA movie, we also got a chance to take a look at the video game in production at Electronic Arts, and had some opportunity to talk to some of the folks working on the game.  In those conversations, and in viewing the gameplay we uncovered a wealth of details about the upcoming production.

  • Battle takes place in the 3rd person, though there will be alternate gameplay through certain levels.  In some cases in tight quarters, the camera will pull in very tight on the player almost enough to approximate a first-person shooter.
  • There are 12 playable characters (wit more potential unlockables), and of those 12, we saw Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, and Heavy Duty.
  • They intend to pull elements from all G.I. Joe mythologies, including the movie, cartoon, toyline, and comic
  • Wanted the game to be “accessible”.  Base gameplay could be done using only the joystick and trigger, but obviously for more advanced techniques and power moves, you need more coordination.
  • The idea was to make it a “Contra” for the next gen systems.  Very arcade-like.
  • Each player has a weapon that fires, or a melee, and weapons/abilities vary based on what type of character you’re using.  If you have a “Commando” character you will be quick, but less powerful than if you have a “Heavy” character, who packs more punch, but is slower.
  • Different character “classes” also have the ability to access different bonus portions of the levels, so you may have to play through levels twice if you want to get all of the secrets unlocked.
  • Designed and conceived as a two-player Co-Op game, but even if the second player drops out, one player can control either character and hop back and forth between the two.
  • You can collect “battle points” throughout the game allowing you to unlock and open hidden bonus content by purchasing it with the battle points.
  • There are also 75 hidden “filecards” throughout the game.
  • There appear to be 5 “segments” with several different components to each, adding up to over twenty levels of game play in many different environments.
  • We should expect to see about a dozen different vehicles, some of them based strongly on familiar classics.  In fact during the gameplay, Snake Eyes and Heavy Duty went head-to-head with the “Serpent Power Armor” which bore a striking resemblance to the SNAKE armor.  It was obviously an homage to that design (only a bit larger, more bulky, and darker in color).
  • During vehicle combat, one person can drive while the other operates the weapons.
  • Lots of classic homages throughout the game and through unlockable content.
  • The game was strongly inspired by the old Konami arcade game, both in play style, and in functionality.  You can swap out characters almost at will (as if you put another quarter in to continue).
  • Other game play types involve an overhead view where you can call in a satellite strike using overhead targetting reticules.
  • There will very likely be unlockable COBRA characters who are playable.
  • Different characters we saw while playing the game (though they are not all playable characters) consisted of: Stalker, Helix, a Joe rookie, Dataframe, and Wild Bill, who performs an Air Strike upon request.  Stalker and Dataframe both just appeared on the comm, as well as Dial Tone, who appeared as a female as she does in the IDW comic book  series.
  • It is not ported to PC
  • It does not look like there will be any X-Box Live component, it was designed as co-op arcade-like game with two buddies sitting on the couch.

Overall, it had a definite arcade style, the graphics were crisp and clean, and the action was pretty frenetic.  Animation worked fine and looked relatively fluid, the weapons upgrades were pretty arcade-like, and I actually really liked the looks of the updated SNAKE armor homage.  Environments were pretty generic, the character modelling was functional, though not impressive, and all in all, it looked like a fine sit-down-and kill 2 hours arcade game.  As long as folks aren’t looking to get too involved in a story or wrapped up in something deep and meaningful, I think the game has promise to be a shallow, fun, time-killer, but probably not much more than that.