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Shank 2 Interview

SHANK 2  - 922680

After lopping off dozens of heads and killing soldiers left and right in the original Shank a while back, Klei Entertainment and Electronic Arts recently returned to the battlefield with Shank 2, an improved sequel that features even more bloodshed, along with a new co-op survival mode, where a friend can join up and help you rack up the body count.

We loved the game, as you can see from the review, but what really went into the development magic behind the sequel?  We had a chance to speak with Klei Entertainment's founder Jamie Cheng about it, who spilled his guts.  OK, not literally...

First off, how well received was Shank?  Do you think fans of action really got into the game as much as you were anticipating, or perhaps even more so?

Jamie: The original Shank’s reception was very polarized -- some people absolutely loved the decisions we made, while others were sorely disappointed. Shank 1 is a very raw game -- it had some great ideas and honestly we weren’t always sure what the right thing was to do. We simply pushed forward and didn’t let preconceptions or tropes dictate what we should do.

In my opinion, the polarity is a great thing. Did we make mistakes? Of course we did, but we also took a stand and weren’t afraid to make those mistakes and in the process make something new.

What challenges did you face with the sequel?  Were you looking to go bigger, better, bloodier or...?

Jamie: Before we started working on the sequel, we made two lists. The first was “What is Shank?” and the second: “What should be better?” Our challenge was to make sure we kept the essence of Shank, but didn’t just make it “bigger” than the previous.

It was really important for us not to lose sight of what’s really important -- yes, Shank 2 looks better, is actually bloodier, and probably “bigger,” but in the end those were not the real challenges.

The biggest improvements in Shank 2 came from the small, incremental, but hugely important changes to the base mechanics. We concentrated on things like far more responsive controls, being more purposeful about weapon choices, and adding counter attacks -- all of it was carefully constructed to feed back into the system of fluid combat.

What's the story this time around?  Who wronged Shank this time around?

Jamie: The story takes off right after Shank 1 -- basically, Shank is going home, and he finds his home raided and those he cares about under attack. After that: carnage.

Now, the game is introducing a new co-op factor, with a secondary player.  What's his (or her) story?  How do they tie in with Shank?

Jamie: Corina is Shank’s childhood friend, and she kicks just as much ass as Shank. She also controls quite differently than Shank, with a completely separate weapon load out.

Could we see DLC for the game in the future?  New missions, perhaps?

Jamie: Alas, there’s currently no DLC planned for Shank 2.

Finally, if the game is as successful as the original, could we possibly see a Shank III?  With four player combat?

Jamie: Never say never, but not any time soon! We definitely need to take a break from Shank and concentrate on some new ideas.

You can pick up Shank 2 now for $9.99 on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

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Robert Workman
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