Music and Action!
Johnny Whatever is a story-driven, mission-based game set in a
living city (New London) where you control Johnny in his
fight against the oppressive Iron Lady and her minions.
Based out of The Station in underground Lower
London, Roland Clockworks dispatches Johnny to create
anarchy, destroy the Iron Lady’s mustard plants,
and fight her armies in an attempt to save his band mates
and free the minds of the people.
Most everything in the world of Johnny Whatever can
be affected by music.
Johnny is equipped with an upgraded guitar which
manifests his unmatched guitar prowess into spectacular
colored waves of electromagnetic impulses. As Johnny, players interact with a
multitude of elements and challenges with music.
Click on any of the links below to
get a more detailed description of any of the following
Note: The following game elements are described
from a prototype perspective and are likely to evolve
over the life of the project.
The Living City
The world of Johnny Whatever is a
living, breathing, interactive stage!
Johnny Whatever is set in a futuristic vision of London where
sound and music play a paramount role.
This living, breathing city is the stage for all
of Johnny’s adventures as his guitar’s thundering
message of freedom echoes to its every corner.
Players are free to explore its vast industrial
sprawl and many back-alleyways. They will discover and interact with
a multitude of elements dealing with sound, music and
action in any order their chance encounter or mission-motivated
adventuring leads them.
This fantastic vision of futuristic
London is divided
into 3 zones, each with a distinct look and
feel. Each of these
"zones" has a central hub that Johnny may freely
move around. This hub contains things like a store,
and a music club where Johnny can hone his guitar skills
and compete in various mini-games. These three hubs
branch out into various levels that are far more linear in
their approach. Much like Legend of Zelda, or Jak
and Daxter II, the player will branch out in any
particular order and complete levels to move into the next
"sandbox" hub. Furthermore, there are
plenty of activities to keep the player busy in the
central area. Freeing citizens and destroying Robo-bobbies
are something the player can always do to in the central
city. By obtaining power-ups and new abilities in certain
missions, the player gains the necessary skills to reach
new areas within the hub. Once the Hub is completed
(up to a certain level) the player may enter the final
boss fight and move on to the next hub.
Citizens of both Upper and Lower London roam
the City’s streets and navigate its roadways under
AI control. Meanwhile
the Iron Lady’s goons are on unending patrol in
search of anyone whose will won’t bend to the power
of the Ministry of Inspiration… someone like Johnny
How Johnny interacts with the environment
will alter the way the roaming citizens, free thinkers
and robot foes behave around him.
Some buildings can be entered or broken into with
the power of Johnny’s guitar.
Buildings may house wares to collect, characters
to interact with, Robo-Bobby stockpiles or venues of the
underground music scene where Johnny can take center-stage.
On the outside, windows can be shattered with shrill-pitched
solos, shop signs broken off their hinges and masonry
crumbled with low-rumbling bass melodies, all for Johnny
to use to his advantage in the battle against the evil
The following are examples of some
of the interactive elements players will discover as they
explore the environments:
- Storm Drains
– Hopping down a storm drain instantly returns
Johnny to his home base “The Station” where
he can power up his guitar, record some custom combo
riffs for battle or travel to another station.
- Traffic Lights
– Johnny’s guitar can be used to manipulate
traffic signals. Red colored notes crackle out of the
guitar to connect with red traffic lights, changing
them to green and causing collisions or ushering away
vehicles that block alleys where power-ups or mission
goals are hiding.
With music Johnny can alter the flow of traffic
in the living city.
- Street Lights
– Tinted street
lights can be shot out with the appropriate colored
music, causing high-voltage electric explosions to rain
down on the city streets, dealing damage to any unsuspecting
- Mustard Mains and
Hydrants – Sonically sealed mustard pipes can
be blasted open with a powerful sequence of guitar strokes,
drowning Bobbies in their own goop, scattering citizens
and slowing traffic as mustard floods the street.
- Boxes, Crates,
Barrels etc… - Utilizing
the Havoc physics engine, New
London is made into a virtual playground.
Everything that’s not nailed down can be
Johnny Whatever’s controller
layout is intended to allow players to navigate the
world and combat the Iron Royals intuitively and effortlessly. One item of interest is the way the
musical notes have been mapped to the buttons. Careful attention was paid to music
Whatever’s musical layout takes a “DVORAK”
approach, where the most used notes are put on the fastest
keys; additionally just about any combination of the
primary keys will yield a pleasant sounding tune.
