Battleblock Theater Archive

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The Behemoth helping other indies with funding, user experience & QA

The independent developer who brought XBLA gamers BattleBlock Theater, Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers has announced that, in addition to game development, it has two other ways it hopes will result in the best indie games possible making it “from conception to physical reality in the industry.” The Behemoth is now providing quality assurance and usability testing and what it describes as “no strings attached” funding for external indie developers.

Its testing lab, which the Sand Diego developer previously talked to XBLA Fans about at PAX East 2013, has been dubbed The Research Centaur and is said to staff testers with an average of six and a half years worth of experience in game testing. When he spoke of the testing center last year, The Behemoth President John Baez told us that it started as a purely internal department. Things went so swimmingly when testing BattleBlock Theater, though, that the developer decided to begin offering its testing services to external indie studios.

“I mean, one of the things we’ve done to kind of contribute to that [indie developer survivability] is we built a usability lab for Battleblock Theater, which has gone really, really well,” Baez said last year at PAX East. “It’s about a year old, and it’s only internal, and now we’ve opened it up. Well, there’s that and a QA department — very small, four people — but they’re very, very good at what they do. And now we’re beginning to open that up to other developers. So Bastion for all of iOS, we tested [it] and certified [it] to make sure that [Supergiant's] game was good.

“So we’re opening that up to independent developers as a resource so they don’t have to go — I mean it’s not any cheaper than going to a big, gigantic test firm — but you’ll get the absolute attention to detail.”

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Check out these sweet Black Friday/Cyber Monday XBLA sales!

sale

We know you’ve been waiting for them, and here they are! Black Friday sales for Xbox Live Arcade start now, and, assuming you don’t already own them, you will definitely want to take advantage of this opportunity to pick up some of the best games of the outgoing console generation on the cheap. Notable XBLA games include Mark of the Ninja, Bit.trip Runner 2, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Battleblock Theater, most of which are at least 66 percent off! Some of these games will only be on sale for 24 hours, so check and double-check the tables below to plan your purchases. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Deal of the Week: Cowboys, Crashers, Batman and Blood Dragons

Deal_of_the_Week_Logo

This week’s deal offers up some of the very best Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, dropping names and prices on a couple of the year’s bigger titles and tossing in a few longstanding favorites for the late crowd. Xbox Live Gold Members can get a cut of the exclusive savings now, through Monday, September 16.

Kicking things off is the excellent Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, which can be had for a paltry $7.49, doubling the already outstanding value contained in the rich storytelling and imaginative design. Another gem of the early year, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is similarly priced at $7.49, uniting the gameplay of its namesake with the over-the-top cliches of the ’80s and some laser-assisted dragons. Doodle Jump Kinect rounds out the group, which may seem like an odd choice given its company, but at a discounted price of $2.49 – who really cares?

Gunslinger          Blood Dragon          DoodleJump

Because a few must-own titles, and Doodle Jump, aren’t enough to constitute a sale, Microsoft has seemingly relinquished control to Warner Bros. and The Behemoth, who’ve made their own respectful offers. Not much of Warner Bros. Batman-riddled offerings come by way of XBLA, but Gotham City Impostors does sneak in at $7.49, half the standard price. The Behemoth throws their entire Xbox Live Arcade collection on the table with BattleBlock Theater at $10.04 (33% off), Alien Hominid HD for $4.99 (50% off) and of course, everyone’s favorite six years running, Castle Crashers at $7.49 (50% off).

GCI          BattleBlock Theatre          Alien Hominid HD          CastleCrashers

Last but not least, a few XBLA residents have had their prices reduced moving forward. Unlike the above, these prices should remain constant long after this week-long sale has expired. You can collect Realms of Ancient War (wisely abbreviated to RAW) for $9.99, but tread lightly, adventurer. The rest of the bunch groups up neatly at the $4.99 price point, featuring Invincible TigerPowerUp Forever, and the very decent Special Forces Team X. As always, you can hit the name of any title for more information, or tap the image to be whisked away directly to the savings.

RAW          Invincible Tiger          PowerUp Forever          STX

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July XBLA sales roundup

Pacific Rim

The numbers are in for the month of July, and it seems as though Pacific Rim: The Video Game is one of the more popular new additions to the store (of the games for which player statistics were available) with a total of 6,482 new players. Other new games included Scourge: Outbreak, Capsized and Zeno Clash 2, which on the whole received more favourable Metacritic scores but for which player statistics were unavailable on Gamasutra.

