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Brütal Legend (stylised with a metal umlaut) is an action-adventure game created by Double Fine Productions and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was released during October 2009 in North America and Europe. Though Brütal Legend was originally to be published by Vivendi Games prior to its merger with Activision, Activision had dropped the game from its portfolio after the merger. It was later picked up by Electronic Arts, though Activision and Double Fine brought counter-lawsuits against each other over publishing issues. The issues have since been settled out of court.

Tim Schafer, the game's creative director, was inspired to create the game by his own past musical experiences. The game features the character of Eddie Riggs, voiced by and modeled after Jack Black, a roadie who is transported to a fantasy world inspired by the artwork of heavy metal album covers. Eddie becomes the world's savior, leading the down-trodden humans against a range of supernatural overlords using a battle axe, his Flying V guitar that can tap into the magical powers of the world, and a customizable hot rod. The game, a hybrid of the action-adventure and real-time strategy genres, includes Stage Battles in both the single-player and multiplayer mode, where the player must command troops to defeat their foes while defending their own stage. In addition to Black, the game features voices of heavy metal musicians including Lemmy Kilmister, Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford and other celebrities such as Tim Curry, as well as more than one hundred metal songs selected by Schafer for inclusion in the game.

Brütal Legend was generally well-received by game reviewers, praising Schafer's vision and writing of the heavy metal-inspired world, and the performances of the voice cast, particularly of Black and Osbourne. Many found the hybrid gameplay of action and real-time strategy games did not mix well, however, blaming console control limitations and missing features normally found in games of either genre.


Brütal Legend is a third person action/adventure game incorporating real time strategy elements. The game uses an open world that Tim Schafer has described as being approximately 64 km2 in area. The player controls the protagonist Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), a roadie who one day finds himself transported in a fantasy heavy metal world. Eddie acquires three tools that are used for combat and transportation: a broad axe called "The Separator", his Flying V guitar "Clementine" from his own world which has the ability to cast magic spells in the heavy metal world, and a hot rod that Eddie builds called "The Druid Plow", a.k.a. "The Deuce". Launching magical attacks from Clementine is performed by playing a minigame akin to the note-matching aspect of Guitar Hero or Rock Band over a brief guitar riff; however, Eddie cannot use the magic generated by Clementine constantly, as prolonged usage of the guitar will result in it turning red hot, and the player will have to wait for a cool-off period before using the guitar's power again. The player can spend in-game currency called "Fire Tributes", earned from completing missions, at the Motor Forge, to gain new abilities and upgrades for each tool. These tools can be used in combination with each other to take out Eddie's foes; for example, the player can use Clementine to create pyrotechnics to launch a foe into the air and follow up by attack it with the Separator. In a case of a specific boss fight, the player must use the Deuce to lure the boss to a spiked gate held up by counterweights, and then play the "Earthshaker" song on Clementine to destroy the weights and sever the creature's head.

Within the open world, the player can use a map and the Deuce's turn signals to guide them towards either story-advancing missions or side missions. Side missions include races with the Deuce, defending Eddie's allies from a pending attack, or helping a cannon operate spot his targets. There are about 23 main missions in the story with 30 side missions that the player can optionally take. The player can also explore the game's world to find statues bound in leather or chains that can be freed to gain a health boost for Eddie or to reveal part of the game's backstory, and can look through special telescopes at vistas or complete certain jumps to earn additional Fire Tributes. The player can also find monuments they can raise that unlock an additional heavy metal song from the game's soundtrack that can be played on the Deuce's radio, "The Mouth of Metal"; the player can further customize which songs to hear from those they have been rewarded with or have collected.

Several main story missions of the game are "stage battles" based on real time strategy elements that make up the game's multiplayer mode. The player, while still in control of Eddie, is required to defend a giant stage where new units will spawn, either while holding out until the enemy's attack is completed or after completing a specific objective. The player creates an army for attacks by building merchandise booths on "fan geysers" through Clementine's magic. Once enough fans are collected, the player can summon different units, each consuming a specific number of fans, or upgrade their stage to allow them to produce more powerful units. A character known as Mangus acts as the "sound guy" to help in the construction of these units and stage upgrades, and also warns the player of enemy attacks. Once the player has collected their army, they can then seek out to attack their opponents using their army as minions or directly with the main character. Eddie is able to control the entire army to follow, attack, or defend a point, and can use specialized squads of specific units to perform certain tasks, such as having a group of headbangers use their headbanging to destroy statues. Ultimately, Eddie transforms into a winged demon who can fly above the battlefields to issue orders or lay out attacks. Other spells in Eddie's arsenal can help control the performance of his armies, such as temporarily buffing their attack skills or creating a rally flag which troops will gather at. Each of the different units, including special allies that Eddie meets in the game, has a special co-op move they can perform with Eddie; for example, Eddie's first ally, Ophelia, can be tossed at foes by Eddie in the style of the Fastball Special. These co-op moves are also available outside of Stage Battle missions.