Combat in Johnny Whatever is designed
to be both visually and audibly impressive!
guitar (Nancy), which
was given to him by the Queen’s royal gadget inventor
Roland Clockworks, manifests his unparalleled guitar
prowess into waves of destruction.
Players call forth a variety of guitar power
chords in the form of spectacular colored
waves of light which emanate from the guitar's positronic
wave amplifier. Each of these chords is mapped to one
of the Xbox controller’s primary 4 buttons. Players can then get at secondary chords
using the controller’s left trigger or cycle through
the many effects pedals using the D-pad.
Players control Johnny with the left
analog stick. Just
like players are free to engage enemies in any order
they wish, they are also free to navigate through the
world in any direction they choose. This is important because during combat,
players can maneuver around the environment to gain
tactical advantages as well as dodge incoming enemy
attacks. Dodging is accomplished with a simple
double tap of the left analog stick. Johnny moves faster than most of the
enemies he will encounter, allowing players to break
out of combat or avoid potentially disastrous scenarios.
While rampaging through Lower
London, players will be blasting out destructive chords.
Each chord has a corresponding color, for
instance, the E chord is mapped to the controller’s
A button and will emanate a fantastic green wave of
musical annihilation. Many of the Iron Lady’s goons
have shields that protect them against various types
of sonic attacks but make them vulnerable to others.
This is quite visible to players and if dealt
with appropriately, is easily handled.
If an enemy is pulsing green, simply shoot him
with a healthy dose of E chords! By spawning and sending shielded enemies
at the player in defined patterns we can lead the player
into creating music.
Not all the enemies are shielded.
Most of them are “white” enemies
and can be dispatched with any flavor of sonic ruin.
In this manner players are encouraged to “freestyle”
and play whatever they want. Even the shielded enemies can be killed
with whatever types of tunes players want to play,
it’s just more difficult as their shields must
first be taken down before they become white enemies.
Mapped to the controller’s right
trigger is the Whammy Bar.
When a player hits an enemy with a chord, he
can then use the whammy bar to lift the enemy into the
an enemy is suspended in the air, the player can use
the movement joystick to thrash the enemy around in
any direction they wish, smashing them into walls, dropping
them on the street or throwing them through windows.
While mashing the buttons in any order
will always sound good, players are encouraged and rewarded
for playing actual music.
Over the course of the game’s many fantastic
levels, players will find new tunes which will be entered
into their song book. These button combinations of chords
are the sheet music for the game’s many licensed
tunes. Performing one of these tunes in combat
will yield a special
result. Sometimes, a Combo will take the form of
large-scale devastation. Other times, the combo
will produce a spell-like effect. For instance, if
you play Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"
you will produce a smokescreen effect, giving you the
ability to sneak past enemies for the duration of the
Custom Player Combos
There’s even a place where players
can record their own combos and pick the type of effects,
animations and sounds they want the combo to culminate
with. The game then evaluates their combo
and rates it for its difficulty and adjusts its power
accordingly. It's fun to try different combos and
find a balance between what you can consistently recreate
and what is powerful.
This is where players can invent their own riffs
and be rewarded for using them during the course of the
Basic attacks and combos are just
the beginning of Johnny Whatever’s
totally unique combat system.
Players will obtain a variety of effects pedals
that can be attached to the guitar’s positronic
wave amplifier which will affect the way the sound manifests.
These pedals require batteries to run and more
powerful effects eat up batteries faster.
Batteries naturally recharge, however new batteries
can also be obtained by exploring the many nooks and crannies
of the city or often as a reward for obliterating the
Iron Lady’s goons.
Some of the effects you’ll find in Johnny
Whatever are. . .
– Bounce shot.
Player’s sound waves will ricochet off
walls and enemies.
This is great for indoor fights or when players
are overwhelmed by lots of enemies.
- Stereo Chorus
– Multi Shot.
Player’s sound waves will shoot multiple
beams from the guitar.
– Laser damage.
Player’s sound waves will pass through
enemies, damaging everything it comes in contact with.
– Damage over time.
Enemies hurt with sustain modified sound will
continue to take damage until destroyed.
