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Big Willy Unleashed - developer diary

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Side missions, on the other hand (or "odd jobs" as they are called in Destroy All Humans), can be played in any order once unlocked. But each has objectives where the player interacts with certain characters or vehicles, and not on a grand scale with major buildings or locations.

Also, as you play the story missions for each invasion site, you’ll notice elements being added to the world as the game gradually sets up a future mission. So, after the first mission of an invasion site, you might see people in the ball field engaged in a picnic, but after the fourth mission, workmen are setting up PA equipment for an outdoor press rally on the same ball field. And this is being done because the PA system is important to mission five.

This gives each invasion site an organic feel because events seem to be unfolding. But it also required the designers to plan very carefully for what the invasion site would look like between each story mission. As you can imagine, the design team had to be quite organized; to carefully document game flow and progress, and to fully flesh out any alternatives that might be needed.

So, there you have it. One of our top secret design methods exposed for the first time, right here!

Research

The previous games offered upgrades to weapons, equipment and abilities through the use of PoxMart, a kind of vend-o-matic interface where the player could spend DNA and power cells to buy upgrades. Many have found this upgrade system a little confusing, mostly because the player has no way of knowing what’s coming up in a future mission, and therefore can’t make an informed choice on which upgrade to purchase.

Never fear, for the designers of Big Willy Unleashed have come to your aid and have created a fresh approach for how upgrades are achieved. First, there’s no more "buying" interface. Instead, upgrades occur automatically. Ah, modern technology…

In addition, upgrades are linked to other activities and accomplishments. For example, to upgrade Crypto’s mental power of hypnosis, you must first retrieve 450 brain stems, collect 17 energy cells and have a total cumulative time while body-snatched of at least three minutes and thirty seconds. This gives you an incentive to do more than just complete the missions. Rather, you now have a reason, no… a duty to roam freely and destroy all humans at your leisure.

There may be some naysayers who prefer PoxMart to our research interface; and who knows – PoxMart may return in a different form in a future installment. But in scientific double-blind tests conducted by actual scientists, real world players prefer optimized features (like our research system) over the a la carte offering that is "so sixties."

Feb 21, 2008

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