Cam Weber is rightly dubbed the Scarface supremo over at Radical Entertainment. Having worked on The Simpsons: Hit and Run and Road Rage, Scarface presents something of a departure for Weber, but here he reveals all on how Radical got involved, how Montana's character shaped the gameplay and how Al Pacino demanded the game would be totally authentic to his iconic big screen f***in' creation. Take it away Cam...
How did you end up working on the Scarface game?
Myself and my team had actually been working on an original property for about a year. We were shopping the game around and Vivendi took a look at the playable demo we had - it was kind of an openworld format with driving and shooting gameplay. They really liked what they saw and they kind of said 'rather than working on this original property we actually have Scarface available', and I jumped all over it because I'm a huge fan of the movie. I brought it to the team and when we had to actually cancel the original property and move onto Scarface, the whole team cheered.
This is becoming an increasingly crowded genre. What makes Scarface unique from the likes of GTA and Godfather?
First and foremost, in this genre I think there are a lot of characters who are basically generic thugs. What we've done is taken this character of Tony Montana who is like a cultural icon, and we let you be Tony. We put Tony in a lot of situations - drug deals, intimidations, fast-talking cops. During development, we wrote on the wall all over the place 'Be Tony f***ing Montana' - and that's what this game is all about.
How exactly did Tony's character shape the gameplay?
In being Tony 'f***ing' Montana we designed a combat system that brought his personality in - Blind Rage, for example, was inspired from when Tony loses his temper in the movie. Taunting is a major part of the combat gameplay as well; you're constantly firing and hitting your taunt button so that Tony belts out his lines. Enemies will cower from Tony's taunts and you can draw them out from cover.
How are you going about recreating Miami for Scarface?
A lot of games in this genre have gridlike city environments, so we wanted to give you more than that. We built up this area with four turfs in Miami that you can take over, then there's the harbour so there's a lot of boating too. We've also got smuggling gameplay in this chain of islands loosely based on the Bahamas. It's funny because The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker was a game that came out very early in our project, and that was a bit of an inspiration for the kind of open-world, island-to-island environment.
The game has an impressive list of voice talent. Which are your favourite voices in the game?
We've got a ton of celebrity voice actors - over 50. It was actually quite easy to get a lot of these guys - they were all quite excited and really wanted to be a part of the Scarface project. Some of my favourites are just some of the cool, funny characters in our world. Jay Mohr did a great job of a few of our funny characters: Al Israel, - who was the Columbian drug dealer in the chainsaw scene in the movie - we brought him back and he was great. All of those guys brought rich, entertaining and humorous performances to their characters.
What about Tony? How did you find a voice for him?
We went through 78 different professional voice actors who all thought they were amazing Tony Montana impersonators and we really narrowed it down to the top three - but one guy was by far and away the best. We sent the top three to Al Pacino and he hand-picked the one. It turns out that he's actually done some work with this guy in the past, so he was quite happy with that.
Did Al Pacino have any other influence on the game?
He really wanted to make sure that this product was going to be true to the Scarface licence, and especially true to the character of Tony Montana. He was adamant that we follow a set of rules with this character, and one of them was from the line in the movie: "Tony never f***ed over anyone who didn't have it coming to 'em..." You can't shoot innocent civilians walking down the street or do anything to harm someone who isn't going against you. That's one way he really influenced the gameplay.