The game has a multiplayer mode, described by Schafer as "your typical head-to-head, battle of the bands scenario. But with axes." The multiplayer modes are team-based and play in the same manner as the single-player Stage Battles, with team sizes from one-verses-one to four-verses-four. Each team selects from one of three factions which affect what resources and troops they can summon, and are tasked with defending their stage from attack by the other team. The three factions available are Ironheade, mostly human-based troops led by Eddie Riggs; The Drowning Doom, with more Goth/Black Metal creatures led by Ophelia; and The Tainted Coil, evil creatures controlled by Doviculus. Each player controls a single main avatar who has the same abilities as in the main game for combat and magic spells and can also fly about the map, but also is in control of troops that they may summon from the team's shared resources—fans as generated by fan geysers across the map. Different types of troops are available, costing various amounts of fans to summon, with the potential to upgrade to improved units through different routes. The number and types of troops that can be summoned is limited by a cap to prevent either team from becoming too overpowered. All of the troops can be engaged by the player to initiate various "Double Team" moves as with the single player game. The game can also be played by a single player with AI bots at one of five difficulty levels.



Eddie Riggs faces off against a Grim Reaper in Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend follows the story of Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black and named after Eddie the Head, the mascot of Iron Maiden, and Derek Riggs, the artist who created Eddie), who is the world's best roadie for the world's worst "heavy metal" band, Kabbage Boy. Much of the game takes place in a world inspired by heavy metal music, created by, according to the game's mythology, Ormagöden, The Fire Beast, Cremator of the Sky, and Destroyer of the Ancient World. In this alternate world, the human race is enslaved by Doviculus, Emperor of the Tainted Coil, (voiced by Tim Curry) and his glam metal human minion, General Lionwhyte (voiced by Rob Halford) (whose hair is so big "and luscious" that he uses it to fly). Leading the fight against Doviculus are a small band of human resistance fighters with whom Eddie joins forces: Lars Halford (voiced by Zach Hanks), his sister Lita (voiced by Kath Soucie), and Ophelia (voiced by Jennifer Hale), whom Eddie takes a romantic interest in. Their group is later joined by the stage manager Mangus (Alex Fernandez), the bass-playing healer Kill Master (voiced by Lemmy Kilmister), the motorcycle-riding Fire Baron (also voiced by Halford), and the Amazonian Rima (voiced by Lita Ford). Also supporting Eddie is the Guardian of Metal (voiced by Ozzy Osbourne) that assists in upgrading his equipment.


During a gig for Kabbage Boy, one of its band members nearly falls off the set, but is caught by Eddie. However, a piece of the set falls on Eddie, causing his blood to land on his cursed belt buckle, in reality an amulet for Ormagöden. The buckle magically transforms the stage set into Ormagöden. The beast kills the members of Kabbage Boy and transports Eddie into the heavy metal world. Awakening at the Temple of Ormagöden, Eddie joins forces with Ophelia to defeat Doviculus' troops. Ophelia is amazed that Eddie is able to make sense of the writings of the Titans in the Temple, with which he constructs a hot-rod, the Druid Plow (afterwards referred to as the Deuce). She directs Eddie towards Bladehenge, where the leaders of a small human resistance group, Lars and Lita, are attempting to assemble an army to fight Lionwhyte. When Eddie reveals his understanding of the Titan's writing, the group see him as a "chosen one", though they are unsure if he is the savior or destroyer of the world.

Eddie helps Lars to free the headbangers to form the core of their army, which he dubs "Ironheade", while Ophelia attempts to rescue female slaves from Lionwhyte's Pleasure tower; though successful, Ophelia is badly injured in the process. They seek the help of the Kill Master, who is able to cure Ophelia with Eddie's help and joins Ironheade's cause. After defending Bladehenge from Lionwhyte's attack, Eddie decides that Ironheade needs to go on tour and attack Lionwhyte directly. They attack him at his Pleasure Dome. The siege is successful, and Lionwhyte is killed by falling glass. However, as they celebrate, Doviculus appears, sending the group into hiding. Doviculus is aware of the presence of his spy "Succoria", smelling her blood as it was at the Temple of Ormagöden, leading the group to believe that Ophelia is Succoria. Lars attempts to confront Doviculus, but Doviculus kills him before causing the Palace to fall into ruins. Ironheade is forced to escape and find shelter in the mountains. Eddie abandons Ophelia, despite still being in love with her; Ophelia, heartbroken, sheds a black tear as Eddie drives away.