While dispatching enemies, players
must keep a close watch on their health or “Mojo
Meter”. When a player’s mojo is depleted
they will be taken in for reprogramming by the Iron Royals. Mojo is depleted when players take
is obtained in a variety of ways, like picking up a can
of Mojo-cola or returning to the Station where players
can refill their mojo.
Johnny Whatever’s targeting
mechanic is an intuitive “point and shoot”
system where players simply point Johnny to face in the
direction they want to shoot. Within a determined “lock on”
radius the guitar will auto orient the attack to the direction
of the closest enemy or object.
The current target is indicated to the player by
The robotic minions of the Iron Lady
come in all shapes and sizes and deliver a wide range
of threats. From melee to ranged attacks, the enemies
present in the prototype version of Johnny Whatever will
represent a range of gameplay mechanics.
These enemies include:
- The Iron Lady’s stock goon.
Even though the Robo-Bobbie is a basic model,
they can come with all kinds of attachments which alter
and enhance the way they subdue troublemakers.
From Billy Club wielding
Bobbies, Mustard Cannon Shooters or Riot Shield wielding
Enforcer Bobbies, Robo-Bobbies will present a variety
of threats when encountered.
- Towering mechanized hulks nearly two stories tall,
the Beefeaters protect the most important facilities
of upper London. They have the ability to crush
enemies beneath their massive, metallic feet with stomp
attacks as well as deal powerful, swooping blows with
- Propaganda Bots
- Outfitted with a deafening array of back-mounted speakers,
Propaganda Bots fly through the streets blaring messages
and sanctioned music from the Iron lady to the subjugated
populous. Propaganda Bots fight back with
actual sound, dispensing musical countermeasures which
dampen the effectiveness of rock-n-roll music (Johnny’s
music) to protect other robots in their vicinity from
the power of illegal music. More importantly however, Propaganda
Bots have the ability to turn free-thinkers back into
horribly oppressed citizens by filling their minds with
the bleak uninspired tones of the Iron Lady.
Free the People!
The people need music to free their
minds! Johnny is out to start a revolution against the
Iron Royals and Rock-N-Roll is his weapon. This manifests
most prominently when Johnny performs for the people.
In all environments, whether it’s
a city street in Lower London or the
upper regions of New Buckingham, the environments are
mostly populated with people going about their horribly
oppressed lives. People in Johnny Whatever all
respond to music. Music deprograms and jolts them out
of the ‘metronomic trance’ they live their
lives in. Missions in the game will often have multiple
objectives and freeing a certain number of people is a
Change the world with
Rock n Roll!
Each citizen has a favorite song they
desperately want to hear.
When a player approaches a citizen he can use the
‘Use’ button and a song bar at the bottom
of the screen will display the right sequence of buttons
to play that citizen’s favorite song. If Johnny plays the song well enough,
POW! The citizen’s inner rocker comes out and the
dull gas-masked suited citizen model is replaced by a
free-thinking music loving rocker dynamically generated
by our create-a-rocker character system. Once they’re
free they set out on their own path of destruction! Convert
every citizen in a level and create Total
In the case of licensed song riffs,
when a player brings up the song bar for a citizen and
plays the first note of the song, the full version of
the song complete with backup instruments, effects and
lyrics kick in to play along. Johnny’s guitar will sound just
like the guitar from that famous riff!
Visually: Once you’ve converted a citizen to the ways
of Rock-N-Roll they’ll set out on their own path
of destruction and mayhem pelting Robo-Bobbies with jars
of mustard, smashing windows and generally wreaking havoc.
The player can completely convert a level of the city
into total anarchy if they choose
Visually: Once you start converting citizens to rockers, each one has a value
and the more you convert, the higher the Anarchy Level
will rise. The higher the Anarchy Level, the more enemies
will be dispatched to try and capture you. The converted
citizens while under the influence of Rock-N-Roll, trash
the city and attack any authorities that show up, helping
you in your fight against the Iron Royals. Also dispatched
is the Propaganda-Bot, designed specifically to turn the anarchist rockers
back to horribly oppressed citizens. It’s important
to destroy any Propaganda-Bots that enter the level quickly,
because they can put a stop to your revolution in no time
Style Meter and Monster
As players free citizens, they're awarded a number
of style points depending on how closely they matched
the ideal rhythm for the citizens songs. These points
accumulate in the Style Meter, which also takes into account
things like use of the Whammy Bar and the accuracy of
notes. When the Style Meter is maxed out and flashing,
Johnny can execute a Monster Riff (a combo played when
the Style Meter is full). Players can perform any of the
combos from their song book as soon as their meter fills
or they can keep freeing citizens and let the Style Meter's
power grow and grow untill they're ready to unleash a
Monster Riff of incredible strength.
