Interview with James Goddard and Dave Winstead about WeaponLord

This interview is scanned from the German video game magazine TOTAL! (Nintendo games only) issue 7/1995, page 30.

It's possible that the interview is just a translated version from a (US) GamePro issue. (Thanks to ultima for mentioning this.)

The text before the interview (by Maris Feldmann) talks about WeaponLord and the differences between WL, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Here are some things that are mentioned:

James Goddard and Dave Winstead moved to Namco after working on SFIICE and SFIIT. For WL they work with Visual Concepts (Clayfighter, Madden '95).

They wanted to make a Conan like game with swords (also gameplaywise with breaking the other one's guard by pressing/pushing the swords against the other one's). The collision of each characters move is very important in this game.

Characters have at least 10 special moves. With the normal moves that's 138 different possible cases of collision, while SF has 20 and MK has 10. There are also Finishing moves, not as violent as in MK.

The characters are hand drawn (like SF, unlike MK) and have more animation frames than any other 2D fighter (at that time). They are about 88 pixels high. They all have a story, intro, ending and "inbetween sequences" (don't know how to translate that). They were not (unlike most 2D fighters) drawn on the PC with DPaint but hand drawn with acrylic colors! This makes em more detailed than the competition.

And here the actual interview (Scan). Below the translation from German to English and comments [in brackets] by aerialgroove of

James Goddard was the concept creator of SFIICE, co-designer for SFIIT and the creator of Dee Jay!
James Goddard and Dave Winstead from TOTAL! 7/1995
[photograph scanned from TOTAL! Issue 7/1995]
Dave Winstead first worked for GamePro and then also worked at Capcom on SFIIT and SSFII, Alien VS Predator and Slam Masters!

And here we present you the two game developers. We asked them what's supposed to be different or better about WL compared to other fighting games!

TOTAL: What qualifies you [two] to make a fighting game?
James Goddard: We listen to the gamers. I developed the concept of the Champion Edition (SF) based on gamers' feedback. And also many changes of HF [Hyper Fighting, subtitle for SFIIT] are based on gamers' wishes. Furthermore Dave and me constantly play fighting games against each other and I have organized all major SFII tournaments.

T: What do you [two] like about SFII?
Dave Winstead: Hand-to-hand combats that never get boring.
JG: The first time I played SFII I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe how much depth [gameplaywise] there is.

T; Are there elements in SFII that will also be in WL?
JG: SFII is the only game where you can create your own personal fighting style with a character. It's a difference wether Dave or me plays Guile. With WL gamers will also be able to develop their own fightingstyle.

T: What's unique about your WL-team?
JG: It's the first fulltime project for everyone on the team. And each one of us gives everything to make WL special, wether it's Dave, me, our head graphic artist Alvin Cardona or our head programmer Steve Chiang. We are still young and unspent and on top of that all hardcore gamers who got what it takes to be innovative.

T: What do you [two] like about fighting games and what do you find terrible?
JG: I hate to lose because of some bug that the designers have overlooked. A good game should have its own controls and strategy. Furthermore all characters have to be very different but still well balanced, so that you can still match seriously with others after months.
DW: I like games with good, not too simple combo system. It's really stupid when you only have to make one move with the joystick to make the [ingame] move hit several times right away and take half of the energy.
JG: Exactly! I also hate when one or two combos already kill the opponent. That's just as bad as the attacking patterns that you repeat over and over again, without the opponent being able to do anything against them.

T: Why weapons?
I've always been a fan of Conan the Barbarian and also drew a lot in that style. And when I came to Namco I didn't have a good mind to hand-to-hand fights. I wanted to do something totally new. A whole bunch of critics opined there was nothing new in the fighting genre we could do. I think they're wrong.

T: Why do you think WL will be a success?
JG: A lot of people liked that you have to train a long time for SF and MK. It seems that everybody's waiting for a game with a new strategy and not just one with a handful of fireballs, dragonpunches and fatalities. WL will be a challenge and when you can control it, you will be really good. Everytime you beat somebody, it will happen because you are a good fighter and gamer and not because you use some bugs of the programm!

T: Thanks for the interview and we wish you success with WL!