Three months later, Ironheade's mountain base is attacked by the "Drowning Doom", a group of goth figures controlled by a transformed Ophelia, who had swam in the Sea of Black Tears and has sided with Doviculus. Eddie believes they must face Ophelia directly at the Sea to end her attacks. En route, they gain the assistance of the Fire Baron and his chopper crew, and Rima, queen of the beast-riding Zaulia. Ruins in Rima's lands reveal that Eddie's father was originally a warrior from this time, known as Riggnarok, and had battled the demons before, and than traveled into the future to try to find the secrets of the Titans. Ironheade defeats Ophelia's army, and Eddie tries to rationalize with her, though she continue to assert that she was not Doviculus' spy. Doviculus arrives and confirms that Ophelia is not Succoria; Succoria is the name of the previous Demon Emperor, an even more vicious overlord, and Eddie's mother. It is revealed that Succoria traveled forward in time to learn the secrets uncovered by a future generation of demons. Riggnarok traveled with her, planning to assassinate, but after she is thrown in to despair upon learning that humans, not demons rule the future, they became romantically close, falling in love and giving birth to Eddie. As such, Eddie's blood runs deep with Succoria's presence. When Eddie was transported to the past, he unlocked the Titans' knowledge, which Doviculus and the Tainted Coil has now used to create their own forces to take over the world. No longer needing the Drowning Doom, who are all but obliterated, Doviculus rips out Ophelia's heart and places it in his own body, giving him more power and causing Ophelia's body to dissipate. Eddie and Ironheade fight off Doviculus' forces, and Eddie eventually confronts and decapitates Doviculus. On recovering Ophelia's heart, he finds it contains an necklace he had given her earlier while they were in love. As he escapes from the Sea of Black Tears, he spots Ophelia as her original self, on the sea floor, and rescues her. The two reaffirm their love for each other as Ironheade celebrates.

Ironheade returns to Bladehenge and a monument to Lars is unveiled, while Lita is hailed as a hero. Eddie insists on maintaining his "roadie" presence, staying behind the scenes and making others look good. After he promises he isn't leaving to his assembled friends, Eddie takes off to complete a few errands, with Ophelia watching as he drives off into the sunset, shedding a single black tear.


Creator Tim Schafer has said that he has been a heavy metal music fan since high school, and roadies have long fascinated him. Schafer says: "The name was one of the very first things I thought of, over fifteen years ago. I was riding a bus, thinking about a game that would be the complete opposite of what we were working on, The Secret of Monkey Island. And Brütal Legend leapt into my head. I've been hanging on to that name ever since." The idea behind the game first came to Schafer about fifteen years prior to its release, but its core concepts did not completely come together until after the completion of Psychonauts; when he presented his idea for the game to the team, they became excited at the concept and decided to make that their next title.

Part of the game's inspiration came from the fantasy worlds that the lyrics and album covers of metal bands implied but rarely made it to music videos, thus allowing Brütal Legend to "fulfill the promise" of such lore. Schafer also credits a Megadeth roadie named Tony he once met as having given him the idea to make a game about a roadie, with the character of Eddie Riggs becoming a re-imagined version of him. Schafer had previously explored the idea of a roadie sent back in time with the character of Hoagie from Day of the Tentacle, but Brütal Legend represented an opportunity to expand on it further. The 2003 movie School of Rock also reminded Schafer of his idea for Brütal Legend, and made him more excited to publish it. Double Fine's philosophy on game development was also another reason for Brütal Legend's creation, as Schafer has stated that his team attempts to make each game radically different from the company's previous release, contrasting Brütal Legend to Psychonauts. Schafer stated that the commercial tie-ins of Brütal Legend, such as "hot babes and Jack Black", is due to this philosophy and not due to market pressures. Schafer was not concerned about the commercial success of Brütal Legend, as despite poor sales of Psychonauts, "as long as you make a cool game, publishers want to talk to you". When Schafer was pitching the game before 2006, he received feedback about changing the game's style to hip hop or country. He credits Harmonix Music Systems for helping to shift the gaming landscape through the release of the widely successful Guitar Hero with a soundtrack that heavily emphasized metal music; with the popularity of Guitar Hero, the metal approach in Brütal Legend was readily accepted.

Schafer has pointed out that there are music term inspired attacks, such as a "Face-Melting" guitar solo, which literally will melt the foe's faces off. Schafer has also commented that there will be a lot of Rock and Roll music references in the game, such as the term "Axe" for a guitar, which inspired Eddie Riggs' weapon, a literal axe. The metal/motorcyclist lifestyles and Norse mythology also inspired the game's open-world environments, such as amps carved into the face of a mountain, a forest where tires replace leaves, giant axes and swords piercing the ground, spandex covered temples, and mining facilities where human slaves excavated car and motorcycle parts. However, Schafer noted that they attempted to make sure that non-metal fans would be able to get the jokes as well.

