Daniel “Clockwork” Maniago discusses his role in the making of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid at Evo 2019

By on September 21, 2019 at 12:37 pm

This Marvel vs Capcom pro brings his expertise to the Power Rangers fighter you should be playing!

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid was released was released on March 26, 2019, across all current-gen consoles with a PC release on Steam coming next week on September 24, 2019. A 3v3 fighter in almost the same vein as the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Battle for the Grid has had a couple of substantial updates adding new modes, characters, and balance changes to improve the game’s replay value and fun factor.

At Evo 2019, I talked to former MvC pro, Daniel Maniago also better known in the FGC as “Clockwork” who is now currently the lead combat designer on Battle for the Grid, about his involvement in the game’s development and future. In this interview, Maniago also shares how he came to work on the project, his input from years of pro gamer experience, and why skeptical players should give this game a chance.

Marcos Blanco: So first question: Are you a Power Rangers fan?

Clockwork: I was a huge Power Rangers fan when I was a kid. I think like a lot of people, I sort of fell off after the third season. I kind of grew out of it. The Green Ranger was my favorite before he turned good (laughs).

MB: I’ve read up on the storyline for the game and it seems to be centered around the Green Ranger. What went into deciding the Green Ranger turning evil and whatnot?

Clockwork: It’s based on the comic book story by Boom! Studios. Basically the idea is that there is a timeline in which the Green Ranger (Tommy) never turns good. He ends up becoming Lord Drakkon who is the main antagonist in Battle for the Grid.

MB: You’re the lead combat designer for this game. How did you get on board to work on this project? Did nWay Games approach you about it?

Clockwork: I got approached by a friend of mine that said that his friend was looking for a combat designer that specializes in fighting games. I applied, took the design test, and the rest is history.

MB: What was the experience like?

Clockwork: It was interesting. At the time I was interviewing at several places and it was really interesting to see the different sorts of design tests that these companies have their applicants go through. It’s interesting because usually, it’s under strict time constraints so I guess they’re trying to gauge how well you can work under pressure with a tight deadline. It really helped me to understand the pace that I was going to be moving at.

MB: Sounded like a good experience. So coming from the Marvel vs. Capcom series a seasoned competitor for many years, what sort of input did you have for the game’s development as the lead combat designer?

Clockwork: I’ll say that pretty much anything that has to do with the gameplay or the combat, I have touched everything. These days, Shady K takes care of a lot of housekeeping and janitorial work. Especially early on when we were gearing for release, we were pumping out characters and doing whatever we could to make the game as fun as possible. We’re continually improving on the game.

I will say that when I first got on board, the idea for their comeback mechanic was a bit stale. So I really pushed to have the Zords in the game.

MB: Oh, really? What was so stale about it?

Clockwork: It wasn’t really fleshed out. They were just thinking that we should have a mode where you power up or speed up–kind of like an X-Factor of sorts. We needed to do something a bit more on-brand.

MB: How did you decide which characters would be in the game? Also was there ever a point that maybe the game was going to be a regular 1v1 fighter instead of a 3v3 fighter? What was behind the decision to make it the latter?

Clockwork: I think by the time I had gotten on board, the ideas that they wanted it to be 3v3, but also accessible and something fun were there already. I think the idea for Power Rangers is that it’s constantly a team thing–the Power Rangers are always working together and all of that so it really makes sense to us that the game should be 3v3. Putting stuff in like Rangers who would never get to be on the show or Mega Force Yellow getting to team up with Jason. I feel like it was the right direction.

I can’t go too much into detail about how we choose characters, but I will say what’s really great about the Power Rangers IP is that there is so much to pull from as far as inspiration on how the characters should play. It’s almost as if some of the characters design themselves like oh that’s supposed¬†to be a special move. That’s supposed to be a super. The Green Ranger should definitely have these attacks. He should be attacking with a sword most of the time and he can also use his blaster. It’s really fun to go through the source material and pick and choose what we want to use in the game.

MB: I might be prying a bit especially since the new DLC that includes Lord Zedd, one of the Gold Ranger, and one of the Pink Rangers is coming out soon but… is Rita Repulsa going to be in the game at some point (laughs)?

Clockwork: I can’t talk about any characters that aren’t in the game, but anything is possible (laughs).

MB: I mean Goldar is in the game so I have to expect Rita at some point, but I get it (laughs). So what is your team of choice to play as in Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid?

Clockwork: I really like Red Ranger, Zeo Gold Ranger, and Dragon Armor Yellow Ranger. I like how agile Gold and Red are. They feel really good to dash and jump around with. They feel very responsive. Trini’s assist is just so good with a laser beam which is easy to convert off and locks your opponents down. It’s sort of an all-purpose move. She’s a tank as well and works well as an anchor when she has her Zord out.

MB: For players that are on the fence about picking the game up, what would you say to them to convince them to give it a try and what to expect from it?

Clockwork: One of the biggest selling points of the game is that it’s $20, man! It comes at a discounted price, but I do feel the quality of the game as it keeps improving and improving, to me it’s worth way more than $20. So you can’t really beat that deal.

If you’re into fighting games, Power Rangers, and if you’re just into video games in general–I think the accessibility, frenetic pace, and action of the game–I think there’s something in it for everybody.

For more information on Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, follow Clockwork and the game’s Twitter pages in the source links below.

Sources: Battle for the Grid (website), Level Up Series (YouTube), Clockwork (Twitter), Battle for the Grid (Twitter)