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Former Capcom employee who worked on Street Fighter 2 talks about creating WeaponLord, a very complex fighter for the SNES & Genesis

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • August 18, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. PDT
Former Capcom employee who worked on Street Fighter 2 talks about creating WeaponLord, a very complex fighter for the SNES & Genesis James Goddard is a game designer who earned his chops working on the Street Fighter 2 series, specifically Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting and Super Street Fighter 2, where he also created the character Dee Jay.

Back in 1995, Goddard and his team released a fairly obscure fighter for the SNES and Genesis, called WeaponLord.

Running one of the most complex fighting game systems at the time, with things that later became major features in other titles; like off the ground attacks, parries and counters — WeaponLord was considered a title too complicated for its own good.

GameSpot has written up an extensive piece examining the history of the game, which talks about some of the follies the development team experienced while crafting this fighting, which still has a small underground scene who plays it.

The article starts off with how Goddard got his start at Capcom. Hit the jump for more.

James "DJAMES" Goddard never cheated at Street Fighter, though plenty of people accused him of such. "There was no Internet back then," he said, "so if you knew these tricks, such as doing a walking pile drive with Zangief, people thought you were a voodoo priest or something!" Knowledge was power, and Goddard knew all the tricks. In 1991, he was hired by Capcom, creator of Street Fighter II, as a game tester, and quickly rallied that into an apprenticeship at the company's Japanese offices. He then took that knowledge and worked his way up to support designer and advisor on Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, followed by master game balancer on Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. Goddard was learning from the best, and those lessons would help him immensely when developing WeaponLord.

David "Dr. Dave" Winstead was in the right place at the right time. The time was 1989, and the place was Gary's Game Corner, a locally owned comic book and video game rental shop in Redwood City, California. Not far from Gary's, a little magazine called GamePro was just getting off the ground. The editors would sometimes stop by to peruse the games selection, and Winstead was always there to toss in his two cents. Eventually, this made an impression on Patrick Ferrell, one of the magazine's founders, who tasked Winstead with turning his stream of advice into a few demo articles for the magazine. Before long, the young writer found himself taking screen shots part-time, and eventually becoming a full-time editor.

And then Street Fighter II happened. In 1991, Capcom's breakout fighting game landed in American arcades, jump-started arcade culture, and created the template for a new genre of gaming. Unlike most arcade games, Street Fighter didn't have you compete over a high score. It was direct competition against the person standing next to you, and if you lost, it was because the other person was better, plain and simple. Winstead was enamored. "I told the editors this game was crazy! I'd never played anything like it. You really got this buzz off fighting another person." He knew Capcom had struck gaming gold, and he pushed for coverage in the magazine. After some convincing, his editors relented, and suggested he contact Capcom about purchasing a Street Fighter II arcade board. Given the game's popularity, they were sure to have plenty in stock.

You can read the entire 4-page piece over on GameSpot's website, which continues the story of Goddard's stint at Capcom, along with heavy details on the development process of WeaponLord.

If you want to see what the final product looked like, make sure you scope out the intro and fatalities for WeaponLord in the video collage below.

Clip from Dork Hall.

Comments

shinra358 said on August 18, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.

Wow, capcom employees worked on alot of fighting games didn't they 0.0

WeaponLord vs SoulCalibur

Make it happen!

#1
gqazndood said on August 18, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.

Weaponlord was an awesome game but wasn't ready for its time. If now returned in the proper hands it would high succeed. It was a game that was advanced for even fighting gamers. The game was very deep and the art direction was incredible. I remember playing it and myself wanting to own it but I could not find a copy of it anywhere! But when I did play it I was hooked. Though it took me awhile to understand the parrying system, once I did the game felt more fluid and intense. Hearing those clings and clangs of steel made me hype to win every match I was in!

#2
ForTheViolence said on August 18, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.

Awesome read.

#3
Oroku_Saki said on August 18, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.

" doing a walking pile drive with Zangief, people thought you were a voodoo priest or something!"

THIS! This so much. Some people in Nigeria thought I was a Golden Child, or I was controlling the game with my mind. It got to the point, some arcades spots didn't let me on the machines.
WeaponLord was and is mad fun.

#4
bunny said on August 18, 2013 at 12:12 p.m.

id love to see double helix redesign weapon lord

#5
Hackstermatrix said on August 18, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.

^Arcades in Nigeria? I think you've mistaken it for a different country.

#6
JesseRobles said on August 18, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.

I never knew of this game! How come?! And I've played really obscure fighting games. Dang it.

#7
KingKong said on August 18, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.

Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

#8
Hackstermatrix said on August 18, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.

You must have pissed off someone at Capcom cause nowadays Deejay is a joke character ROTFCIFSPCSOLEOGLMAO!

(Rolling-on-the-floor-covered-in-flames-screaming-PogChamp-smelling-of-limited-edition-onion-guacamole-laughing-my-ass-off).

Haven't played W.Lord, and while the game looks uninspiring, I respect that you stuck with fighting games.

#9
MentalFloss said on August 18, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.

I owned this game :D Damn I feel old...

Don't remember it being as awesome as some are saying though.

#10
cailooooo said on August 18, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.
#11
ReddChief said on August 18, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

1 of the many failed fighting games from the 90's just aweful

#12
Evil_Hayato said on August 18, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.

I loved me some weaponlord... That game was so ahead of its time. This was one of the first(if not the first) fighting games to have parries and really unique fighting mechanics for the time. Its slow as balls now but still great to see how far fighting games have come.

#13
edrigo said on August 18, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.

@9
Your long winded joke was uninspiring. Game was immense.

No joke characters, it looked amazing, it has more mechanics and depth than most 2d fighters (including ae) to this day. It was really technical too.

#14
theshredder39 said on August 18, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.

@1 How bout we get a new Weapon Lord first so that they can introduce howviolent the game is? Cause Namco clearly isn't willing to make an M rated Soul Calibur.

#15
GenSoHotSpicy said on August 18, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.

@6
It wouldn't surprise me if there were arcades to be found in Nigeria because I have found them in multiple African nations that I have worked or travelled through. There was an arcade with MK2 in Lobito, Angola. An arcade I discovered in Ndjamena, Chad which only had 3 machines: Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and SF2 Turbo.

My favorite arcade I've found in Africa was this one owned by a Yemenese merchant which was also half video game store in Asmara, Eritrea. Good game selection which was SF2, UMK3 and many other non-FGs like Metal Slug, 1942, Final Crisis, Area 51, etc..all the machines were free to play but you had to pay a small hourly fee. I probably went there 15 times over the course of 3 1/2 months and the proprietor gave me a good deal on a Saudi Xbox 360 and 2 copies of INJUSTICE: THE MIGHTY AMONG US (the Middle Eastern regions name for IGAU). Before I left back for the States I gave him back the 360 and 1 copy of the game to use for his arcade.

With all the international trade that comes into Africa, especially through the hubs of Cairo, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos and Kinshasa it's not impossible, even 15-20 years ago, that arcade cabinets are present throughout Africa.

#16
xShonuffx said on August 18, 2013 at 1:32 p.m.

This was one of those rare gem games that you have to be walking in the store and say "Hey let me try this one." Coming out of Blockbuster video with this, I got home and played it and I loved it. Hard for me to figure out but if they were to do an HD remake, add more animation frames update the music and flesh out the controls this game would be fire.

#17
Hackstermatrix said on August 18, 2013 at 1:37 p.m.

@14 What joke? DJ IS ass. Wait, you thought that was a joke?
ROTFCIFSPCSOLEOGLMAO

You must have dyslexia too cause I clearly said :
"Haven't played W.Lord".
ROTFCIFSPCSOLEOGLMAO

#18
Shotosaurus said on August 18, 2013 at 1:40 p.m.

Really surprised this game wasn't given more attention. I would have thought a violent game in the 16 bit era would have got all the kids talking. And like others have said, despite knowing a broad range of obscure fighting games this is the first time I've come across this.

Really wondering how it managed to stay hidden all these years.

#19
Hackstermatrix said on August 18, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.

@16 Ah, if he means a console arcade that's understandable, but not a cabinet one doe unless that's the only cabinet in the country.

#20
Ninjanuity said on August 18, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.

Ugh. I've grown tired of these dark and gritty fighters trying to be "edgy" , so this game would've been no different to me. I eventually get bored with them, and much faster than other games that are more light-hearted and stylized. Nothing against those games or people who play them (much respect to MK for starting the trend) but they're just not my style.

#21
xShonuffx said on August 18, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

@19 It came out at the end of the 16 bit era so that was when people were waiting to play Sega Saturn and PlayStation One. It was a commercial failure but received good praise for being innovative.

It was also super hard to play, even when compared to games like King of Fighters, it was really only for people who understood fighting games at the highest level.

#22
Oroku_Saki said on August 18, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.

@Hackstermatrix:
It was not the only cabinet in the country. There were quite a number of them and they had numerous other games as well.
I played Tekken 3 at the arcade in Nigeria before I saw it in the U.S. They get Japanese games before we get the Western versions.

