Before Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic became a PlayStation Network title it was the brainchild of LittleBigPlanet's Creative Director, Mark Healey. Find out his thoughts on the fabulous fighting game.
Before Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, there was... Rag Doll Kung Fu. Confused? Be confused no longer, young grasshopper. PlayStation Network game Fists of Plastic is based on the original home computer title Rag Doll Kung Fu - a fighting game which was created independently by Mark Healey in 2005 before he joined the ranks of LittleBigPlanet developer, Media Molecule.
Since then, Rag Doll Kung Fu has been passed on to trusted hands of Tarsier Studios to develop the new, fresh out the dojo Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic for PSN. playstation.com went back to the game's roots to chat with Healey about his thoughts on this new version of his original beat 'em up.
How did Rag Doll Kung Fu emerge on PlayStation Network?
I would get a lot of correspondence from various people asking for a console version of Rag Doll Kung Fu, so I put the idea to [the people at] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and they were immediately interested. They had recently discovered Tarsier Studios - and they were excited about taking the concept to another level, and making a new game.
Did you ever think your original idea would travel so far when you first came up with the concept of Rag Doll Kung Fu?
Not in the slightest. When I first came up with concept, I never even thought it would even get seen outside my circle of friends! It was just a hobby project I came up with to learn C++. I've been working as an Artist/Designer for many years now - the last time I did any serious coding was using assembler on a Commodore 64 home computer nearly 20 years ago!
Do you think the creation of LittleBigPlanet has impacted or influenced Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic?
Well, there's a Sackboy costume in there, so that's one obvious impact! Maybe Tarsier felt there was a certain quality bar to live up to because of the association with LittleBigPlanet and Media Molecule? Whether this is the case or not you'd have to ask Tarsier really - but it's done a great job of achieving it in my opinion.
What aspects of Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic would you recommend to newcomers?
Well, the having fun with your mates aspect would be top of the list - it's great in multiplayer - and I love the fact that you can actually become very skilful... but it's also much easier to pick up and play than the original. I also love the acting ability you have with the characters - I'm sure some people will have a lot of fun with that and use the video upload feature to make some very funny videos!
Is there anything in the game which changed massively from its original concept and ideas?
Well, the most obvious difference is that this works on a Wireless Controller, and not a mouse like the original game - and this makes it much more accessible. Tarsier has done a great job of taking the spirit of the original, and making a new much improved game from its ingredients. One thing that is missing is the original film footage that I inflicted on people before, but that's probably a good thing!
Are you pleased with the direction that the Tarsier Studios team took with the game?
More than pleased! They've quite simply made a much better game - everything from the graphics to the control mechanism have been taken to the next level.
Do you think PSN allows developers to have more artistic freedom on a whole?
Yes. Smaller teams can afford to take more risks, and generally be more creative. Based on what people have managed using LittleBigPlanet, there are a lot of brilliant people out there who might not otherwise get a chance to show off their creative skills.