Interviews

Kameo Elements of Power

Rare's George Andreas fills us in on some of the key details on the development of the flagship fantasy morph-a-thon

Kameo: Elements of Power looks like being the Xbox 360's answer to Zelda and the classic Oddworld series and is now roaring towards release alongside the console when it debuts on these shores on December 2.

Microsoft has taken a lot of stick for its acquisition of Rare, but it's a purchase which now appears to be bearing some significant fruit in the form of Kameo itself and of course Perfect Dark Zero, another key launch title.

Our brothers in arms over at OXM.co.uk, the site of the official Xbox 360 Magazine (second issue out on Nov 18th incidentally with a cornucopia of 360 goodies) recently managed to catch up with Rare's George Andreas, and we've - ahem - borrowed a few select snippets for you to check out below.

You can read the full unexpurgated interview here and be sure to check back with OXM before the end of this week when they'll have another interview with Rare's Perfect Dark Zero team.

Okay take it away George...

Kameo's had a very long development period and it's been around a few different machines. How does it feel now to finally be settled on a machine and almost finished with the game?

George Andreas: I think we're all very happy that it's coming to a close and that we're getting closure on Kameo. For me especially, I've been working on Kameo since the very beginning so it's almost like reaching the end of a chapter. I'm not even sure what I'm going to do once it's done - I can't remember life without Kameo! So it's a bit bizarre, but it's a very fulfilling feeling.

Has it been a tough process?

George Andreas: Tough for various reasons, but kind of euphoric for other reasons. I think the main problem we've faced is moving from machine to machine. It's never easy to have the goalposts moved so that hasn't been the best. But we've overcome those obstacles and we feel like we've finally found our home on Xbox 360. Kameo is also the first game Rare has ever launched with a console, so we feel like we're in a very privileged position because of that.

We remember playing a near-finished version of Kameo on the Xbox about a year-and-a-half ago. At what point in the production process was the decision made to move onto Xbox 360?

George Andreas: We were about 80% complete on the Xbox version before we moved onto Xbox 360. I've seen a lot of the stuff on the internet, people saying Kameo was complete on Xbox and ready to go, but take it from me - it wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination. The decision was made by Microsoft and ourselves, and it wasn't rocket science. We looked at the situation and said, "if we release Kameo on the Xbox it's going to be overlooked by this far older demographic that the Xbox has". That's not to say it was Kameo's fault, it was just a matter of the Xbox demographic. Now, Microsoft is very interested in broadening its gaming demographic and reaching all sorts of different ages, so Kameo on Xbox 360 was a very simple decision.

Did the suggestion to move to Xbox 360 take you by surprise at first?

George Andreas: The first day it was 'suggested' to us - and I mean suggested in inverted commas - we were like, "hmmm, we're pretty close to being finished..." Our immediate reaction wasn't fantastic, but almost immediately after that we sat down with the project leads from the team, digested the information, and decided it was the best idea.

It must have been particularly nice to know you'd have all that extra power to play with?

George Andreas: Yeah, definitely. There's one particular section we call the Badlands. It's the huge battlefield area with all the trolls and everything kicking off. That was always on the drawing boards for Kameo but we had to can it very quickly because it just wasn't possible on current-gen. As soon as we heard we were moving onto 360 it was the first thing we got out of the design drawer, knocked it up, and got it back into the game.

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