Agents of Mayhem Design Director Talks Multiplayer, Characters, Color Purple

Developer Volition is working on its take on a G.I. Joe game called Agents of Mayhem. The team behind the Saints Row franchise is changing things up while keeping this game in the same universe. Due to release on August 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC, we were able to play a fairly deep demo at a recent event hosted by Deep Silver in San Francisco. After the playthrough, we sat down with Anoop Shekar, the Project Design Director at Volition that is working on Agents of Mayhem and he answered some questions for us.

[Hardcore Gamer] Volition worked on Saints Row. Will we see any Easter eggs or references from Saints Row in Agents of Mayhem?

[Anoop Shekar] Yeah, definitely. The big things you see are the Volition and Saints Row sensibility in Agents of Mayhem with the humor, the characters, and the style. It is not a direct continuation of a Saints Row game. There are references, in particular, you got to meet Kingpin in the demo, and he’s essentially the Agents of Mayhem take on Pierce Washington from Saints Row. We will have things in the future and will be able to see our little Easter eggs in the game when we’re done.

Volition seems to have an obsession with the color purple. Is there a reason behind that or is that a pure coincidence?

It’s the color we picked for the Saints when we first started making Saints Row games and we kind of stuck with it going forward so now when people see the color purple, specifically in a game related setting, they often times identified with it. When making Agents of Mayhem, we just thought it was a good color to represent the agency.

Agents of Mayhem will be set in Seoul, South Korea, the “City of Tomorrow.” Can you tell me the size and scale of the city?

I don’t have the specific dimensions. It’s not quite as big as previous Saints Row cities, but it has a lot more density and verticality. We take inspiration from Seoul as it exists today. You won’t be able to go and see specific streets or anything like that. It is the futuristic and Agents of Mayhem “take” on Seoul.

In what year does Agents of Mayhem take place?

We don’t have a specific year, we just say near future.

What makes the characters’ personalities different and can we expect humor and chemistry between them?

Yeah, the main thing about the agents is that they have different backgrounds and come from different areas around the globe. They all have different reasons for joining M.A.Y.H.E.M. or why to fight L.E.G.I.O.N. or both. There are different ways they respond to the world and what they see. Those things inform them how they react to things or what they say when a mission is taking place or how they talk to each other. That’s where a lot humor and contrast comes from is how they bounce off each other or react to L.E.G.I.O.N. or other things in M.A.Y.H.E.M.

What makes Agents of Mayhem not a MOBA?

This is entirely a single player game. You are essentially controlling this agency to take on this evil organization. You’re not fighting against other players, you are fighting against this evil organization. You get to basically play our version of G.I. Joe, which we think no other game lets you do.

Any plans for any multiplayer aspects?

We do have a small multiplayer component. We have these contracts that are challenges you can do with each of the agents to gain special rewards and build them up. We have some contracts you can share between your friends on Xbox Live or PSN or just random people.

Frankly put, Saints Row was balls out with no cares given. Can we expect that same type of entertainment in Agents of Mayhem?

Yeah, you can. The one difference I would say, in Saints Row there would be things that came out of nowhere that were out of context and were there to be goofy and we appreciate and love that. With Agents of Mayhem, in particular, we wanted to make sure all the humor had context whether it comes from the characters, the plots, or the situation they are in. That doesn’t mean that crazy and goofy stuff won’t happen, it will just be clear while it’s happening.

What is the premise of the story and is the story the focus of the game? Will players still be able to free roam like in Saints Row?

There are two elements to the story. The main story of what Dr. Babylon is doing in Seoul and why M.A.Y.H.E.M. has to stop him and that is what we call the Critical Path. You will have to defeat all the lieutenants in sequence. Additionally, each of the agents has their own mini-story based on their unlock mission and their personal mission so you get to learn more about the agents and why they are there. Beyond that, you can really roam around Seoul and fight L.E.G.I.O.N. on their every day plots that are their smaller scale things to get rewards and level up.

What was the driving force for the art design in Agents of Mayhem?

We wanted to represent the inspirations that we drew from so like the 80s and 90s cartoons such as G.I. Joe. and things like that. We did not want to make it like a straight up cel-shaded game. We wanted to make sure we used new modern rendering techniques and we came up with the style of combining those two elements.

What do you want the player experience to be with Agents of Mayhem?

It’s not so much we want it to be a G.I. Joe game, rather here’s a Volition version of a G.I. Joe game. Which means it is going to be crazy, it’s going to have crazy effects, crazy explosions. Its going to have that crazy humor, mature humor, and Hollywood (character) is amazing.

Twelve agents will be unveiled, will there be future plan for more characters?

We designed the world of Agents of Mayhem to be expanding whether its through the different ministries like in this game you only see the Ministry of Pride. The conflict exists on a global scale. This game takes place in Seoul so there’s always opportunities so at some point in the future, just like in G.I. Joe, we would love to be able to do that but we can’t talk any specifics.

Will there be a beta for Agents of Mayhem?

There will be no beta.

Will there be a Nintendo Switch version to have this game on-the-go?

To be honest, we didn’t consider it based on getting the game done on the platforms we had available. As for the future, those are things we would we discuss with our partners and we have not done so at this point.

For more on Agents of Mayhem, be sure to read our hands-on preview.