#23
noob_blasta said on August 18, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.

@10 completely agree. This game was lame and this article is hyping it way more than it deserves although I love seeing articles like this so keep them coming eh

#24
old_school_rival said on August 18, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.

I've never heard of this game, back in the day this one slipped past me.

#25
Xykes said on August 18, 2013 at 2:59 p.m.

Weaponlord was awesome.

Anyone who actually played it and actually understood it knows this.

#26
edrigo said on August 18, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.

@26 I definitely give props to peeps who played this game i've actually had convos with people on eh about it.
I'm actually really happy this article popped up always good to see someone mention this game in some capacity.

#27
Hackstermatrix said on August 18, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.

@23 do you remember the area? cause I don't remember seeing any cabinets.

#28
ERGZ_T00LMAN said on August 18, 2013 at 5:14 p.m.

Seeing how Ono mentioned wanting to work on a fighting game with an art style similar to MK or KI, we could see this game be revived for the next-gen consoles

#29
Xul said on August 18, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.

(This user was banned.)

#30
Amerika said on August 18, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.

I passed on WeaponLord as a kid because I thought it would be another awful wannabe fighting game. And the more I read about it the more I know I missed out. However, it probably had too many mechanics for me to really learn it as the only fighting game I put serious time into was SFII and Turbo.

A side note. As a kid I competed in a tournament that Blockbuster video did for SFII and I was the youngest kid there and I was the only Chun user. I was definitely the crowd favorite for both of those things and it was a hell of a lot of fun (ended up 3rd. 1st place got to go to Vegas to compete there). After the tournament was over a couple of devs from Capcom (whose names I don't remember) brought in a beta copy of Turbo and I got to fight them both quite a while before the game was out. They were not very good at it haha.

Long story short, I probably should have gotten WeaponLord :(

#31
RuGaH said on August 18, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.

Reminds me of Eternal Champions :o

#32
Smorgasboard said on August 18, 2013 at 9:14 p.m.

Hey, another new old niche game to constantly request from Capcom that people will pick up out of nostalgia but drop in a week. Thanks, I was worried about no having any game to cry for if ds, ps and rs gets made.

#33
sergio_reyes_ said on August 18, 2013 at 9:18 p.m.

is a classic

#34
Baby_Astaroth said on August 18, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.

@1
Weaponlord was published by Namco and in my mind Soul Blade was the successor to it. I don't think there really is a need to make a crossover.

#35
ArcadeRobot said on August 19, 2013 at 12:28 a.m.

This brings back memories! I definitely remember this title <3 When it came out there was a great article on it in GamePro magazine ^_^ Unfortunately, I never got to play it. . .

#36
Maxgalactica said on August 19, 2013 at 1:05 a.m.

DEEEEEEEE JAAAAAAAMMMMMMEEEEEESSSSSSSSS

#37
BumblebeeCody said on August 19, 2013 at 3:20 a.m.

I enjoyed reading his backstory. Never played WeaponLord but it seems like most people on here consider it to be worth playing.

#38
Sasuga said on August 19, 2013 at 3:31 a.m.

Is this the game where you can cut off the others arms and when he wins without arms it would say "Armless wins"? If not, what game is that, does anybody know that? I've been looking for that game since forever. Weaponlord sure looks like it!

#39
learis1 said on August 19, 2013 at 8:21 a.m.

needs to be remade. what with mature fighters like KI coming out, it opens the door for this game. im sick of the kiddy fighters out today.

#40
Lordd_G said on August 19, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

I remember my buddy and I renting this back in the day and spending all New Years Eve playing it on SNES.

It was slow as balls from what I remember though. But, I gather, that had more to do with the console limitations at the time than the lack of care from the developers... I mean, the fighters in the game were so intricately detailed for a 16-bit console fighter, so I'm sure it limited how fast the characters could move on screen. And, hence, why there were only 6 of them.... 32 Meg(abit)s baby!!

#41
crappypatty said on August 19, 2013 at 11:44 a.m.
#42
GoldenTrophy said on August 19, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.

I had rented this game at least twice when it came out, I was 10 at the time.

#43
Joseph said on August 20, 2013 at 6:28 a.m.

The game had a lot of style and a lot of cool concepts but the technical limitations of the 16 bit consoles really limited what they could do with the game. If only they made the game for Saturn/PS/N64...

#44
Utils said on August 20, 2013 at 9:36 p.m.

*checks date on the article*

Alright, I knew this sounded familiar. I read this months ago. Great read.

Better late than never.

#45


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