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Death Jr. is a hot looking title due for release on the PSP, we hunted down Senior Producer Chris Charla for a chat, Q&A style. Chris was very forthcoming and also gave us some exclusive screenshots of the game for publication, to wet your appetite!

Before the interview we also have available some very cool downloadable DEATH JR "goodies" in the shape of a comic book as well as an ingame movie trailer. There are instructions supplied with the comic book detailing how you can read the comic via your PSP, just download and extract then read the word document.

Download DEATH JR comic book here (10.2 meg)
Download DEATH JR in game movie Trailer here (22.1 meg)

Chris Charla - Senior Producer

Driverheaven. Death Jr. is definitely an original looking title, what was your inspiration behind its creation?

Chris: It wasn't something that was meticulously planned or anything... It really just grew organically. We were working on a tech demo, and needed a character. Our art team came up with probably a dozen character ideas -- hot secret agent chicks, dudes with axes, etc. -- and one of the artists just drew this quick sketch of a little dead guy. Everyone was into it and it seemed like the whole backstory, how he interacted with his dad, his friends, the whole world in general just kind of grew up very quickly from that point. I think that's how we knew we had something special, because it just seemed so easy to build this fully fleshed out world around it. Here's something that's never been revealed before: the character of Pandora actually came into the world via one of those original character concepts we did; she was originally pitched as a stand alone character, but she just fit perfectly into DJ's world.

Driverheaven. Being the first "real" platformer to hit the PSP, did you guys feel any pressure to satisfy the audience of this on growing game field?

Chris: Well, we don't consider ourselves a platformer! To us DJ is a third-person shooter. There's platforming there, but it's more a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. Hopefully both platformer fans and shooter fans will like the game.


Driverheaven. What kind of Weapons and Enemies will we see in Death Jr. ?

Chris: Well, there's about 21 different enemy types, plus bosses. Lots of different types of demons: demons who spit, demons who fire laser beams from their eye-covered asses, demons who smash you with tentacles... We got most of the character designs from this book bound in human skin... In terms of weapons, there's everything from dual pistols to rocket launchers, electricity guns, flame throwers, shot guns, and C4 hamsters. These are little hamsters with charges of C4 strapped to their backs, and they just squeak their way towards the nearest enemy and detonate.



Driverheaven: What kind of atmosphere will an every day gamer feel when playing Death Jr. ?

Chris: Hopefully dark, but funny. If I say "creepy but cute," our creative director will kill me, but um, yeah...


Driverheaven. Should gamers look out for any unique technical aspects in Death Jr. ?

Chris: Load times are one nice thing, level size is another. We worked really hard to minimize load times, and I think we have the best load times on PSP right now. Also our levels are pretty big: the PSP has 24MB usable RAM, and some of our levels are 60MB. But once you're in a level, there are no load times that you notice at all. This is tricky to do on PSP because you can't stream levels because of the battery life, so we had to use another, secret method.


Driverheaven: Did you at any time feel limited while developing Death Jr. for the PSP ?

Chris: It's always hard to be working on new hardware, but Sony's support was great, and Konami's QA was really good too. There are some limitations in the PSP, but by and large we were able to overcome them.


Driverheaven. Despite the somewhat violent title, Death Jr. seems to offer more of a humoristic side. What level of humor/violence will we see in the game?

Chris: Hopefully there's a lot of both! I think just some of the levels themselves -- the kids' insane asylum, the meat-themed amusment park, are just funny in and of themselves, and of course some of the comedy situations just arise from the gameplay... a cow-boss that fires machine guns from its udders is just cool to me.


Driverheaven: How many hours of gameplay will the average gamer be able to get out of Death Jr.

Chris: We anticipate at least 10.


Driverheaven. Are there any plans for a sequel in the future?

Chris: Not that I can discuss, sorry! Of course, there's a lot we still want to do, and we think there's a lot more in the world to explore, but sorry I can't say anything else.


Driverheaven. What is your favorite aspect of Death Jr. ?

Chris: C4 hamsters, hands down!


Thanks to Chris for taking the time to participate in this Q&A Session! also special thanks to Stephan Krause and Rammy Eldaly for their help with this article.


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