Art design

The art style for the game was based on the work of Frank Frazetta and inspired by heavy metal and rock album covers. The team only considered the addition of elements to the artwork if they felt it would be something that could be seen on such covers. The setting includes hot rod-like engines that grow from the earth like a "V8 Truffle Of Speed", with design inspired by the designs of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. The art team wanted to avoid creating "another brown-gray game", and strove to use the wide color palettes that are associated with heavy metal art. Cut-scenes in the game will use the game's engine, though some pre-recorded scenes from the engine have also been prepared with the help of Tasha Harris, a former Pixar employee and who helped to animate character's faces during cutscenes.

The game features over 80 unique characters in addition to the main protagonist, Eddie Riggs. Initial designs for Riggs was modeled after Lemmy Kilmister, and though the model was changed, the signature vest, tour pass and cigarette of the character remained part of the character design. As they continued to develop the character, they began to add more aspects of Black's character, an "enthusiastic fan" of music, from School of Rock. Ultimately, Riggs' design became to be half Jack Black and half Glenn Danzig. The art team was able to use videos of Black's performances to add additional features to the character, such as "all his crazy eyebrow stuff he does". General Lionwhyte, who has "fabulous hair", and his minions are based on the glam metal fad of the 1980s which displaced heavy metal to the disappointment of Schafer and other development team members, and became the opponents of the game. To help create a more mature game with concepts that could be used to pitch the game, the art team created several factions that represented different parts of the heavy metal experience. Each faction had their own "exaggerated, simplified shapes and strong silhouettes" as to help distinguish each faction while also reducing the development costs. Inspirations for such factions include Nordic imagery, goth metal, and the artwork of Hieronymus Bosch. Additional characters include headbangers, "gravediggers", and "battle nuns". As the game features over two hours of spoken dialog, the art team wants to make the characters' faces and performances stand out, creating "clean, easy-to-read faces". The team had to change from their initial cartoony textures into more detailed ones that stood out on high-definition displays while exaggerating other features of the characters.

Characters and voice acting

In addition to Black, Lemmy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford, The Runaways' Lita Ford, and Ozzy Osbourne provide character voices. Though Eddie came to resemble Black, the team had not planned on having Jack Black voice the character. After learning that Black was a fan of Schafer's previous game, Psychonauts, they met with the actor/musician and recognized he was an avid gamer and understood all the choices the team made in the game, and subsequently signed on for the voice work. Lemmy was brought on board to play The Killmaster after Schafer and his team had developed the character's role in the story who assists Eddie by healing his allies through a giant bass harp on the back of a chopper. The original character, a man with a top hat and beard, was considered out of place by Schafer, leading him to consider famous bass guitar players and quickly recognizing the need to have Lemmy play that role. Halford plays two characters, General Lionwhyte and The Baron. Schafer had selected Lionwhyte to capture Halford's ability to scream, and found his abilities in the studio beyond what they expected. They created The Baron character specifically for Halford, as while Lionwhyte was considered a "heavy metal Stewie [from Family Guy]", that character was the complete opposite of Halford, while The Baron captures both Halford and Judas Priest's attitude. Ford voices Rima, queen of a group of "Amazon-like jungle women"; Schafer considered the similarities between the lack of clothing that Rima was designed with and Ford's outfits from the 1980s, staying true to the development teams' memories of her. Osbourne plays The Guardian of Metal who helps the player upgrade their equipment; Schafer commented that both the character and Osbourne, while dark and brooding, are "really upbeat" and "optimistic".

Though Ronnie James Dio of Dio had performed parts for the game, his role was replaced with voice work from Tim Curry. While the change was speculated to be due to tense issues between Osbourne and Dio, Schafer noted that as Dio's intended character, "Doviculus, Emperor of the Tainted Coil", grew, they found that Curry fit the role better for the part, citing Curry's role of the Lord of Darkness in the film Legend as a key factor. Curry considered the role "perfect" for him when Schafer described Doviculus to him as "big and tough, but also has this kinky side who, when hit with an ax, might scream in pain or squeal with delight".

Similar to their experience with bringing Black onto the project, obtaining the voicework of the metal artists were also unexpected but beneficial. This led to some comedic and confusing voice recording sessions; both Lita Ford and Rob Halford had amusing difficulties with lines involving a character named "Lita Halford". Furthermore, both Black and Osbourne frequently injected profanity into their scripted lines during recording sessions. Instead of rerecording these, the development left these in the game, but included the option for a profanity content filter to be enabled by the player to "bleep" out these words and mask such word on screen using the Parents Music Resource Center "Parental Advisory" label, an icon that Schafer considered to be part of the history of heavy metal. A similar filter exists for gore in the game, preventing any dismemberment and disabling blood in the game. Schafer stated the filters were added to the game in considering of older players that may not wish to see such aspects, or for parents who opt to play the game with younger children. During development, Schafer stated that while he could not confirm what other musicians and bands would be in the game, there would be more than already stated, and that these musicians were "especially conducive to character creation" due to the amount of theatrics used in their concert shows.

