In an interview with MTV Multiplayer, the producer for the new "Boom Blox Bash Party," talks about new features, unpopular features, movie possibilities and how to get the most out of Steven Spielberg. Oh… and a lack of Friend Codes.
The second "Boom Blox" game for the Wii was conceived as soon as the first one was made, the game's producer Amir Rahimi told MTV Multiplayer during a briefing about the game yesterday.
Credit the man who first thought up "Boom Blox," Steven Spielberg, for the quick turnaround.
"As the original 'Boom Blox' was drawing to a close and we had to put it into a box, Steven kept coming in and meeting with us," Rahimi said. "There was so much enthusiasm and rolling into new ideas that I could hardly stop them from doing a sequel."
Thus, "Boom Blox Bash Party," the Spring 2009 Wii-only sequel. Like its predecessor it is a game full of hundreds of levels, each consisting of stacks of blocks that need to be pulled, smashed, knocked into or otherwise toppled with swings of the Wii remote. Some blocks have special qualities, like being explosive or acidic. Some player moves are more potent in knocking the blocks down, like throwing bowling balls at the blocks or yanking at them with a little hand. Most levels are puzzles and all are designed to be played with friends.
The biggest addition to the sequel may be the ability to share levels online, something Rahimi said Spielberg had been asking for. The system does not use Nintendo Friend Codes, allowing any Internet-connected Wii owner to download and upload levels through EA's servers. Users will be able to download, rate, remix and upload levels. "With the push of one button, you can send [a level you create] to EA and we will broadcast it to the world," Rahimi said.
While Spielberg is both the originator of "Boom Blox" and a collaborator on the development of the original game as well as the sequel, he's not quite had his name on any one level of the game. During my interview with Rahimi I suggested that if I can use "Boom Blox Bash Party" to create hopefully-popular levels for other players to download, so could celebrities … like Spielberg. "I should talk to him next time I see him about it," Rahimi said. He's seeing the director within the next week. Consider the request scheduled. But even if Spielberg doesn't make a level, Rahimi said EA will offer levels to download on day one.
The new move Rahimi is most excited about for "Bash Party" is a slingshot effect. He said players will be able to use the Wii remote to grab any object on the screen, pull it back, let go and see it fly. On the other hand, there's one move from the original game that won't be used as much: "The least favorite mechanic in the first game, the shooting, has taken a backseat in the sequel."
The first "Boom Blox" was a laboratory for exploration for EA. The experiments included at least one feature that was discussed but cut from the game: a head-tracking mode involving a Wii remote tracking the player's head-movements. That mode remains excluded from the sequel. Also not in "Bash Party" is MotionPlus integration. Even though Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus add-on will ship this spring, Rahimi said that his team didn't get the development hardware in time to integrate it into "Bash Party."
What the game will have is 400 new levels, nothing recycled from the original game as well as new environments (space and underwater) as well as new block shapes (cylinders and ramps) and an integration of the first game's characters as blocks themselves.
And with all this foundation laid, the bricks built and Spielberg involved in the game, I asked if there could be a "Boom Blox" movie coming out of all this. "He actually has expressed interest in it at different times, but it's not something we're discussing at the time," Rahimi said. An EA spokesperson later clarified that the company has no plans for an "Boom Blox" movie and that the idea is strictly a brainstorm.
"Boom Blox Bash Party" ships this spring for the Wii. It's coming soon, with EA hoping that this time out, Steven Spielberg's "Boom Blox" can be referred to not just as a cult favorite but as Steven Spielberg's Blockbuster.
(Credit me when you change the name, EA.)