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“Also, after playing from 4pm to 1am I am now ready to register my official, objective opinion: Brütal Legend is the greatest game ever made.” — Tim Schafer


Brütal Legend is an action-adventure game published by Double Fine Productions and Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was released on October 13, 2009 in North America and on October 16, 2009 in Europe. Additionally, on February 26, 2013, the game was released on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux systems via Steam.

Though Brütal Legend was originally to be published by Vivendi Games prior to its merger with Activision, Activision had dropped the game from its portfolio after the merger. It was later picked up by Electronic Arts, though Activision and Double Fine brought counter-lawsuits against each other over publishing issues, which were settled out of court.

Description Edit

Tim Schafer, the game's creative director, was inspired to create the game by his own past musical experiences. The game features the character of Eddie Riggs, voiced by Jack Black, a roadie who is accidentally transported to a fantasy world inspired by the artwork of heavy metal album covers. Eddie becomes the world's savior, leading the down-trodden humans against a range of supernatural overlords using a battle axe, his Flying V guitar infused with magical powers, and a customizable hot rod. In addition to Black, the game features voices of heavy metal musicians including Lemmy Kilmister, Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and other celebrities such as Tim Curry, as well as more than one hundred metal songs selected by Schafer for inclusion in the game.

As of 24 October 2009, Brütal Legend had sold 224,976 Xbox 360 Units and 145,734 PS3 units worldwide, bringing the total shipments to 370,710.[1]

Gameplay Edit

Brutal Legend Press Start

Brütal Legend is a third person action/adventure game that uses an open world that Tim Schafer has described as being approximately 64 square miles in area. The player controls the protagonist Eddie Riggs, a roadie who one day finds himself stuck in a fantasy heavy metal world. Eddie acquires three tools that are used for combat and transportation: a broad axe called The Separator, his Flying V guitar Clementine from his own world which has the ability to cast magic spells in the heavy metal world, and a hot rod that Eddie builds called the Deuce, a.k.a. "The Druid Plow". Upgrades to these tools are found about the world and can also be purchased using in-game currency called Fire Tributes at a Motor Forge.

These tools can be used in combination with each other to take out Eddie's foes; for example, the player can use Clementine to create pyrotechnics to knock a foe into the air and follow up with a baseball swing from the Separator to knock them away. Eddie cannot use the magic generated by Clementine constantly, as it will become too hot to play, and the player will have to wait for a cooldown period before using the guitar's power again.

The guitar is also able to create various other effects through special guitar solos that Eddie (and certain other characters) can perform. These are similar to the note-matching aspect of Guitar Hero or Rock Band, and can summon objects, damage enemies or strengthen allies, among other things.

There are reportedly about 23 main missions in the story with 30 side missions that the player can optionally take. The player will also be able to find real metal songs, selected by Schafer for the game, that can be played on the Deuce's radio, "The Mouth of Metal," with the user able to add or remove songs that they wish to hear.

Eddie-demon

During the game, the player will meet several allies for Eddie. Each ally will have a special co-op move they can perform with Eddie; for example, Eddie's first ally, Ophelia, can be tossed at foes by Eddie in the style of the 'Fastball Special'. Eddie is also able to control squads, and order them to perform certain tasks, such as having a group of Headbangers use their headbanging to destroy statues.

Eddie can create an army for attacks by tapping Fan Geysers, done by playing a special Fan Tribute guitar solo. A character called Mangus acts as the "sound guy" to help in the construction of these units. Once the player has collected their army, they can then seek out to attack their opponents using their army as minions or directly with the main character. Ultimately, Eddie transforms into a winged demon which the player can use to fly above the battlefields to issue orders or to lay out attacks.

The game has a multiplayer mode, which is described by Schafer as "your typical head-to-head, battle of the bands scenario. But with axes." The multiplayer modes are team-based and play out as a simplified real-time strategy game, including a four-on-four skirmish mode, and take place in special arenas outside of the single-player campaign. Each team selects from one of three factions which affect what resources and troops they can summon, and are tasked with defending their stage from attack by the other team. The three factions available include Ironheade, mostly human-based troops led by Eddie Riggs, Drowning Doom, with more mythological creatures led by Drowned Ophelia, and the Tainted Coil, evil creatures controlled by Doviculus. Each player controls a single main avatar who has the same abilities as in the main game for combat and magic spells and can also fly about the map, but also is in control of troops that they may summon from the team's shared resources (fans) as generated by fan geysers across the map. Different types of troops are available, costing various amounts of fans to summon, with the potential to upgrade to improved units through different routes. The number and types of troops that can be summoned is limited by a cap to prevent either team from becoming too overpowered. Nearly all of the troops can be engaged by the player to initiate various double team moves as with the single player game. The game can also be played by a single player with AI bots at one of five difficulty levels.