Connectivity to other
The Style Meter ties in directly with
the other key mechanics in a system that is designed to
create natural dependencies and opportunities, supplying
the player with many potential destinations and goals
within a given level.
The keystone of all of these mechanics
is our core mechanic at work empowering and rewarding
the player to create music with their game controller
in fun interactive and accessible manner.
Puzzles in Johnny Whatever are designed
to be easily solved and very rewarding
Everything in the fantastic world
of Johnny Whatever is music based.
Players will be confronted with a variety of musical
brain-teasers that will challenge their precision, memory,
rhythm, reflexes and observational skills all at the same
time. By using the guitar, players solve
these puzzles and gain really cool rewards!
These riddles are rarely choke points
in the game; rather they serve as bonus areas where players
can pick up something extra.
However, when a puzzle is a choke point in the
game, the solution will be fairly obvious.
Sometimes these musical puzzles block
access to new areas, sometimes they will bestow new powers
on the player and sometimes they will involve boss encounters. Puzzles in Johnny Whatever help to
keep the gameplay fresh and exciting and are never too
complicated that it frustrates the player.
Puzzles found in the
Johnny Whatever Prototype
- This is a very simple puzzle that challenges players'
There’s an alleyway that is blocked by
a large truck.
This truck can not move because traffic is held
up by a red light at the intersection.
An observant player will by this time have noticed
that traffic lights work under the same governing mechanics
as all other things in the world . . . music! Whenever a traffic light in Lower
London changes from red to green it makes the musical
Likewise when a light changes from green to red,
it makes the note “B”.
If a player shoots a burst of “E”
at the traffic light (by pressing the Green button)
it will change from red to green and the traffic will
start moving allowing access to the alley!
- Musical Lock
- The Mustard Refinery is located at the far end of
the city. Access to the refinery is guarded
by a door with a musical combination lock. The lock consists of several brightly
spinning dials and a heavy iron bar. The spinning dials are color-coded
and blink at intervals corresponding to a specific song
the door needs to hear before the bar will slide away
and the door will open.
This puzzle rewards the player’s ability
to play a sequence of different notes, as well as their
ability to time their button presses (the player’s
an incorrect song will reset the combination lock. However, if Johnny plays something
close to the correct song but not quite, the door will
shudder, telling the player they are close to succeeding,
but remain closed.
- Frequently located around the world of Johnny Whatever
are Mojo-Cola vending machines.
These vending machines will dispense a delicious
can of the frosty beverage when the proper tune is played
for them. Since Mojo-Cola is used to replenish
the player’s health these frequent puzzles are
simple and obvious.
Every Boss encounter in Johnny Whatever
is a totally memorable experience!
At the end of each area, players will
face some pretty nasty bosses.
Each of these mini levels will test the player’s
abilities in new ways.
From robotic boy bands, to a massive mechanical
Big Ben that comes to life, bosses are sure to be memorable
the prototype, players will have to defeat the Mustard
Mixer. Once inside the Mustard Factory this
mechanized serpent emerges from the vats of thick ochre
goop where he perpetually patrols the inner workings of
the factories many tubes and tunnels.
The Mustard Mixer looks like a giant,
nickel-plated, robotic centipede whose segments are brightly
lit with colored lights.
Quick and versatile, he doesn’t stay above
the mustard for long as he pops his head up to take pot
shots at Johnny and then quickly sinks back into the thick
goopy vats. Players
will quickly see that each of the segments in this Behemoth
are colored and are likely to work just like everything
else in the game. Players can only shoot one segment
at a time, the head.
Upon doing so, the head will pop, and mustard will
splatter everywhere and the next link in the chain will
become the head! This new head will also be colored
and must be killed in the same way.
In this manner the players will have to play a
specific song to kill the Mustard Mixer.
Get it wrong or take too long and the Mixer’s
segments will start to grow back!
