Rain in Rio - you probably haven't heard all that much about it - is a game in the works by Red Dingo Games (that's us!). Slated for a release in about 2012-2013, the game is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, with no plans to develop it on Xbox 360 or PC.
As the title suggests, it is set in one of the most famous and infamous cities in not only Brazil but all of South America - Rio de Janeiro. Home to some 15 million people, Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful, sprawling metropolis built around a bay between hills, valleys, along sun-soaked beach strips and deep in the concrete jungle.
By making the game exclusive to PlayStation 3, this allows for more focused development committed to enriching the game experience and building from the ground up one of the most pulse-racing, edge-of-your-seat experiences you'll ever get playing a video game.
Rain in Rio is an action-adventure-platform game with shooting, running, jumping, climbing, fighting and incredible chase scenes. You can expect to raise a war against drug dealers in the favelas, scramble up the face of tall city buildings to reach certain locations, chase or get chased by a gun-toting maniac through the alleys of a quiet city street, leap from rooftop to rooftop with an AK-47 in hand, rumble with the best of them in a bar brawl using whatever weapon you can see and... even shoot from boat to boat across the bay.
But Rain in Rio also has a softer side. In between shooting up half the city, you can use the environment around you for good reasons, too. Close to your apartment (the game's safehouse) is a record shop - or music shop - where you can buy songs in-game to play back at the safehouse and, if we feel generous, will enable songs purchased to be played as part of the actual soundtrack. In Rain in Rio you will be able to buy new clothes to customise outfits, visit weapons dealers, buy medication from pharmacies to heal quicker during the middle of urban warfare and even head on over to a bank to store or pull out some cash.
How will you get around? First up, it should be noted that the game will not be sandbox entirely, but rather a mix of location-by-location levels connected together. So this means that the whole city of Rio de Janeiro will NOT be explorable but instead, smaller locations connected by bus, taxi or subway. This allows for more detail and variety in environment for each location you will be able to visit. For example, one level may require you to go to a place in Botafogo, then have to go to to Centro, the heart of the city. So, you will be able to choose to take a taxi, the subway or a bus.
The plot of Rain in Rio focuses on one man - his first name is Joel - searching for his brother, Paul. After three years of globe trotting, he has been brought to Rio de Janeiro, thanks to a 'clue' - a postage stamp. The stamp bears just an image of Sugarloaf Mountain - operating on a hunch, much?
As something of a celebration of Red Dingo Games' first birthday, we thought we'd give the wider world a little more of a proper, in-depth insight into the current state of Rain in Rio and Red Dingo itself. This sort-of interview allows us to just let it all go, hope it makes for at least a semi-decent read.
How did the idea for Rain in Rio come about?
We had just got together to see what ideas we could come up with. We had a look at what we wanted in a video game, what we wanted in our game...but it just didn't make for anything conclusive. It just wasn't very...fruitful. So, to remedy this, we had a thought to just draw it out, draw out whatever was on our mind. Things got a little better for an hour. Locations came to mind, images did as well - urban, but not too urban. Not just grey. What we ended up drawing was a landscape picture of the back of two apartment blocks as viewed from what looks like, according to the picture, an abandoned - or at least rarely used - back alley. These buildings are only, like, three or four stories tall, but it helped us with our ideas. We decided to draw in a mechanic's roller door, and the idea came around about here. Opening up a Portuguese phrase book, we searched for 'mechanic' - which is mecânico. Then we continually asked ourselves for about an hour...'Where is this? Where on Earth is this picture set?' Was it New York? Nope, too...common. New York's been done to death, we felt. Then like a boxer's left jab, it hit us - Rio de Janeiro.
Why Rio de Janeiro?
