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Duck Amuck Interview

by Jonathan Metts - October 17, 2007, 9:22 pm PDT

Learn more about this odd and alluring DS game in our interview with one of the game's producers.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is new to the gaming scene, at least since the company has started to produce and publish its own games rather than simply license out WB properties to other companies. Despite their inexperience, the company has earned a lot of attention for Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck, an existential DS game in which you play the role of the antagonizing animator from the classic episode. We had a lot of questions about this very unusual WayForward Technologies-developed title, and luckily, we got some answers from Nathan Whitman, Associate Producer for the game at Warner Bros.

NWR: How was the Duck Amuck game concept realized? Who pitched the idea? The cartoon episode seems perfect for a DS game.

Nathan Whitman: When poised with the opportunity to do a companion handheld title to Looney Tunes: ACME Arsenal, we began combing the Looney Tunes archives for ideas. Working closely with the developer WayForward, we narrowed

down our concepts to two and took them into preproduction. At the end of

preproduction phase we had two prototypes and one choice to make. As you

may have guessed, there was a clear choice - Daffy starring in a

contemporary adaptation of the classic 1953 short Duck Amuck!

Our goal was to develop a game that would take full advantage of all the

technological advances available for the DS, and Duck Amuck was the

perfect fit.

NWR: How do the companies involved collaborate to capture the Looney Tunes spirit in a video game (such as references, script, etc.)?

NW: Video games are always a collaborative effort. When starting an endeavor

such as this, it always helps to have an amazing developer and the deep

resources and commitment of a studio such as Warner Bros.

This being the first Looney Tunes video game that Warner Bros.

Interactive Entertainment developed and published on our own, we worked

closely within Warner Bros. and with our developer to make this game

happen. We worked with Warner Bros. Animation and the animation archives

to nail down the classic look and feel of vintage Daffy Duck, going so

far as using the original model sheets from the original cartoon.

NWR: Do any other characters make appearances in the game?

NW: Absolutely, but of course, Daffy is the true star of the show. This is

his first lead role in a video game, so he is extra proud of that fact.

He has no plans to share the spotlight with anybody, but we did manage to

get in some cameos with Marvin the Martian, Cecil Turtle and, of course,

Bugs Bunny.

NWR: Does the game venture into surrealism and abstraction, as the short

did? So far, all of the screens seem within context.

NW: To a certain degree we did. We achieved this by taking an unconventional

approach to the level structure of the game. We don't use a traditional,

linear level arrangement. Duck Amuck's core is built around concept

discovery and interactions with Daffy. Part of the game is finding the

actual games themselves!

NWR: In what ways is the development team trying to distance the game from

other recent handheld mini/variety games? (Wario Ware comes to mind.)

NW: While Wario Ware is a great collection of mini-games, it's just that, a

collection of mini-games. When we set out to do Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck,

we wanted to bring personality and humor to the title – humor that only

antagonizing Daffy Duck can bring. We wanted to take the genre to the

next level while doing something that has never been done, incorporating

an interactive cartoon to tie everything together in one cohesive

package.

We wanted the player to feel that they had a living breathing Daffy in

their pocket. I think that separates it amongst the games already out

there.

NWR: Was it difficult to convince Nintendo to let you turn off sleep mode

for the audio-only portions?

NW: We wanted to push the envelope of what could be done with the platform,

and Nintendo was supportive of that. They were very receptive to our

ideas and allowed us freedom to be creative.

NWR: Can you describe the multiplayer mode?

NW: Sure! Players can go head to head to compete in a number of challenges,

such as Volley Folly, which is a wacky game of tennis where Daffy does

his best to interrupt the match. Players can also take Daffy Divided for

a spin; essentially the goal is to see who can slice Daffy in half the

most in a preset time limit.

NWR: Taking a single cartoon for inspiration is a unique idea… are there any plans for other similar Looney Tunes shorts?

NW: Personally, I'd love to see Rabbit Rampage developed into a game. You

may remember that Rabbit Rampage was the classic Chuck Jones follow up to

Duck Amuck that starred Bugs Bunny as the tormented lead character. That

said, we are always looking for the next big concept, and with Warner

Bros.' vast catalog of animated shorts, anything is possible!

Thanks to Nathan Whitman for participating. Interview conducted by NWR staff.

Discuss it in Talkback!

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