Kyle Gass, Black's collaborator with Tenacious D, voices a neurotic cannon operator in the game. Comedians David Cross, Steve Agee and Brian Posehn have also provided voice work for the game; Posehn had previously worked with Schafer on their high school newspaper. David Sobolov has also been confirmed as a voice actor for other roles in the game; Sobolov noted that he recorded his lines separate from Black's despite his characters' having direct interaction with Riggs. Richard Horvitz, who voiced protagonist Raz in Schafer's previous game, Psychonauts, cameos as the lead guitarist of Kabbage Boy and as a car-lift operator that assigns Eddie certain side missions. Further voice acting work has been provided by veteran video game actors such as Zach Hanks, Kath Soucie, and Jennifer Hale.


Brütal Legend features 107 heavy metal tracks from 75 different bands, selected by Schafer and Music Director Emily Ridgway as listed below, each song being a "completely sincere choice" by Schafer and Ridgway, with the whole track list being "designed to be loved by Metal fans." Schafer sought to include songs from most main sub-genres of metal, including classic heavy metal, industrial metal, and doom metal, with each faction in the game favoring a specific type. Though Schafer and others on the Double Fine team had vast knowledge of specific types of metal, Ridgway turned to a used-CD store owner named Allan from Aquarius Records who had "encyclopedic knowledge" of the entire genre, and who provided the team with sample CDs to help them discover some of the more obscure metal bands. Schafer also credits Black with some of the music selections for the game.

Instead of relying on labels or bands to provide them with a list of possible songs to select from, the development team sought permission to use specific songs they wanted in the game. In some cases, obtaining appropriate licensing proved difficult, as for songs from bands that had long split up, Double Fine needed to contact each band member to gain permission. This proved to be valuable, as some original bands were excited about their music being used in the game; in one case, Lita Ford was able to provide the game with a song with slight modifications to the lyrics from a version that she was about to release. One song is from the in-game band "Kabbage Boy" for which Eddie is a roadie at the start of the game.

Song Artist
"A Serpentine Crave" Bishop of Hexen
"Ad Noctis" Rotting Christ
"Am I Evil?" Diamond Head
"Angel Witch" Angel Witch
"Angels Don't Kill" Children of Bodom
"Assault Attack" Michael Schenker Group
"Back at the Funny Farm" Motörhead
"Battle Angels" Sanctuary
"Battle Hymn/One Shot at Glory" Judas Priest
"Believer" Ozzy Osbourne
"Betrayal" Lita Ford
"Birth of the Hero" Tvangeste
"Blackout" Scorpions
"Blitzkrieg" Deathstars
"Bomber" Girlschool
"Breadfan" Budgie
"Cathode Ray Sunshine" Dark Tranquillity
"Children of the Grave" Black Sabbath
"Crack the Skye (Instrumental)" Mastodon
"Cremation" King Diamond
"Cry of the Banshee" Brocas Helm
"Dawn of Battle" Manowar
"Deadly Sinners" 3 Inches of Blood
"Destroy the Orcs" 3 Inches of Blood
"Diary of a Madman" Ozzy Osbourne
"Die For Metal" Manowar
"Dr. Feelgood" Mötley Crüe
"Drink the Blood of the Priest" Brocas Helm
"Fast as a Shark" Accept
"For the Glory Of" Testament
"Free Your Hate" KMFDM
"Frost" Enslaved
"Girlfriend" Kabbage Boy
"God of Thunder" Kiss
"Goliaths Disarm Their Davids" In Flames
"Hall of the Mountain King" Savatage
"Her Ghost in the Fog" Cradle of Filth
"High Speed Dirt" Megadeth
"Holiday" Scorpions
"Ignisis Dance" Wrath of Killenstein
"In the Black" Motörhead
"Insomnia" Dark Fortress
"Kickstart My Heart" Mötley Crüe
"Lay It Down" Ratt
"Leather Rebel" Judas Priest
"Live Wire" Mötley Crüe
"Loke" Enslaved
"Love Dump" Static-X
"Machine Gunn Eddie" Nitro
"March of the Crabs" Anvil
"Marching Off to War" Motörhead
"Master Exploder" Tenacious D
"Murmaider" Dethklok
"Metal Church" Metal Church
"Metal Storm/Face the Slayer" Slayer
"Metal Thrashing Mad" Anthrax
"More Than Meets the Eye" Testament
"Mr. Crowley" Ozzy Osbourne
"Mr. Scary" Dokken
"Narita" Riot
"Never Say Die" Black Sabbath
"Nightstalker" Cloven Hoof
"No Love Lost" Carcass
"Oblivion (Instrumental)" Mastodon
"Overnight Sensation" FireHouse
"Painkiller" Judas Priest
"Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" Dimmu Borgir
"Pure Evil" Iced Earth
"Queen of Desire" Ostrogoth
"Queen of the Masquerade" Crimson Glory
"Riding the Storm" Running Wild
"Rip the System" KMFDM
"Road Racin" Riot
"Rock Bottom" UFO
"Rock of Ages" Def Leppard
"Skeleton on your Shoulder" Coroner
"Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" Prong
"So Frail" Mirrorthrone
"Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery" Skeletonwitch
"Stigmata" Ministry
"Still of the Night" Whitesnake
"Sulphur Injection" Apostasy
"Superbeast" Rob Zombie
"Swords and Tequila" Riot
"Symptom of the Universe" Black Sabbath
"Tag Team" Anvil
"Technical Difficulties" Racer X
"The Axeman" Omen
"The Beautiful People" Marilyn Manson
"The Hellion/Electric Eye" Judas Priest
"The Metal" Tenacious D
"The Somber Grounds of Truth" Bishop of Hexen
"The Wild and the Young" Quiet Riot
"Thieves" Ministry
"Through the Fire and Flames" DragonForce
"Thus Spake the Nightspirit" Emperor
"Tornado of Souls" Megadeth
"Warriors Dawn" Slough Feg
"(We Are) the Road Crew" Motörhead
"Welcome Home" King Diamond
"Wheels of Steel" Saxon
"When the Night Falls" Iced Earth
"Witches" Candlemass
"World of Hurt" Overkill
"Y.R.O." Racer X
"Youth Gone Wild" Skid Row
"Zoom Club" Budgie