There's a lot to do with Rio de Janeiro. It's becoming an increasingly relevant city in the modern world, and even more so now that it's just been handed the right to host the 2016 Olympics. What's more, is, it's ever so diverse. It is a city that has just about everything. You can walk from the beach to hills in ten minutes in some locations. You have some of the most courteous taxi drivers around - they'll open your door for you as you get in. But when we chose Rio almost on the spot as the setting for our game, we knew we didn't choose it for all the glitz and glamour that coats the surface. We wouldn't be showing much of that. We knew it was our job to show Rio for what it is behind the scenes, pretty much the stuff you'll see on the news. Recently, a chopper was shot down during a bit of a skirmish by a stray bullet. A stray bullet! This is unlucky, and in many ways, it's one thing that puts the light on Rio, but we only hope it doesn't get overblown in the news just because the city is gonna get the Olympics. Oh, and, we like Rio because of the way the city's layered, from top to bottom, north to south and whatever. Beautiful when viewed from a distance, but not up close and personal.
How do you describe or construct a location you have never been to?
It's hard to place your mind and visualise a whole street or the inside of someone else's apartment when you've never been there in your life. But it's boring, just sticking to pure fact. You have to twist it now and again, here and there. It just doesn't feel right going, 'Is that tree in the right place? Does this bar have black or dark grey lettering out the front of it?' Sometimes you just have to, you know, improvise. Make it interesting. There could be a poster advertising a major soccer match at Maracanã or a local band, or a mural or graffiti. Get a feel of the place...get to know what it's like. Read travel guides, watch documentaries, listen to radio segments - even if you don't understand them. This is not the work of a scholarly mind - this is just the basics! The one-two-three!
What is one song that gets the ball rolling for Rain in Rio?
That would just have to be 'Born Slippy' by Underworld, from the movie Trainspotting. It's one of those feel-good techno songs, guess you could say. To us, it just somehow has that Rio de Janeiro feel to it. Whenever we feel a little unmotivated, or the story is running slightly dry, we'll just listen to that. Works great.
Name one Rio suburb that will be in the game.
Of so many...Botafogo will be in there, and probably more than once. We're not doing the whole city, but we are trying to put in a range of locations without doing too many, if that makes sense. Plus the way we're putting them in...is different. It's not in order, like we don't move towards the top of the map. It's more like 'Start in the place over here, cross the whole city and end up here, then do it again'. That sort of thing.
Is Rain in Rio the only game in the works by Red Dingo?
Well, at the moment...it sure is. We want to do other games as well - we have ideas - but we're staying focused on one thing at the moment.
How far is it in development?
Rain in Rio isn't that far into work at all. Don't forget, we've just turned one! So far, we have a chunk of script and an almost large novel-length story, which we're taking the imagery and script from. It's long enough to publish as a novel, no doubt about that, but we wouldn't want to until after the game perhaps. We have drawings, sketches, ideas, maps - but hopefully 2010 will be an easy path for us to take a step further out into the light. We're not the Kings of Wishful Thinking. We have a genuine interest in what we are doing, in our work, and want to step it up or else the dream will fall through, sadly. But that's the cold hard truth right there.
What are the future plans for Red Dingo Games?
We will hopefully have a proper site up live next year sometime and it will be far better than what we have now. What we do have now - this site here - is good for what we need and want. But as part of our main plan, we need to upgrade next year. It's our wish to build a bigger site to get closer to you.
Rio won the right to host the 2016 Olympics...how do you feel about that?
Ecstatic! It's great! But is the city ready for it? Sure as hell hope so. It's been a long time coming, and we've no doubts that they will be able to deliver. We followed it live on television - it was more tense and never-wracking than we honestly believed it could have been. Surprisingly, Chicago was first to go, then Tokyo...leaving Rio to battle it out with Madrid. But we had no doubts and our optimism proved justified. It was a very joyous moment and for a long time, we think, everyone forgot about the problems that are still rampant in the city. The drug wars, corruption, other social problems...these kinds of things never get ignored. But as a city with the FIFA World Cup in 2014 just two years prior to the Olympics - that's quite an achievement. Will they pull through and change the way of life for all cariocas and show the world. We hope so, and we believe so.
Now, how do we join Rio's party?
