Game Development Reference
every line has to be appropriate no matter which of the multiple paths through this
game the player takes. In development, we wrote 3
17+ responses for six different
games with different attributes, and each line actually made sense.
For anyone familiar with boxing, or at least the pre-fight media events that are
such an occasion in the sport, they will be less puzzled by what the trash-talk games
comprised. The original intention was to have six of these, but that got reduced over
the course of development. Each game comprised five exchanges, allowing players
to match button configurations on screen (think Dance Dance Revolution with your
fingers) and by getting them right to score some morale points over their opponent
(which have an impact on the ensuing fight). Players can try to match the standard
button configurations for a Normal Response, or they can gamble and go for the
faster, more difficult configurations for a Good Response. If they fail at either, they
deliver the Bad Response, and they find themselves on the receiving end of the battle
Table 8.2 shows the first exchange of one of the trash-talk games (as it was written
during development, not as it necessarily finally made it into the game).
Media games are very simple games that offer players a choice: to raise their public
profile by doing things like ads, or to hit the gym. Raising their profile has certain
benefits in the ring—increased support from the crowd, which has a real impact on
the players' “morale.” But then again, hitting the gym has benefits too. And the
players must decide which benefit they most need and which one they can most do
without. These games can also allow players the opportunity to conduct pre-fight
media workouts. These are similar to the training games (hitting the correct button
configuration combinations)—if you get them right, you get a boost to your morale
in the ring. Get them wrong and that morale takes a dip.
Promoter links and agent advice dovetail into the broader story, making the char-
acters feel more alive and a greater part of your life as a boxer. In these scripts, the
promoter encourages, cajoles, criticizes, or instructs the player, telling him which
fighters he'll face next, or how many of a batch of fighters he needs to defeat to
progress. Agent messages are related to the media games, in so far as the media games
are fed to you by your agent, and the messages you get from your agent give you a
sense of how your career is progressing and how the wider world is becoming increas-
ingly aware of you (or not).
In addition to all these elements, and the complexity of some of them, there is a
story in this boxing game, and even this is not as straightforward as you might expect.
Early on in development, it was far from certain that the story would follow
a rags-to-riches model. Matthew Seymour, 2K's Executive Producer, had spent a
number of months wrestling with this issue prior to The Mustard Corporation's in-
volvement, looking for viable alternatives. It was only after a number of different
approaches were experimented with, with a variety of outlines and treatments and
many further discussions, that it was felt that a rags-to-riches story was definitely the
way to go.