In addition to licensed music, the game includes over 70 minutes of original score by Tim Schafer's long term collaborator Peter McConnell. McConnell composed pieces for orchestra and Metal band to tie in with the licensed music in the game.

The song "The Mob Rules" by Black Sabbath was used in the first trailer for the game and "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe in the first story trailer for the game. The songs "The Hellion", "Screaming for Vengeance", and "Leather Rebel" by Judas Priest are used on Brütal Legend's website. "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head was used on the E3 2009 trailer. In a recent 17 minute trailer with commentary from Tim Schafer, Motörhead's song "Back at the Funny Farm" and "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath was played over one scene in the first mission. Also at the end of a few trailers "Pure Evil" by Iced Earth is heard playing.

While Schafer would like to have a soundtrack album for the game, he stated that there were already difficulties in securing the licenses for songs within the game and was not sure if it would be possible to extend them to a soundtrack. Schafer helped to select three songs—"We Are The Road Crew" by Motorhead, "The Metal" by Tenacious D, and "More Than Meets The Eye" by Testament—to appear in a pack of Rock Band downloadable songs that was made available the same day as Brütal Legend's release.

Development history

According to Schafer, Brütal Legend has been in development since 2005, prior to the completion of Psychonauts. Schafer noted that in Psychonauts, they attempted to bring together a lot of assets, including characters and environments, but were not able to successfully integrate them on their first attempt and had to start over on the development of some. In contrast, Schafer stated that they begin the development with the character of Eddie, and recognizing what he should be doing in the game—specifically, swinging around his axe, playing his guitar, and driving his hot rod. Once they found this combination of elements to work well in combat and general gameplay, they were able to expand out the rest of the game from there, as these elements provided a means of testing the game to make sure it remained enjoyable. The first major feature developed for the game was the multiplayer element, given that no previous game from Double Fine had included this feature, and was the highest risk element to the game. The multiplayer was developed with its core as a real-time strategy game based on Herzog Zwei, though simplified to focus more on an action-style game than on strategy. With the multiplayer aspects completed, Double Fine was then able to tailor the single player campaign as a tutorial for the multiplayer experience. Following the multiplayer element was the development of the "streaming world", also an element the team had no prior experience with. Schafer has stated that the development team tried to figure out how guitar controllers from Guitar Hero or Rock Band could be used with the game, but determined there was no good way for players to switch from a standard controller to the guitar controller and back, and thus have "no plans" to include support for these controllers in the game. .Players who preorder the game through GameStop will be able unlock a special promotional in-game guitar designed in conjunction with Black's band Tenacious D, and includes voices provided by both Black and Kyle Gass.

During the period when Brütal Legend s fate was unclear, Schafer was not able to talk about the project to avoid causing problems with any potential business deals, until EA Partners picked up the game for its 2009 release during December 2008. However, even when the fate of the publication of the game was unsure, the team continued to work on its development. EA CEO John Riccitiello, when asked about EA picking up Brütal Legend for distribution prior to December 2008, commented that "Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products".

When rumors of a possible Wii port arose in March 2009, Schafer stated that "We are making an Xbox 360 and a PS3 version of Brütal Legend." However, according to Ben Fritz at Variety, another studio has been engaged by Electronic Arts to bring the game to the Wii, albeit at a later date than the other console versions, suggesting that it may follow the same model as Dead Space: Extraction, a Wii title scheduled to be released about a year after Dead Space's first release. However, further industry rumors, which claimed that the Wii version was being done by Electronic Arts in-house, have stated that the effort to port the game to the Wii has been canceled due to quality and technical concerns. There is presently no planned PC version of the game, as Schafer has stated that the game is primarily an action game and "meant to be on a console".