PlotEdit

See Brütal Campaign for a breakdown of every mission.

Brütal Legend follows the story of Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black and named after Eddie the Head, the mascot of Iron Maiden, and Derek Riggs, the artist who created Eddie), who is the world's best roadie for the world's worst heavy metal band. The game begins one night before a gig. As Riggs is tuning a guitar, an accident happens and he starts to bleed. His blood drips onto his cursed belt buckle, which is really an amulet for Ormagöden, "The Fire Beast, Cremator of the Sky, and Destroyer of the Ancient World." Ormagöden awakens and transports Eddie into a heavy metal and Nordic fantasy inspired alternate history where demons have enslaved humanity. Eddie comes to learn that the fantasy world was created by a race of ancient Titans who left behind numerous relics and instructions for the following generations to use, but neither humans nor demons could decipher their meanings. Only Eddie, due to his roadie skills, is able to make sense of their meanings and can put the Titans' wisdom to use. While Eddie is seen as the "chosen one," it is unclear whether he is the savior or the destroyer of the world.

OrmagodenArt

Eddie escapes the Temple of Ormagöden where he first arrives in the world. Eddie meets Ophelia, a love interest likened to the same character from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ophelia is soon severely injured and Riggs must climb a mystical mountain to do battle with a motorcycle-driving bass guitarist called the Kill Master (voiced by Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister). Eddie soon meets Lita Halford and her younger brother, Lars, who help Eddie and Ophelia start a resistance movement against Doviculus (voiced by Tim Curry), his glam metal minion, General Lionwhyte (voiced by Rob Halford), whose hair is so luscious he uses it to fly, and their legions of demons to free the world. Eddie will also encounter the local wildlife, including half-boar/half-motorcycle beasts called Razorfire Boars, a giant three-tongued lamprey, and giant chrome spiders that spin magical bass strings instead of spider webs.

After the first act of the game, Eddie deals with a community of humans who willingly fight alongside the demons. They wear black and "drink from a sea of black tears. It gives them great power but also makes them look dead." These enemies include Grave Diggers, Brides and Reapers.

In the game's first trailer, a demon tells Eddie that his belt buckle is a mask "forged from the steel flesh of the fire beast", and that it was meant for "a god, [not for you. Not for...] a roadie". Eddie then snaps the demon's neck and charges into battle with the Headbangers to the tunes of Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules". The trailer also shows that Eddie has the ability to sprout wings so he can fly. According to the Game Informer article, "his blood hides a dark secret and his wings are the proof."

DevelopmentEdit

“It is a historical fact that it began its life as an RTS game, inspired by Herzog Zwei. But then as we worked on it we simplified it, and simplified it, and focused it more and more on the player avatar and the combat. Every time we focused the gameplay on the action, it became more fun. The end result is something much more action-oriented, and I think, totally unique.” — Tim Schafer


Creator Tim Schafer has said that he has been a heavy metal music fan since high school, and roadies have long fascinated him. Schafer says: "The name was one of the very first things I thought of, over fifteen years ago. I was riding a bus, thinking about a game that would be the complete opposite of what we were working on, The Secret of Monkey Island. And Brütal Legend leapt into my head. I've been hanging on to that name ever since." The idea behind the game first came to Schafer about fifteen years prior to its release, but its core concepts did not completely come together until after the completion of Psychonauts; when he presented his idea for the game to the team, they became excited at the concept and decided to make that their next title.

Part of the game's inspiration came from the fantasy worlds that the lyrics and album covers of metal bands implied but rarely made it to music videos, thus allowing Brütal Legend to "fulfill the promise" of such lore. Schafer also credits a Megadeth roadie named Tony he once met as having given him the idea to make a game about a roadie, with the character of Eddie Riggs becoming a re-imagined version of him. Schafer had previously explored the idea of a roadie sent back in time with the character of Hoagie from Day of the Tentacle, but Brutal Legend represented an opportunity to expand on it further. The 2003 movie School of Rock also reminded Schafer of his idea for Brütal Legend, and made him more excited to publish it. Double Fine's philosophy on game development was also another reason for Brütal Legend's creation, as Schafer has stated that his team attempt to make each game radically different from the company's previous release, contrasting Brütal Legend to Psychonauts. Schafer stated that the commercial tie-ins of Brütal Legend, such as "hot babes and Jack Black", is due to this philosophy and not due to market pressures. Schafer was not concerned about the commercial success of Brütal Legend, as despite poor sales of Psychonauts, "as long as you make a cool game, publishers want to talk to you". When Schafer was pitching the game before 2006, he received feedback about changing the game's style to hip hop or country. He credits Harmonix Music Systems for helping to shift the gaming landscape through the release of the widely successful Guitar Hero with a soundtrack that heavily emphasized metal music; with the popularity of Guitar Hero, the metal approach in Brütal Legend was readily accepted.

