Interview with Adam Urbano, Senior Producer of Injustice: Gods Among Us

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With Injustice: Gods Among Us due for release on April 16th, Gamer Living’s Jack Moulder and Ben Bousada paid a visit to Toronto’s famous Distillery District to sit down with Adam Urbano, Senior Producer on the game.  Jack and Ben found out just how difficult it is to pick a fair fight when it comes to superheroes, how to ensure gamers don’t gravitate towards DC Comics’ most famous characters, and exactly why wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes during your formative years perhaps isn’t the best idea – even if you are mimicking a superhero!

Ben Bousada: How is the game related to the – I know there’s a series of comic books being released, what’s the connection between them?

Adam Urbano: So we did this multi-hour story campaign that tells – well, it starts with Metropolis being destroyed by a nuclear bomb – that tells that story. The comic book written by DC – they took our input and that’s the prequel to those events – so that ties in with it really well.  And it’s just a cool comic. Plus, seeing your game in comic book form, that’s kinda like one of those check box things and it’s cool.

Jack Moulder: So what do you feel the DC licence brings to the fighting genre itself?

Adam Urbano: Yeah, so DC basically gives us this amazing roster of characters that people know and love, so we don’t have to establish new characters or create characters from scratch that people might not know because we have Superman and Batman. It’s the coolest thing in the world to take childhood favourite characters and be able to do without any of that – the origins – that’s awesome.

Jack Moulder: So, you mentioned Superman and Batman. What does the game do to sort of draw people away from just playing as Superman or Batman, because obviously a lot of people are going to play the game to play as those two characters.

Adam Urbano: The main mode that people are going to go into first, it’s the first menu item, is Story mode – they’re going to play story. So like I mentioned, it’s this multi-hour campaign, but during that campaign you’re going to play as most of the fighters on the roster, so you’re gonna get a chance to see why Aquaman is actually awesome, instead of just jumping immediately to Superman like we’d expect them to. So that’s one of the key ways we draw them out.

Jack Moulder: And how difficult did you find it to balance the various characters’ superpowers, because like Superman has all these awesome god-like powers, whereas Batman uses gadgets, stuff like that, other characters have super strength, those sort of things, so how did you balance those?

Adam Urbano: Years and years of hard work. We’ve been working on this game for at least two years and our designers, that’s their core job. Our design team is twice the size it was on Mortal Kombat, and their focus is just coming up with cool powers and moves and balancing them so that they play fairly against each other. This game has a wrinkle in that the backgrounds themselves can be used as interactive objects, so you can grab cars, you have different characters can use different things in different ways, so that’s like, seventeen dimensions to balance. It’s a challenge, but they did a great job.

Jack Moulder: What are you most excited about with the game itself? Is there anything in particular that you like playing in the game?

Adam Urbano: Yeah, there are a few things but I’ll stick to one. So there’s something called S.T.A.R. Lab simulators, which we announced. Mortal Kombat had this – we called it Challenge Tower, which is just 200 missions that change the fighting game experience, tweaked it a little. This time we went all in, so S.T.A.R. Labs has hundreds and hundreds of missions, each one part of a story arc for each character. So Batman has a chapter of missions, Superman has a chapter of missions. And what you do in those missions is crazy. So not only is there typical fighting and twists on fighting, but there’s some missions for characters where you’re flying in a top-down view shooter, there’s an arcade shooter, there’s a third-person adventure game.  There’s missions that do everything, and you can – if  you choose –you can one-star, two-star, three-star the missions, which gives added depth, so you can try different things out. I’m personally amazed with what we’ve done with that. There’s a hundred hours’ worth of content in those, and just stuff people aren’t expecting.  There’s a top-down shooter, no-one expects that. It’s a big deal. It’s a fun diversion to give people value.

Ben Bousada: Just to broaden out their gameplay experience.

Adam Urbano: Yeah.

Ben Bousada: Cool. Just one last quick one, who are you going to be playing as, when the game comes out?

Adam Urbano: This is an embarrassing answer. The cool answer would be like, Solomon Grundy or Doomsday or somebody people don’t necessarily know. That’s the cool answer. But my answer’s Superman; the reason being, I was Superman for the first 13 Halloweens. I remember being aged four or five and going to school and getting picked on for having my underwear on the outside, ‘cause that’s what Superman kind of has! So, I’m going to use Superman. I’m a total geek, so he’s gonna be my guy.

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