Interviews

Gameloft on how iOS shooter 9mm channels Machiavelli and Scarface

Law enforcers turn law breakers on the mean streets of California

Gameloft on how iOS shooter 9mm channels Machiavelli and Scarface
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| 9mm

At E3, we had some hands-on time with Gameloft's upcoming 9mm, a tough cop story on the iPhone. Its Max Payne-inspired action, dark atmosphere, and copious law-breaking definitely piqued our interest.

We sat down with 9mm's executive producer Arnaud Bonnard to find out what inspired the title, how much control players have over the storyline, and the main feature he would add to the next 9mm.

Pocket Gamer: How long did your team work on the game?

Arnaud Bonnard: We've been working on 9mm for about one year.

Tell us about the story of 9mm.

The story takes place in the poor suburbs of California where gangs are very active. You play as John "Loose" Kannon, a cop determined to do the best job he can.

You're in your car when you're informed of gunshots coming from a house around the neighbourhood. You decide to go and check while the rest of your squad arrives.

The place turns out to be a crack house held by a Latino gang, in which you find loads of drugs and lots of money. The squad decides to take the money and give the drugs back to the police. It's both personal (to help their respective families) and professional (to pay off informers among other things).

What crime movie had the single biggest influence on the game?

There was no one dominant movie actually, but, yes, we're all fond of cinema and we wanted to build a special atmosphere in 9mm.

People talked about Training Day after seeing our trailers. Of course, it's a movie we all like, but we also had lots of other movies in mind like The Departed and We Own the Night.

We even gained inspiration from old classics such as Scarface. For this game, we really wanted to build our own storyline without people comparing it to a specific movie or game.

The hero and his fellow cops decide to steal money from a drug bust: sounds like a recipe for disaster. We're assuming some double crosses will take place?

Yes, a disaster that creates fun situations for our players!

As we started to talk about in the previous question, we didn't want a Manichean plot - one where good and evil are clearly defined. This story is more in line with the ideals presented in Machiavelli's The Prince, wherein he spoke of using all the means you can to reach your goal.

Are there multiple paths the player can take through the game or is the focus on telling one solid narrative?

We focused on a single storyline so we could deliver the best narration, atmosphere, and immersion possible.

Was there any concern that the heavy visuals and intense action would be too much for the mobile audience? How do you balance it differently from, say, a console game?

On iOS, we'e far closer to console-quality content than we were on the traditional mobile market. Our goal was really to create an adult setting and then have fun with it.

About how many laws can we expect to break (in the game) before beating 9mm?

Haha! Our legal department is still counting that. But remember Machiavelli: "Protect what is right - by any means necessary."

GangStar has quite a legacy. How did you guys aim to differentiate 9mm from that other gritty Gameloft series?

It was really not in our mind during the development. The scope of each game is completely different, as is the gameplay.

GangStar is a sandbox game, an open world where you can drive vehicles. 9mm is a pure shooter in terms of level design, where we know the progression order. There's no way either game will give you the same feeling as the other.

We're really curious about the ten-way multiplayer. How many weapons, modes, and levels will be available?

I can't give you more details for the moment. You will know more in a few weeks.

And what can we expect as far as downloadable content is concerned?

It is too early to talk about DLC.

Finally, if you do produce a 9mm sequel, what will you ideally add?

Hmm…I have several features in mind, but I'd definitely like to add in some cool co-op missions!

9mm will be out on the iPhone later this summer.

Thanks to Arnaud for his time.

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