Schafer has pointed out that there are music term inspired attacks, such as a "Face-Melting" guitar solo, which literally will melt the foe's faces off. Schafer has also commented that there will be a lot of Rock and Roll music references in the game, such as the term "Axe" for a guitar, which inspired Eddie Riggs' weapon, a literal axe. The metal/motorcyclist lifestyles and Norse mythology also inspired the game's open-world environments, such as amps carved into the face of a mountain, a forest where tires replace leaves, giant axes and swords piercing the ground, spandex covered temples, and mining facilities where human slaves excavated car and motorcycle parts. However, Schafer noted that they attempted to make sure that non-metal fans would be able to get the jokes as well.

The art style for the game was based on the work of Frank Frazetta and inspired by heavy metal and rock album covers. The team only considered the addition of elements to the artwork if they felt it would be something that could be seen on such covers. The setting includes hot rod-like engines that grow from the earth like a "V8 Truffle Of Speed", with design inspired by the designs of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. The art team wanted to avoid creating "another brown-gray game", and strove to use the wide color palettes that are associated with heavy metal art. Cut-scenes in the game will use the game's engine, though some pre-recorded scenes from the engine have also been prepared with the help of Tasha Harris, a former Pixar employee who helped to animate character's faces during cutscenes.

EddieRiggs-earlyconcept

The game features over 80 unique characters in addition to the main protagonist, Eddie Riggs. Initial designs for Riggs were modelled after Lemmy Kilmister, and though the model was changed, the signature vest, tour pass and cigarette of the character remained part of the character design. As they continued to develop the character, they began to add more aspects of Black's character, an "enthusiastic fan" of music, from School of Rock. Ultimately, Riggs' design became to be half Jack Black and half Glenn Danzig, but the team had not planned on having Jack Black voice the character. After learning that Black was a fan of Schafer's previous game, Psychonauts, they met with the actor/musician and recognized he was an avid gamer and understood all the choices the team made in the game, and subsequently signed on for the voice work. The art team was then able to use videos of Black's performances to add additional features to the character, such as "all his crazy eyebrow stuff he does".

General Lionwhyte, who has "fabulous hair", and his minions are based on the glam metal fad of the 1980s which displaced heavy metal to the disappointment of Schafer and other development team members, and became the opponents of the game. To help create a more mature game with concepts that could be used to pitch the game, the art team created several factions that represented different parts of the heavy metal experience. Each faction had their own "exaggerated, simplified shapes and strong silhouettes" as to help distinguish each faction while also reducing the development costs. Inspirations for such factions include Nordic imagery, goth metal, and the artwork of Hieronymus Bosch. Additional characters include Headbangers, Grave Diggers, and Battle Nuns. As the game features over two hours of spoken dialog, the art team wants to make the characters' faces and performances stand out, creating "clean, easy-to-read faces". The team had to change from their initial cartoony textures into more detailed ones that stood on on high-definition displays while exaggerating other features of the characters.

In addition to Black and Lemmy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford, The Runaways' Lita Ford, and Ozzy Osbourne provide character voices. Though Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath had performed parts for the game, his role was replaced with voice work from Tim Curry. While the change was speculated to be due to tense issues between Osbourne and Dio, Schafer noted that as Dio's intended character, "Doviculus, Emperor of the Tainted Coil", grew, they found that Curry fit the role better for the part, citing Curry's role of the Lord of Darkness in the film Legend as a key factor. Obtaining the voice work of the metal artists were also unexpected. This led to some comedic and confusing voice recording sessions; both Lita Ford and Rob Halford had amusing difficulties with lines involving a character named "Lita Halford". Schafer stated that while he could not confirm what other musicians and bands would be in the game, there would be more than already stated, and that these musicians would be "especially conducive to character creation" due to the amount of theatrics used in their concert shows. Kyle Gass, Black's collaborator with Tenacious D, voices a neurotic cannon operator in the game. David Sobolov has also been confirmed as a voice actor for other roles in the game; Sobolov noted that he recorded his lines separate from Black's despite his characters' having direct interaction with Riggs. Comedians Steve Agee and Brian Posehn have also provided voice work for the game; Posehn had previously worked with Schafer on their high school newspaper.

