Want to more about the upcoming action packed third person shooter from Volition – Agents of Mayhem? Anoop Shekar, the Studio Design Director gives us some details.
Where did the idea for the game / story come from?
After finishing a project we usually have a period when people at the studio can propose new game ideas. They can come from anyone on the team but they need to fit in the style, tone and expertise that we’ve developed to some degree. When one group proposed of doing a super-agent game in the vein of GI Joe but with Volition’s take on it we all jumped at the idea.
Having had such a hit with the Saints Row series what made you move on from it? And how does Agents of Mayhem fit into the Saints Row universe overall?
When Saints Row IV was completed we felt that we had reached a natural stopping point for the story. We have ideas of how we can continue on from it but we also looked at this an opportunity to try something new. However, we haven’t necessarily closed the door on the past so I wouldn’t say that we’ve moved on from Saints Row but rather that we aren’t focusing on it right now.
In terms of how Agents of Mayhem fits in to the Saints Row universe – at the end of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, Johnny Gat (a SR mainstay), is given a choice by god as a reward for saving the universe. One of the choices involves recreating the universe in which the Saints never existed. The world of Agents of Mayhem takes is cue an inspiration from that choice.
What sort of activities will the player be able to do in the open world when not on mission?
LEGION, the overall enemy force in our world, is constantly trying to come up with new technology and over the top schemes and they operate all over the city of Seoul which is their current base of operations. The agents are tasked with finding and rooting out these elements throughout the city. Additionally, LEGION has visibly occupied large sections of the city so the player can choose to try to take these areas over and use them to find more LEGION activity.
What will the story missions be like in the game? And will there be any missions as over the top as some of the missions that where in Saints Row or even more OTT in fact?
There are main 2 types of missions in Agents of Mayhem. The first type involves going after key LEGION lieutenants and stopping their crazy schemes. These involve things like crashing a pop starts concert before he creates mindless zombies out of his fans, disabling a giants space laser and objecting to the wedding of a cyborg and his AI lover. These have some of the over the top moments that we have used in previous Saints Row games.
The other type of mission focus on the agents and their backstory and personality. Before you can play as any of the agents you get to play an unlock mission featuring them and your learn about their powers and abilities. After that you then play their personal missions which give you more insight into who they are and why they are in the fight against LEGION. These missions run the gamut from quite serious and emotional to very silly and fun.
Does the game retain anything from the Saints Row games i.e. characters or little nods fans will get? And will any mission have an epic tune playing over them like some of the ones from Saint Row?
Sharp-eyed fans will recognize that they symbol of MAYHEM is a version of the Saints fleur. They also use purple as their main color. Beyond that we will feature several agents as alternate versions of previous Saints Row characters. For instance, Kingpin is actually Piece Washington who was been around since Saints Row 2. Yeti is the code name for Oleg who joined the Saints in Saints Row IV. There are other more subtle and not so subtle references woven throughout the game.
Finally, we just announced that Johnny Gat will be a playable agent that you can unlock if you pre-order the game. Once you have him he will be fully integrated into the game like any other agent that ships with the game, including his own unlock and personal missions.
Do squad mechanics play a part in how you pick who takes on each mission?
There are no squad mechanics per se however, an important part of the gameplay is to equip and pick specific agents that complement each other as well as your individual playstyle. Additionally, there are some areas of the game that can’t be opened unless you have an agent in your squad with an appropriate specialization that can overcome those locks. However, there are no specializations that are assigned to only one agent. Therefore you have some flexibility even in that choice.
Where did the idea for the characters and they designs / powers come from and what inspired them?
There’s no one way that we approached our agents designs. Some started from the idea of a power set (how about a guy with a cold gun that freezes people?), some come from a look or fun idea (what would a fashionista engineer look like?) and others by twisting known archetypes (what is the MAYHEM version of the outward face of the agency?)
Are there one or two specific agents you think players might gravitate towards from the cast? And is there any early fan favourite?
There are a couple of agents that we have gotten a great deal of positive response. Daisy is a roller derby girl who carries around a big minigun. She’s got a great attitude and she’s really fun to play so we get a lot of player who choose her a lot. Scheherazade is another agent who’s a got a mysterious past and she uses more melee attacks than the other agents which makes her pretty popular. However, the one cool thing about our playtesting so far is that there are no agents that everyone chooses or ones that everyone avoids. Every agent has their supporters and we get a good cross section of people playing with all of them.
Will the Hoff be in the game as a character after being the voice over on the trailer? And what was he like to work with on trailer (maybe game?)
At this time we’ve only got him for the trailer that we already released. However, if there was an opportunity to use him in another capacity going forward I think we’d be open to that.
Will the game have a competitive multiplayer or co-op modes in the game?
There are no competitive or multiplayer modes in Agents of Mayhem. However, we do have online contracts that you can complete with your friends online to get larger rewards as a group.
Do you feel / hope that this is the beginning of a new sequel-spawning franchise like Saints Row was?
We certainly have ideas of where Agents of Mayhem can go from here. We’ve only introduced 1 of the 7 enemy ministries (the Ministry of Pride) and we have a lot of backstory and information about the state of the world due to LEGION’s presence and what their overall goals are. We also have a lot more agents to introduce. If Agents of Mayhem is successful we would love to be able continue to explore this world.
Agents of Mayhem is a single-player, open-world, third-person action game for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC gaming systems releasing on August 15th in USA & August 18th in all other territories. This is an uncut interview, extracts of which were featured in the Scottish Sun.