Publisher: Electronic Arts Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Expected Release Date: October 16th 2009
At the start of his presentation, Double Fine founder and ex-Lucasarts legend Tim Schafer says he’s been wanting to make this game ever since he was 14 years old and he bought his first heavy metal album.
He says he can clearly recall laying eyes on the cover art, which was all fires and demons and epic warriors on motorbikes, and thinking it would be a lot of fun to base a game on that. He says that meeting a roadie for Megadeth a few years later (someone who was the inspiration for Day of the Tentacle’s Hoagie character) further convinced him that a game based on heavy metal mythology would be totally awesome.
Decades later, it turns out that Tim Schafer wasn’t wrong; Brütal Legend indeed looks to be as awesome as the young Schafer hoped.
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Stepping away from the adventure game genre that first bought a younger Schafer to the attention of gamers everywhere, Brütal Legend is a third-person action game in a similar vein to Double Fine’s previous game, Psychonauts – albeit one that’s not as distinctly crazed as Psychonauts. While the enemies, levels and characters are still as fiercely unique as you’d expect from the creator of Grim Fandango, they aren’t quite as abstract and personal in their design and spotting the inspiration and influence is where a lot of the humour derives from.
Our glimpse of Brütal Legend began at the very start of the game, where protagonist Eddie Riggs is first introduced to the audience as the best roadie in the world, working for the worst heavy metal band. The actual intro cutscene for the game hadn’t yet been finalised however and was instead narrated to us by Tim Schafer while the first levels loaded. Tim carefully described how an on-stage accident left Eddie crushed under some scaffolding, blood pouring into a belt buckle that, unbeknownst to him, is laced with black magic.
Eddie loses consciousness. When he wakes up he finds himself in a world where humanity has been enslaved by a race of demons and where the only hope for the future of the race is a man with long blond hair and a leather waistcoat. You’d think Eddie would be disturbed, confused and desperate to get back home, but he isn’t. From the moment he picks up a guitar that can shoot lightning and realises that he can use the power of heavy metal to unite humanity he recognises this new world for what it really is – awesome.
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And really, wouldn’t any of us think the same? In his old world Eddie was an unappreciated lackey for a bunch of talentless flukes who could barely play the perfectly tuned instruments Eddie provided. In the land of Bladehenge Eddie is hailed as a messenger of the fire god Ormagöden, has a pimp new ride and is not only allowed but actively encouraged to chop sexy-looking demons up with a huge axe. Plus, nobody has heard any of his jokes before either – even that rude one about Johnny Rotten!
Eddie isn’t even disappointed when he learns that the human resistance consists of only three people. Instead he declares that he can get them organised using his skills as a roadie and, while long-haired Lars is still the frontman of the rebellion, Eddie is the one who makes uprising a reality. He gathers fans for the fledging Ironheade army, builds and tunes their weapons and quickly sets them up with a bus with which to begin their tour of destruction against the demon king, Doviculus.
Oh, and along the way he also gets a chance to cut up endless demon hordes, race his newly-built car called The Druid Plow and fall in love with the sexiest heavy metal fan you’ll ever see, Ophelia.