The development of the game started with the multiplayer element, given that no previous game from Double Fine had included this feature, and was the highest risk element to the game. This was followed by the "streaming world", also an element the team had no prior experience with. Schafer has stated that the development team tried to figure out how guitar controllers from Guitar Hero or Rock Band could be used with the game, but determine there was no good way for players to switch from a standard controller to the guitar controller and back, and thus have "no plans" to include support for these controllers in the game. Schafer also mentioned they had "something awesome" planned for downloadable content for the game after release. Players who preordered the game through GameStop were able unlock a special promotional in-game guitar designed in conjunction with Black's band Tenacious D, including voices provided by both Black and Kyle Gass.

The game, despite being rated "Mature" by the ESRB, includes two optional filters for content. The first filter is one for profanity, which "bleeps" out words and masks such on screen using the Parents Music Resource Center "Parental Advisory" label, a factor that Schafer considered to be part of the history of heavy metal. Schafer noted that while the script did not include much profanity, actors like Ozzy Osbourne introduced more into their parts, and will be filtered through this option. The second filter reduces the amount of gore, preventing any dismemberment and disabling blood in the game. Schafer stated the filters were added to the game in consideration of older players that may not wish to see such aspects, or for parents who opt to play the game with younger children.

According to Schafer, Brütal Legend was in development since 2005, prior to the completion of Psychonauts.

During the period when Brütal Legend's fate was unclear, Schafer was not able to talk about the project to avoid causing problems with any potential business deals, until EA Partners picked up the game for its 2009 release during December 2008. However, even when the fate of the publication of the game was unsure, the team continued to work on its development. EA CEO John Riccitiello, when asked about EA picking up Brütal Legend for distribution prior to December 2008, commented that "Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products."

When rumors of a possible Wii port arose in March 2009, Schafer stated that "We are making an Xbox 360 and a PS3 version of Brütal Legend." However, according to Ben Fritz at Variety, another studio has been engaged by Electronic Arts to bring the game to the Wii, albeit at a later date than the other console versions, suggesting that it may follow the same model as Dead Space: Extraction, a Wii title scheduled to be released about a year after Dead Space's first release. However, further industry rumors, which claimed that the Wii version was being done by Electronic Arts in-house, have stated that the effort to port the game to the Wii has been cancelled due to quality and technical concerns.

PC Version Edit

Brutal Legend PC

A PC port of Brütal Legend was announced on February 13, 2013. This version of the game included some minor tweeks to the performance of the game such as Higher quality Anti-Aliasing & longer render distance. Those who pre-purchased were given access to the multiplayer beta, along with two Team Fortress 2 items. In addition, all of the DLC, Tears of the Hextadon, Hammer of Infinite Fate, and The Love Giver, are included. The game was released February 26th, 2013.

SoundtrackEdit

Main article: Soundtrack

Brütal Legend features 108 heavy metal tracks from 75 different bands, selected by Schafer as listed below, each song being a "completely sincere choice" by Schafer, with the whole track list being "designed to be loved by Metal fans." Schafer sought to include songs from every sub-genre of metal, including classic heavy metal, industrial metal, and doom metal, with each faction in the game favoring a specific type. Though Schafer and others on the Double Fine team had vast knowledge of specific types of metal, they turned to a used-CD store owner named Alan who had "encyclopaedic knowledge" of the entire genre, and who provided the team with sample CDs to help them select the music. Schafer also credits Black with some of the music selections for the game.

Tim Schafer's long term collaborator Peter McConnell is also involved in the soundtrack. McConnell arranged orchestrated pieces inspired by heavy metal to help tie in with the licensed music in the game.

The song "The Mob Rules" by Black Sabbath was used in the first trailer for the game and "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe in the first story trailer for the game. and the songs "The Hellion", "Screaming for Vengeance", and "Leather Rebel" by Judas Priest are used on Brütal Legend's website. "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head was used on the E3 2009 trailer. In a recent 17 minute trailer with commentary from Tim Schafer, Motörhead's song "Back at the Funny Farm" and "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath was played over one scene in the first mission. Also at the end of a few trailers "Pure Evil" by Iced Earth is heard playing.

While Schafer would like to have a soundtrack album for the game, he stated that there were already difficulties in securing the licenses for songs within the game and not sure if it would be possible to extend them to a soundtrack.

External linksEdit

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original material was at Brütal Legend.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Brutal Legend Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

ReferencesEdit

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