Pearl Harbour: Legendo interview

Photobucket Legendo Entertainment’s Björn Larsson was more than happy to talk to us about upcoming WiiWare game Pearl Harbour. What he seemed less pleased with, oddly, was the way that Ross and Luke made aeroplanes with their hands and screamed nnnneeeeeeooowwwwww dagadagadagadagadaga throughout the entire interview.

CG: What is it, do you think, that makes World War II games socially acceptable – but games based on, say, the Iraq wars taboo?

BL: I think because World War II “happened” fairly long ago, it’s a distant event to many people which makes it a little easier to romanticise and slightly hard to grasp for our generation. Also, I’m sure many would agree with me that the general opinion on World War II is that the Axis were the bad guys, and the Allied were the good guys. That’s why Germans are more often than not acting out as the enemies or bad guys in all forms of pop-culture, including books, moves and video games.

The reasons behind modern wars fought in Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan and elsewhere are not as clear, which makes the subject a little more touchy and taboo. We are also constantly reminded on those wars through media, feeding us with shock imagery and reports, creating a lot of opinion; modern wars are fresh and relatively lively events that remains active in our psyche, and one which a lot of people have opinions on.

CG: Why make a game based around the Pearl Harbour attack?

BL: Actually, the game is not based solely around the Pearl Harbor attack; however the attack caused the US to enter World War II as an ally, so we thought it was a good focus and starting point for an air-combat action game set in the Pacific Theatre. With the upcoming mini-series from Spielberg etc – The Pacific, which is a spiritual successor to Band of Brothers – we also think there will be renewed interest in World War II set in the Pacific.

CG: What does gameplay involve, exactly?

BL: In short – flying around and blowing stuff up, while having fun doing so! Players pilot World War II-era planes through missions undertaken by US or Japanese squadrons. Dogfights involve heavy machine gun fire, there are bombing and torpedo mission, and you’re cast into a whole bunch of defensive and offensive attack manoeuvres (missions). Having that said, there are some serious undertones as we strive to make the structure of the game as historically correct as possible in terms of story line, mission chronology and aircraft available.

PhotobucketCG: Can we expect this game to be the first to acknowledge the fact that the war had been going on for two years before the Americans joined in?

BL: Pearl Harbor Trilogy focuses on the War in the Pacific, that’s our ambition. So references to other geographical areas are limited but they do exist in some of the early mission briefings.

CG: Do you ever worry that your game – and the multitude of others – run the risk of trivialising a worldwide conflict that claimed the lives of millions?

BL: When done well, I think war games many times do the opposite; they are a form of expression for events in history that are far from trivial. Having that said, most games are entertainment and created to make money, but on an intellectual level I think most people are able to separate the play mechanics (the fun) from the setting (the serious).

CG: Why have you chosen to release Pearl Harbour as episodic content?

BL: The WiiWare storage limit is obviously one of the reasons, there’s only so much content you can cram into 40 megs. Having that said, we also thought that offering three games in separate would allow us to implement some extra polish for each title and also to potentially add more features in the second and third games based on the reception of the first one, while keeping the price for each title fairly attractive.

PhotobucketCG: To what extent have you gone for authenticity?

BL: We’re striving to make sure that the chronology and general geographical layout of the missions is correct, that the aircraft you encounter are appropriate for the time, and that the look and feel of the game has a certain 40s vibe to it.

CG: What control options will there be?

BL: There will be three control schemes. You can either hold the Wii Remote horizontally while tilting it in any direction to control the plane, or you can connect the Nunchuk and hold the Wii Remote “pilot-style”, or for those who prefer more traditional controls, you can hook up the excellent Classic Controller which gives you a pair of analogue sticks to fly with.

CG: What can we expect from future episodes?

BL: The first game deals with the early years of the Pacific Ware, 1941-1942. So the second and third games will deal with battles and aircraft sequentially to that, and hopefully we will be able to add more features and game modes too, thus making each game unique.

I would also like to add that for the most up to date information,  a chance to ask questions directly to the team and of course to just say hello, head on over to our FaceBook FanPage!

CG: Any hopes of intoducing this game to other download services like XBLA or PSN?

BL: Not at the moment. We’re concentrating on the Wii right now.

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Written by Patrick G

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