The game's release in October 2009 was promoted as "Rocktober" in official literature about the game from Electronic Arts. At the 2009 Download Festival in Donington Parkmarker in Englandmarker, Electronic Arts arranged for 440 fans of Brütal Legend to help to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of air guitar players, all simultaneously playing to "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead.

A series of short online videos featuring Black (and Schafer in two instances), entitled "Brutal Thoughts with Jack Black", have been used to promote the game since May 2009. At the 2009 Video Music Awards, Black appeared in cosplay as Eddie to promote the game.

A promotional concert for the game was held at the 2009 Comic-Con International Convention in July 2009, and featured the metal artists Gwar, 3 Inches of Blood, Unholy Pink, and Keith Morris. It has also been announced that Brutal Legend is the official sponsor of the 2009 Mastodon/Dethklok tour. Schafer appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on October 2, 2009 to promote the game. Black appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 14, 2009, dressed as Eddie Riggs and staying in character during his interview.

A demo version of the game was made available on the Xbox 360 Marketplace and PlayStation Network Store; it was available for a limited time on September 17, 2009 for North American users who had pre-ordered the product through GameStop. The demo became available to all Xbox Live Gold users on September 24, 2009, and to Xbox Live Silver users and all PlayStation 3 users the following week. The demo is based on the game's beginning, showing Eddie's arrival and his encounters up until the first boss character fight.

Publishing issues

Brütal Legend was originally to be published by Vivendi Games' subsidiary Sierra Entertainment. In 2008, Activision merged with Vivendi's game division (which included Blizzard Entertainment) to become Activision Blizzard, gaining the rights to publication of Brütal Legend. Upon evaluation of their assets, Activision Blizzard chose to drop Brütal Legend along with several other games, leaving the project in limbo. Industry rumors suggested that Electronic Arts was interested in publishing the property, and it was confirmed in December 2008 that Electronic Arts would publish the game. During the period when Brütal Legend s fate was unclear, Schafer was not able to talk about the project to avoid causing problems with any potential business deals.

In February 2009, Activision Blizzard had asserted that the Electronic Arts deal is invalid, believing that they were still in negotiations with Double Fine to publish the game. It is believed that Activision was seeking monetary compensation in a similar manner as it received from Atari for Ghostbusters: The Video Game and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, games that were dropped when Activision Blizzard re-evaluated their assets. On June 4, 2009, Activision filed suit to prevent publishing of the game, claiming that they had invested $15 million in the title and still had a valid contract to release the game. Activision's suit also contends that Double Fine had missed a deadline for the game last year, requesting more time and an additional $7 million in development fees. Activision's considers both the loss of the money they spent on the game as well as potential sales and Brütal Legend-related merchandise as part of the harm done in the lawsuit.

In July 2009, Double Fine issued a countersuit against Activision, citing that the latter company had abandoned the project before, and is trying to harm Brütal Legend during its critical marketing phase, as well as trying to protect its Guitar Hero franchise. The countersuit stated that Activision had dropped the game after its merger with Vivendi and a failed attempt to convert the game into a Guitar Hero sequel.

In late July, the presiding judge, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan, reported that a preliminary ruling that could have affected the game's release would be given on August 6, 2009, with Karlan tentatively ready to deny Activision's motion to delay the game. However, prior to the ruling, the companies announced they had reached an out-of-court settlement on the lawsuits, though details were not available.

Post-release support

The first batch of downloadable content, named "Tears of the Hextadon", was released on November 3, 2009 for the Xbox 360 and November 5, 2009 for the PlayStation 3. It retails for 400 Microsoft Points for the Xbox 360 and will be available for free on the PlayStation Network until November 19, 2009. The "Tears of the Hextadon" Map Pack includes two new maps: "The Circle Of Tears", set outside of a chapel surrounded by the Sea of Black Tears, and "Death's Fjord", set in a snowy mountain fjord. It also includes a new battle axe for the single player campaign, named "The Blade Of Ormagöden".

Tim Schafer has also stated they have "something awesome" planned for downloadable content after the game's release.