On or offline, Johnny Whatever has
endless multiplayer potential
Multiplayer is where Johnny Whatever
really shines. Whether
online or offline its many modes and games are designed
to foster a community through competition and love of
music. These modes include…
- Cooperative story mode – This is where up to
3 players can blaze a trail through the fantastic world
of Johnny Whatever’s main story using any
combination of the games 3 main instruments; guitar,
bass, and drums.
- Versus Combat – In this mode up to 8
players vie for supremacy in the streets of Lower
a clever twist on the game's music mechanic. Capture
the Flag, Death Match and Team Death Match modes are
- Jam Mode – A multi-user jam room where players
can pick up any of the multitudes of instruments and
simply jam out.
Create a rock-star and take him online to showoff
your musical skills. Online bands!
- Dueling Guitars – Go head to head with
an opponent in a musical showdown. Often referred to as Mentor
Mode, this game doubles as a way to teach others how
to lay down your wicked riffs.
- Premium Content – For an additional small
fee players can download new maps, new songs, new instruments
and new skins.
Download the Tommy Lee skin and drum samples
and take them into a Jam room. (online only)
For the prototype version of Johnny
Whatever, Cooperative story mode is available for
up to 2 players. Guitar and Bass will be the two instruments
and any combination of them is allowed.
The story mode portion of the game
dynamically adapts to the number of players and the instruments
in the world. New
functionalities, combos and previously unavailable areas
can be found when playing with friends. Some examples
of this include . . .
- New Areas –
Guitars have the ability to hit high squealing notes
that will shatter glass.
Bass has the ability to hit low rumbling notes
that will crumble away loose concrete.
In this manner new areas can be reached.
Sometimes it requires the ability to do both
in order reach super secret areas.
- New Combos
– Players are always free to play whatever they
want. However, if in a multiplayer game
one person plays the guitar part of a combo while another
plays the very different “drum” part of
a combo. The resulting effect will be an over-the-top
finish with spectacular, multiplayer only visuals.
- More Enemies
– When more players are in the world the Ministry
of Inspiration will dispatch more of its forces to deal
with the increased threat.
This makes for an interestingly different level.
- Jam Mode
– The ability to simply lounge around, pick up
an instrument and “jam out” is a key feature
in Johnny Whatever’s
– While vehicles and the role they will play in
Johnny Whatever is still not completely hashed
out, the option to have drivable vehicles that support
multiple riders and gunners has not been ruled out.
This game is no rental, Johnny Whatever
offers near endless playability!
Johnny is the greatest guitar player
the world has ever known.
On his quest to free his band mates he’ll
encounter many guitar specific challenges that will test
this fact. These tests revolve around rhythm,
timing, accuracy, reflex, memory and the role they have
in playing the guitar.
So playing through the game with Johnny and his
guitar Nancy is a
very unique experience.
Players beat the game when they defeat
the Iron Lady and free Johnny’s band mates, The
doing so, each of the Hooligans becomes a playable character. Now players can play through the entire
game again with the bass player Rory Cummings or the drummer
Cyil Valicious. Playing through the game as either
of these two characters is a very different experience
as all the challenges now revolve around totally different
instruments. The riffs players learn and the songs
they are taught are now from the perspective of a completely
Additionally, because these new instruments will
affect the world in new ways, new areas previously inaccessible
can now be explored.
Note: The idea is that by the time players beat the game with any of its
playable characters they will feel comfortable playing
that characters instrument in an online band.
Each of Johnny Whatever’s
many “sand box style” levels are chock full
of hidden rewards or “Schwag”. Many of these Schwag
items are easy to find as they are placed in clear site,
however some are more difficult . . . much more difficult.
Often involving complex puzzles or intense battles,
these pickups make for lots of fun replayability
as they are not required to complete missions, but just
cool extras to collect.
When a mission is completed, the player
is clued as to how many Schwag
items were available and how many were actually collected
within that mission. This combined with the ability to freely
go back to any completed area makes for fun, replayable
Back at the Station, players can enter
the Treasury Car where Roland keeps all the valuable knick
knacks he’s collected over the years, this is where
players can view their Schwag. Schwag range from unlockable crazy hair pieces or wild rock star clothes,
to full length versions of the games many licensed tunes. Other Schwag items
might be trailers or teasers from upcoming games or rare
concept images from Johnny Whatever.
Mini games, new guitar samples, new skins . . .
the possibilities are endless, players never know what
they’ll get when they find some Schwag!