However, compared with fan favorite Castle Crashers, which picked up a total of 63,625 new players during the month, Pacific Rim: The Video Game did not perform quite as well. Castle Crashers, for which the overall amount of players now adds up to 3,583,918, was the most popular established game on Xbox Live Arcade. The Behemoth’s most recent release, BattleBlock Theater, didn’t do as well, managing to pick up 42,311 new players. Overall the older game that managed to pick up the most new players was Doritos Crash Course 2, which nabbed 345,411 people. Doritos Crash Course 2 is a free-to-play game that uses in-app purchases.

In terms of DLC, Pinball FX 2 seemed to dominate alongside Trials Evolution, Trials HD and Defense Grid: The Awakening. The latter, however, managed to pick up 837,860 new players for the base game itself. This spike in popularity was due to it being made available for free for a two-week period for Xbox Live Gold Members. The leaderboard also includes five additional pieces of DLC for the popular game.

Head over to Ryan Langley’s blog at Gamasutra for more details and the full roundup of sales for the month of July.

Source: Gamasutra

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Free prisoners in BattleBlock Theater this week

BattleBlock Theater Frankencat

BattleBlock fans, The Behemoth has something special for you! This week only, you can grab the Boot, the Moose, and the 50%-Off Prisoner (that’s the one with half a body), all at no charge. Furthermore, they plan to give out new prisoners each week for the month of August.

For those of you who don’t yet own BattleBlock Theater, this promotion won’t work for you. Unlike your typical add-ons purchased through the marketplace, these prisoners can only be acquired after launching the full version of the game. Maybe you should fix that?

Source: The Behemoth

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Free Donuts for BattleBlock Theater players

GlazedPortlandDonuts

Today is National Doughnut Day in America and to celebrate The Behemoth are giving away free Donuts to BattleBlock Theater players for a week!  The special prisoner, Donuts, was previously available as a limited time only Furbottom Features unlock. To get all the Donuts you want and none of the calories, players need to sign in to Xbox LIVE, open up the full version of the game and watch as this special prisoner pops out of the vault. For those not in the know, National Doughnut Day is on the first Friday of June each year, succeeding the Doughnut Day event created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. BattleBlock Theater ‘Donuts’ will be available from June 7th, noon PDT, until June 13th.

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What we are playing: April 28

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Nick Santangelo - I finally got around to playing The Behemoth’s BattleBlock Theater this week, and I’m questioning why I didn’t force myself to find time for it sooner. The levels through three chapters are short on length but high on fun factor. I’m not the type who ever feels the need to attempt to hunt down as many collectibles as possible, and yet I find myself going to extra mile to get my hands on as many gems (only three are needed to complete each level, but each level has extras) and balls of yarn as possible in BattleBlock Theater. I’m not sure why I need to have them, but I know that I do. Sometimes the game’s humor falls flat due to the vignettes between chapters dragging on for far too long, but the writing hits more than it misses. And I haven’t seen it get a lot of mention, but the score is fantastic.

Shawn Ryan - After holding out for a month, I played Bioshock Infinite with the free time I had this week. Awesome game. It is a little more shooter heavy than I was expecting, but it may just seem that way because I decided to start on 1999 mode. I beat it last night, and the ending… woah. Easily became a Game of the Year candidate, right next to Tomb Raider.

Scott Baker - In a dramatic irony fit for a Greek tragedy, my Xbox red-ringed the night before my last final of the semester. I was saving Bioshock Infinte, too. Luckily, I got it repaired and plan to dive into it this coming week. Instead, I spent some quality time with Journey and reflected on the hidden story of its serene world. That game reminds me of those perfect movies you can watch over and over again. Each time I play it, I feel something new.

Ryan Thompson - Played a bunch of Geometry Wars 2 this weekend, but not much else — it’s finals week, as I’m sure many of you are aware, and I’m busy writing term papers for the next week.

Christine Mitchell – Didn’t get much time for gaming this week but I picked up Far Cry 3 yesterday and I’m liking what I’ve seen. Looking forward to Blood Dragon now.