Brütal Legend received positive response from gaming journalists, with reviewers praising the story and characters of the game, driven vocal performances of the voice actors, particularly Black and Osbourne. Daemon Hatfield of IGN felt Black was "completely committed" to the role of Riggs, while Giant Bomb's Ryan Davis found it reliving that Black reined in his typical "loud-talking heavy-metal goofball" act that he is known for and instead performed well, "bringing just the right amount of working-man's matter-of-fact-ness to the role". Osbourne's role was considered "amazing (and surprisingly coherent)" by Gamespot's Giancarlo Varanini and "played brilliantly" by Computer and Video Games Adnrew Kelly. The full cast was commended for their roles; the heavy metal legends were effective at playing themselves in the game, while the other voice talent performed well and "[did] their part to balance out the star power" in the game. The strength of the characters was considered to be enhanced by the quality of writing of the story, and the use of facial animation. Eurogamer's Christian Donlan considered the characters of Brütal Legend to be the strongest aspect to the game, distancing the title from other video games due "rounded, personable leads who are distinctly superior to the usual throngs of cybermen and super-vixens", and a facet of Schafer's signature work. Wired's Chris Kohler further attested the strength of the game's story to Schafer's skill, considering that "After Brütal Legend, he should be considered one of the best storytellers in gaming, period."'s Justin Haywald noted that the game lacks the the ability to review cut-scenes, forcing the player to restart the story if they wanted to see these again.

The heavy metal-inspired world of Brütal Legend was also well received, and considered to show a clear reverence for the genre. Gerald Villoria of Gamespy considered the game to be "dedicated to an unabashed love of metal" and "heavy metal fan-service to the highest degree". Davis believed that the juxtaposition of all the elements that made up the heavy metal fantasy world were the game's greatest strength, often being "both giddily ridiculous and fist-pumpingly badass" at the same time. Critics found that while the graphics for the game may not be the most sophisticated for the current console generation, the detailed art aspects of the world were impressive; Varanini considered that "no matter where you are in the world, there's always some cool object to look at", while Donlan considered the world to be a "constant unfolding delight". The incorporation of heavy metal music into the game also benefited the game. Both Kelly and Villoria considered the soundtrack essential to the game, and praised the moments where specific songs, such as Dragonforce's "Through the Fire and Flames" would be used as background music during specific game sequences. Kelly further praised the game for using the songs to define the action of the game instead of relegated to random background music. Villoria also considered the soundtrack to have "enormous breadth of sound and diversity", introducing the player to heavy metal genres they may not know have existed. G4TV's Jake Gaskill considered listening to the soundtrack to be the equivalent of "taking a class in heavy metal appreciation."

The actual gameplay was seen as Brütal Legend's largest weakness. Many reviewers were critical of the incorporation of real-time strategy (RTS) elements into the game, a fact that was not well advertised prior to the game's release and can remain elusive even a few hours into the game. Though Schafer had set out to make the console-based game like an RTS from the start, reviewers found that the game was still difficult to play on a console due to the selected controls that made it difficult to target objectives or troops, the lack of a mini-map to track friends and foes, and the frantic pace of battle. Critics did appreciate the slow introduction to the various aspects of the game as part of the single player game, but felt the game still left out portions of the RTS aspects, such as the ability to mount a final stand on one's stage, that would have been helpful to know. Some also considered the single-player campaign Stage Battles to be too easy, winnable by brute force, and that more advanced tactics would only become apparent as one played in multiplayer games, including learning the abilities and advantages of the other units of the factions other than Ironheade. The mix of gaming genres between the RTS and third-person action was found particularly confusing; Kohler commented that the handling of the individual genres was accomplished well, leading to "an astoundingly complex design instead of a simple one" that diminished the enjoyment of the game, while Davis considered that "perhaps there wasn't enough confidence in any one piece to let it carry the whole game". However, some felt that the various genres helped to create "a variety of gameplay opportunities", and made for "rather elegant" Stage Battles.

Gameplay outside of the Stage Battles was also met with mixed impressions. Most considered the side missions highly repetitive, and included missions types that are generally disliked by gamers, such as escort missions. The lack of a mini-map, replaced by either following a glowing light from the sky illuminating the player's target or though watching the Deuce's turn signals, was criticized, making it difficult to explore the game's world. The information about the world that players can access the in the game's pause menu was also found to be lack, showing neither the collectible elements of the game on the main map, nor easily identifying the alliance of the various troops in the in-game guidebook. Though Eddie gains the ability to fly during Stage Battles, the inability to use this or to make the character jump led to reviewers getting the character stuck on the landscape at times when exploring. Some reviewers found the number of progress checkpoints in the game to be lacking, requiring the player to repeat a long mission if they should die before reaching one. The single-player game was also considered to be short, lasting as little as four hours if one only completed the main story missions.

According to the NPD Group, Brutal Legend sold approximately 215,000 copies in the United States in the month of October 2009, with about 150,000 copies being for the Xbox 360 platform, making it the 12th top selling game in that month. These numbers were not considered to be strong, and was attributed to the difficult marketing of the game, which emphasized Jack Black's involvement and the heavy metal nature of the game, but did not assert what the gameplay would actually be like, with the possibility that the mention of the RTS elements of the game would have possibly driven more players away from the game.

See also

  • Full Throttle, an earlier Tim Schafer game featuring bikers and heavy metal music.
  • Sacrifice, a Shiny Entertainment PC game using a similar concept of a 3rd person RTS game.


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