Occasionally, XBLA Fans likes to take a backseat and allow members of the development community to speak openly and directly to our readers. After all, you came here to read about games, and who better to talk about them than the professionals who create them? With that in mind, please enjoy the following article written by Enigma Software CEO Daniel Parente.
In today’s post, we want to do something similar. We’re introducing the remaining cast of characters featured in the game and how we came up with consistent visuals to keep the art direction and, of course, Spidy himself in line with our vision.
Let’s start with the Ladybug, which has its own unique charm.
The pesky mythological creatures filled the sky, regularly swooping down to wreak havoc on the undead rock band engaged in a fracas with other, less well-intentioned zombies below. Our group of zombie rockers had been punching, grabbing and throwing its way through the streets towards a cemetery for maybe 15 or 20 minutes at this point, with seemingly everyone but the screaming living trying their darnedest to send us back to hell for good. There was enough chaos being caused by the slow, lumbering zombie baddies and occasional "accidental" punching of each other that the airborne aggressors were being largely left to their own devices.
But there is only so much pushing that a bulky undead drummer is willing to take before he grabs an agitator by her throat and repeatedly smashes her face into the ground. It had fallen to me to make the skies a little friendlier, so that's what exactly what I did at PAX Prime while playing Ska Studios' Charlie Murder. Another scream escaped from her throat as she bit the dust, and that was that. However, the magical flying creature impeding our progress had friends. Well, two can play at that game. The other members of the group had continued on their merry little way pummeling the crap out of the enemy zombies, causing various pickups to drop, including guns.
A few pulls of the trigger later and the XBLA Fans crew had achieved complete air superiority. The screams of a unicorn ringing through the headset were music to my ears. On-screen, the tormentors actually took the form of witches on broomsticks, but they were voiced by the studio's very own one-horn. Ska Studios Art Unicorn Michelle Juett-Silva smiled proudly when explaining that she and her husband, Lead Dishwasher James Silva, had performed nearly all of the voice-over work for their game.
Another stretch of the demo showed off the unicorn's pipes even more. A quick cut-scene showed some NPCs attempting to escape from the zombies with their lives intact by navigating through the clearly haunted cemetery. They ran right smack into a ghostly little ghost that bore a striking resemblance to the girl from The Ring. (Silva would later admit that they are indeed his homage to Japanese horror films.) The girls can't attack, but operate more as environmental hazards moving in fixed patterns. Coming into contact with them elicited one of Juett-Silva's recorded screeches and meant death for the player.
The following article was written by Andreas Hackel, art director at Candygun.
Today we at Candygun Games would like to present the process of creating weapons in our upcoming game, Dollar Dash. We have been pouring in countless hours as we finish development, so it has been a thrilling experience tinkering with the in-game weapons to pave way for a competitive, yet entertaining for all ages, multiplayer game.
Dollar Dash offers a wide range of fun weapons to slow down opponents and steal their money. There are three different categories of weapons and there is a slot for one each per category. Permitting only one action weapon per category has players weighing their options on what is most useful in each scenario – should they use the long-range snowball in effort to free up a slot for the medium range boxing glove, or should they hold onto the snowball to attack from afar? Choices are tough, but the competitive factor always looms. This may be a bit different to what many are used to from other games, but we found out that this system is the most fun for a fast-paced arcade game.
Offensive weapons can be fired or thrown at an opponent in front of the player. Some of them are short-ranged while others encompass the entire level. Most offensive weapons have multiple charges, so testing the effects of each is essential to for the best strategy.
Defensive Weapons can be dropped to the floor to attack opponents in pursuit. Most of them are traps that trigger when someone runs across them. Defensive weapons are superb when playing Save the Safe mode – players can be on the run from the opposition and lie down oil slicks to have players slide off the level or a portable to have opponents falling to their doom.
The XBLA Fans team is unable to say for certain whether or not stepping on a butterfly in the past can drastically change the future. However, members of the crew that made their way over to Capy Games' booth at PAX Prime last month did discover that blowing away a gun-toting Tyrannosaurus rex and the asteroid responsible for the Big Bang will, in fact, do just that. The good news is that all political arguments can stop, because playing through the latest build of Super Time Force has revealed next month's election winner here in the U.S. — a T-rex. Talk about the ultimate second form of a boss.
If you've been following Capy's game at all, and shame on those of you who have not been, then you already know it's centered around a dysfunctional group of what Capy refers to as "time-traveling ultra-badasses." Their leader, Colonel Repeatski, had them zipping into the future to fight in outer-space after battling their way through a crumbling city when last XBLA Fans played Super Time Force. This time around, however, the Toronto-based indie dev had a new level on display, one set in prehistoric time. Its final section has players running along the enormous wings of a Pterodactyl while fighting the infamous dinosaur-obliterating asteroid in a desperate attempt to save the ancient reptiles from extinction. The whole experience felt like the SHMUP level the pre-adolescent me would have dreamed up about 20 or so years back. In other words, it was totally radical, dudes.
As much fun as blasting away dinos with a bazooka or a sniper rifle is, though, one had to wonder just what the hell the Force was hoping such an absurd endeavor would accomplish. Apparently they have the noblest of intentions: save the world by altering historical events. Unfortunately, they execute on that plan about as successfully as Marty McFly and Doc Brown did in the film trilogy that all time-traveling works of fiction must ultimately be compared to. "It's like Back to the Future, right? The best of intentions but you always [expletive] it up. Because the thing is, they can go back and fix it after they've tried to fix it but broke it," Nathan Vella, co-founder and president of Capy, told XBLA Fans.