Of course, these chunks of text are nothing fancy. All we did - and it really took like ten seconds - was inserted WordArt into Microsoft Publisher with the font Rage Italic, and filled another with a picture as the fill effect. Child's play.
On Wednesday January 14, 2009, Red Dingo Games announced Rain in Rio. Rain in Rio is an action-adventure title set in the famed city of Rio de Janeiro, home to the Sugarloaf Mountain and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue. Rain in Rio is PlayStation 3 exclusive (see the News Release for a reason why).
Currently, the script and a short story-side project are in the works.
Here is an extract from the short story.
He was confident that the person he had been looking for was in Rio de Janeiro. As if he was explaining to himself his purpose in Rio, he spoke, again reflectively. 'It's been years. I've been searching...for three years. I've been given only one hint, one clue - a stamp. So now, I'm here, in the Redeemer's city. There's not one place where I haven't searched besides here. Hopefully here things'll be a different story, but in January River things are dangerous; the drug cartels never put down the guns, the drugs never stop and the city never sleeps. All I hope is for the city to give me some peace while I do what I need to do.'
Alright, we hate to say it, but we really are limited in regarding what we say. However, we did not set this text box up for nothing. The title is, 'What the finished product will look and feel like'. As a current-generation game (PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox are considered last-generation now, in case you were unsure) certain developments in video games development technology have enabled the use of new and exciting techniques to create better graphics, much more cutting-edge sound, sharper and more realistic animation, and so many more 'layers'. It is these layers that make up a vital part to the package that is Rain in Rio.
In case you did not really notice, and fair enough, we have not said very much about it, but Rain in Rio places a heck of a lot of emphasis on its 'feel', which is, the atmosphere and vibe (not to mention emotions as well) that the player feels as they race down the darkened streets of Rio de Janeiro with a gun in their hand, leaping from window to rooftop, and vice versa.
Yep, this atmosphere will be very rich indeed. Rain in Rio will go out of its way to create the most dynamic atmosphere seen in a video game set in an urban setting, for a long time. What about these layers? These layers are the factors that influence and give vital weight to the atmosphere. Here are some of them. Let's say you are controlling the protagonist, standing idly on a street corner.
Cars drive past, and their headlights cast shadows of all the cracks and bumps on the road - so, evidently, it is night. Streetlights throw eerie yellow light on areas that could otherwise have been pitch black. Different vehicles drive throughout the night, from just bland, ordinary four-door sedans to motorcycles and even a rare lorry. Some of these cars are quite loud, others, their engines not so much, but these ones with the quieter motors seem to have drivers that cannot resist the temptation of pumping their radio full blast.
Across the street, seemingly woken by the rowdy noise of poorly cared-for engines, lights of an apartment block come on. There are one-way exchanges of demands for silence, but the people making the demands do not know if their requests will ever be met.
A block away, is a club. This club pumps music from local bands into the early hours of the morning, until the drunken vagrants and vagabonds have left, leaving the staff and musicians to finally go home. The music is Latin, to be blunt. It has a decent tempo, sounds like a five-piece, although it is hard to tell.
But other than these noises and the regular noises of the city, it is dead silent. The Redeemer continues to watch over the city, and the hillsides continue to glow, like usual. But other than that, it is just another normal Rio de Janeiro night.
If there's any single game that even comes close to obtaining the atmosphere we have right here, it's gotta be The Warriors, by Rockstar. While we say that, we will also go on to say The Warriors is a major source of inspiration for Rain in Rio.
Rain in Rio will be an action-adventure, almost platform title. There will be minimal sandbox elements but at the same time the overall play area will be huge. It is a story-driven game, with a single protagonist at the helm. You'll have to run, jump, climb, fight, shoot and sprint your way through the dark neighbourhoods of Rio de Janeiro.
The protagonist's name is Joel. He has to find his brother, but he's already been searching for three years. One day, a week before arriving in the Redeemer's city Joel receives a clue that tells him just what he needs to know.
The game will likely feature the following (and much more):