Is Mega Man, Capcom's fallen blue mascot, truly dead: I certainly believe so. The fan game community however, does not seem to share my sentiments. So, I took it upon myself to reach out to the fans, to those who are doing their absolute best to honor the Blue Bomber in the most remarkable ways imaginable – in particular, an ambitious fan game project titled Tuttle's Legendary Travels.
Tuttle's Legendary Travels is a Mega Man Legends fan game based on the eponymous character who you may recognize from Legends prequel/spin-off, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Blyka and fAB, lead developers on the inspired project, specifically on the game's development, their thoughts on Capcom, and the state of the Mega Man franchise today.
Games Abyss: Tell us about the TLT team. What has the development process been like?
f & B: The two of us are brothers living at the same residence, which is an extreme benefit to us as the project leaders since we can constantly discuss all aspects of the project and share our progress immediately. With additional team members we correspond by email so it's naturally a slower feedback process, but nothing about TLT requires anyone to rush so it's not a problem. We all take the project at our own pace.
Games Abyss: Tuttle's Legendary Travels originally began as a 2D title known as Tuttle's Little 5-Island Adventure; what prompted the project's overhaul? What sort of challenges has the team encountered as a result of the 2D-to-3D shift?
f & B: There were many factors involved, but it really came down to our shared desire to move our careers down the path of 3D software development. Once we made that decision, bringing Tuttle along for the ride was only natural since we had long been discussing how the 2D puzzle nature of the project was restricting everything we wanted to do with it.
Blyka: My shift from 2D to 3D has actually been a pretty bumpy ride. I had 7+ years of Game Maker programming behind me when I dove into Unity, so I naturally assumed that I would be able to get up to speed rapidly in the world of 3D… but that third dimension really does add a lot more complexity to pretty much everything, and a lot of my old tried and true methods in 2D programming didn't carry over so well at first. But the more experience I get with 3D the more enjoyable it becomes. While Unity does have some fundamental faults that weren't so apparent in Game Maker (and naturally, quirks of its own), it's a very robust and professional engine that's generally a pleasure to work with. I've also been enjoying its coding abilities, which are far more advanced and capable than Game Maker's GML.
fAB: Spriting was something I had to learn to do in order to create fan games, but I never did enjoy it. On the other hand, I've always had a strong love for 3D modeling. Artistically, that has made the shift from 2D to 3D a nice one, though there's a lot more to 3D modeling than just making models–they require textures and animations, which aren't quite so enjoyable.
Games Abyss: Gameplay wise, what can players expect? Is it strictly melee combat or can we expect weapon upgrades/add-ons, etc?
f & B: First and foremost we want TLT to still feel like a Legends game, though the melee combat does require some changes. We wouldn't call it an inspiration, but we've definitely been referencing another great game from 1998 for its gameplay style: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There will be a variety of upgrades and Tuttle will of course be able to acquire a modest arsenal of special weapons, though in some cases they'll be more useful than offensive.
Games Abyss: And what of Tuttle's enemies; who exactly is the mysterious Digger going to come across during his adventure?
fAB: Tuttle will naturally find himself facing hoards of Reaverbots on his digs, but above ground his enemies are the Sturm Force Air Pirates. The Sturm Force are meant to be the top dogs of the pirating scene, and were originally envisioned for a text-based Legends story project many years ago. When Tuttle's Little 5-Island Adventure needed some villains we decided it would be fun to carry them over and use them there as well, though prior to going 3D, the Sturm Force was still pretty much a collection of loose designs and vague ideas. Now with Tuttle's Legendary Travels they've become well-defined, their actions and personalities solidly interwoven into the storyline. It's really fun bringing this new pirate team to life and I can't wait for players to meet them in-game.
Games Abyss: Servbots; will we see any?
f & B: Tuttle's adventure takes place as the Bonnes are busy attacking Kattelox, but there may be a Servbot or two who've gone astray…
Games Abyss: Mega Man Legend's voice-over work is a big part of its heart and soul. How does TLT hope to deliver on such a key aspect of the franchise?
f & B: We definitely consider it an important part of the game, but TLT is a large-scale project, and a long-term one. We don't want to rush into voice acting and have people signed on who'll lose interest because we're not ready for them to record until a year later. When we are ready, we're more likely to ask people for demo reels and then assign roles based on what we hear rather than auditioning on a character basis.
Games Abyss: On a similar note, what about the game's sound design? Should players expect familiar tracks/sound effects, or is an original score planned altogether?
f & B: The TLT soundtrack is coming together nicely and will feature both original tracks and new arrangements of existing Legends tunes. The inspiration is entirely Legends. Our musicians Karimn D.K.I. and Mr. Foetus both listen to the soundtracks of the series extensively and incorporate that same feel into their work. Sound effects is something we have yet to put much work into, and is the one area of the game where we are likely to be borrowing directly from the originals.
Samples of TLT's new arrangements/compositions can be found here.
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