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Interview: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
by Chris Thomas on Thursday 12th Nov 2009

There has to be an easier way to get fed.

After finishing work on the superb iPhone rendition of Toki Tori developer Two Tribes have been working on something a little bit different; a movie licensed game. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will be out this month so we caught up with Collin Van Ginkel, the Creative Director at Two Tribes, to learn more about the project and why core gamers should be interested...

Can you quickly summarise the game for our readers?

When watching the three Ice Age movies we always wanted to know what Scrat was up to inbetween his short appearances. For this game we decided it was time to focus on Scrat, and see things from his perspective for a change!

Players take control of Scrat as he works his way through the events of the third movie. Scrat has a wide range of moves; from climbing, hanging from the ceiling, heaving blocks, breaking ice to floating in tar
bubbles and much more.

Who is the game aimed at? Obviously Ice Age as an IP skews quite young while the iPhone install base is mostly adults...

We believe the massive success of the movies is because they have universal humorous appeal and are very accessible to viewers of all ages. We have incorporated this into the game as well, in both the way our storytelling works and by implementing a subtle learning curve that emphasizes fun over challenge. Players looking for more challenging puzzles can focus on getting all the acorns that are scattered throughout the game, while others can simply follow Scrat's journey.

You're describing the control system as being "revolutionary". What can you tell us about the controls? How will they work and will they differ from what current games in the genre are doing?

We have further developed the control scheme of our previous game Toki Tori, to offer an experience that is instantly usable for anyone who is able to start up the game from the home screen.

So instead of trying to emulate control options from other handheld game devices, we have fully embraced the touch screen as the controller for our game. Players can influence almost anything in the game by simply pointing where they want to go. You can let Scrat move around, climb stairs, hang from the ceiling, pick up objects, break patches of ice and so on, simply by using your finger.

Using this control scheme also has the benefit of having the entire screen free of interface clutter, offering a cinematic experience well suited to the visuals in Ice Age.

Obviously the game is based on a movie license, something which has in the past usually resulted in low scoring games. Are you guys going to be bucking the trend with this game?

We absolutely stand by the quality of this game. Instead of using a license as an excuse to dump a low quality game, we have used the Ice Age universe to add to the overall quality and presentation of the game. So in short; the gameplay stands on its own and the fact that it uses the great characters from the movies is a nice bonus!

Presumably not working to the movies release deadline has given you plenty of time to get it right?

We had enough time during development to really polish the game. There are a lot of events from the movie that we have been able to include, the game features additional replay value and bonus content for people who collect all the acorns in the game and the audiovisual presentation is also top notch.

The graphics look wonderful in the screenshots. One of the things we raved about in Toki Tori was how excellent the animations were, will Ice Age 3 be comparable?

We have worked closely with FOX and Blue Sky Studios to make sure the game looks and feels as close to the movie as possible. We have spent considerable resources on making sure Scrat is just like his movie counterpart. From the little animations when he is idle to the sounds he makes when something happens to him, it really does feel like you are controlling Scrat.

Collin thank you very much for your time.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will be available to download for your iPhone and iPod touch before the end of November. Stay tuned to AppGamer for more details when the game is released.

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