Hey, remember when Bond games weren't just Call of Duty with different characters? Remember games like Everything or Nothing, Agent Under Fire and Nightfire? You know, back when you actually felt like Bond. Just look at the monstrosity that is GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. Everything about it screams "reboot because GoldenEye was a cash cow". What a spit in Pierce Brosnan's face. Not only did they go with Daniel Craig (great actor, terrible Bond), but they threw out nearly everything that made both the movie and Nintendo 64 game great.
But Nightfire was different. It had an original story. It had multiple awesome Bond gadgets. It had Bond moments, and most importantly it didn't have the jarring "first person cutscenes". It was fantastic. From the engaging campaign to the top-notch couch competitive multiplayer Nightfire could do no wrong. And with the upcoming retail release of 007 Legends and the SkyFall film Activision will have no way to woo Bond fans next year. This is exactly why Nightfire needs to make a comeback.
The gang over at PlayXBLA posted the official specs for what's in the Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition 1.8.2 update. In addition to Creative Mode, new mobs, collectable and craftable items, and a number of fixes have been added. There's no word on the release date for the patch, but such a detailed list as this can only mean it's nearly finished. The list is quite exhaustive, so hit the jump for more info. While you're there, tell us what your plans are once 1.8.2 is out? Will you be making crazy block sculptures, or going on a mob hunt?
Launched in 2008, The Behemoth's Castle Crashers went on to become one of the most popular co-op experiences on XBLA, with it just recently having crossed over the 3 million player threshold on its leaderboards. More than just inspiring gamers to fight with and against each other for the right to make out with princesses, though, the title also put the development community in a scramble to get their own take on the genre onto the platform. While none have enjoyed the same runaway success that Crashers has, certainly their collective presence has made the platform a modern haven for games of its ilk.
If PAX Prime was any indication, the rush isn't going to be slowing down any time soon. The show floor was full of promising (and not-so-promising) 2D side-scrolling action games, and our team played just about every single one of them. On the second day of the show, XBLA Fans caught up with one of the men responsible for kicking off the craze, The Behemoth co-founder and Art Director Dan Paladin. He was open to talking about everything from the state of the beat-em-up to the studio's past projects to its current one, BattleBlock Theater, to developing for XBLA. In fact, about the whole thing Paladin declined to discuss was BattleBlock's release date. It's a subject he says the studio hasn't talked about since it announced a 2010 release that it was unable to meet, a strategy that he claims hasn't stopped the press or the public from announcing dates on their own. Read on for the full details.
As a mega-huge Star Wars nut I squealed a bit inside when the box art for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title, Star Wars: First Assault was leaked a few days back. I scoured the internet looking for additional clues as to what it could be about. What type of game was it? A shooter? A Rogue Squadron-esque game? *gasp* A Battlefront game? The possibilities swam through my head. I had to know more, but every turn led to dead ends. Could Pandemic be developing it? Nope, they went under after The Saboteur was released. Maybe Slant Six Games is working on it. After all, Star Wars game load screens and character textures were found buried in the files for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and Kotaku reported in 2010 that they were working on something called Star Wars: Battlefront Online. Could this be that same game, but with a more finalized name? Maybe Spark Unlimited has the project? Nah, they denied it after stringing us along for months and finally revealing Lost Planet 3.
But one thing is for sure, between the leaked box art and domain names Fusible found registered to LucasArts, this game is happening. That being said I think it's a Battlefront game. It's the biggest sub-franchise LucasArts has ever produced, and fans have been clamoring for another real installment since Battlefront II came out in late 2005 (the portable games don't count). It also fits the XBLA stereotype. Look at how many online shooters we have. Battlefield 1943, Breach, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Blacklight: Tango Down, and Hybrid. Clearly it fits the bill. But if it's actually an online shooter it needs to be more than its competitors. Slapping the Star Wars brand on it isn't enough.
XBLA Fans' new Calendar Update helps you keep track of all those XBLA release dates that often seem to spring upon you at the last minute and remind you of those promised games you were looking forward to that just seem to disappear without explanation. In this edition we're taking a look at October and some rumors for November so you can start organizing your MSP and schedule in some serious controller time or sick days well in advance.
There's quite a few confirmed XBLA releases for October already. First up is Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit on October 3 for 1200 MSP. If that sounds familiar it’s because North America got this one last month so we’d expect another Wednesday release to be announced otherwise it’ll be a quiet week for many. However there are two Friday releases this first week as Sega release their XBLA ports of NIGHTS into dreams and Sonic Adventure 2 both for 800 MSP on October 5. The following week looks a bit busier with two Wednesday releases so far as Worms Revolution hits XBLA on October 10 along with Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise for 1200 MSP. Zombie Drive HD finally makes it onto XBLA on October 17 for 800 MSP and we also have another Friday release this week as Alien Spidy is released October 19 also for 800 MSP. Towards the end of the month Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is released on October 24 at 1200 MSP and Blood Knights gets the coveted Halloween release date priced at 1200 MSP. Major Nelson just confirmed this morning that Pool Nation will drop October 12.