Chris Leggett - I’ve got a bunch of games competing for my limited time at the moment, but the one that tends to win out is Peace Walker from the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I found it difficult to get into at first; it really felt like a watered-down handheld game at first, particularly playing it immediately after Metal Gear Solid 3. But the further I got into it, the deeper and more interesting I realized it was. I’ve also had a lot of fun with Injustice: Gods Among Us lately, and I might try my hand at the online competitive component later today if I get a chance.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 21

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Nick Santangelo - I didn’t get too much gaming in this week, but I continued chipping away at Saint’s Row 3 and had a pretty good time doing so. I bought BattleBlock Theater early in the week, but I wasn’t able to get around to actually playing it.

Brandin Tyrrel - There hasn’t been much time for games lately, but I was able to tear through a preview for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Outside of that I got in a few games of Smite with Shawn and bugged John to ditch LoL and play a real MOBA. Still waiting…

Chris Leggett - I’m trying to catch up on my backlog from the recent Games on Demand sale, and I’ve just started playing Dead Island with a friend of mine over Xbox Live. I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. It has its issues, but the foundations are in place for a solid zombie game. Later tonight, some friends and I are getting together for an eight-player, double-elimination, random-character-draw Injustice: Gods Among Us tournament, which should be a lot of fun. We’re all going in blind so that the playing field is somewhat level.

Matthew Smail - Well, things have been a little hectic at home lately with Jen off work and fairly ill. That said, I have been able to play a little bit of Tomb Raider, a little BioShock Infinite and even some 3DS games like Luigi’s Mansion 2 and Fire Emblem. Both are great and it could even be time for me to ditch the Vita permanently – it just doesn’t seem as fun! Hopefully next week I’ll have more to say, but for now it’s safe to say my gaming pile is stacking up and up!!

Ryan Thompson - Turns out the challenge rooms on Bionic Commando: Rearmed are difficult!  There are a few of them I’m beyond five stars on, for beating the developer times.  Aside from that, I’ve gotten good mileage out of my Rock Band 3 keyboard, using the onboard MIDI connection to input musical notes into Finale on my computer.  The Pro guitar has the functionality also, if you’re one of the people that has the fancy instruments…

Scott Baker - I’ve been jumping around a bit, but I keep coming back to Resident Evil 4 HD. Aside from just wanting to unlock all the achievements, I have forgotten how much fun it is. Practically speaking, the game is a mechanical monster. The stiff controls and robotic motions should make the game awful, yet the combined design of AI, target-focused shooting, gun balancing, and looting puts it together perfectly. Add the ridiculous dialogue, and you’ve got Resident Evil.

Kevin Plumtree - I finished up the remaining Zombies achievements in Call of Duty: Black Ops, and started the campaign of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. I also played a tiny bit of Gears of War: Judgment, and began Wall-E (don’t judge!).

Christine Mitchell - I’ve been spending most of my gaming time in Terraria. I’ve don’t seem to be able find any good loot yet so I’m getting a bit annoyed with it now but it’s still very addictive.

Shawn Ryan - Being from the Boston area, I obviously didn’t play a lot this week. When events like this happen so close to home, it gives you a completely different perspective and outlook on life, so it was kind of hard to enjoy daily activities as freely as normal. The most comforting aspect of the entire thing is how together the community was. It sucks that it takes something like this to show such patriotism and comradery, but it’s also nice to be able to take that positive away from it. With that being said, I did game a little. I mostly played LEGO Pirates all week, but also squeezed in some Midway Arcade Origins. Also managed to hit a pretty big achievement mark.

Your turn.

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What we are playing: April 14

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to.

What We Are Playing

Shawn Ryan - I found myself playing a lot of Rock Band this week. I went through a lot of the stuff I had packed away, saw the guitar, and decided to jump back into it. After such a long time away from it, it was nice to have fun playing it again. I also picked up Shadows of the Damned. While weird, it was enjoyable and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a competent shooter!

Scott Baker - I’ve been sneaking in bits of Transformers: War for Cybertron after Microsoft snuck it to a temporary $9.99 without a word of advertisement. It reminds me of the old sleeper hit Metal Arms: Glitch in the System for its third-person shooting. I’m loving the transforming mechanic, it’s so much fun to shift and zip away. The dialogue is classic Transformers, too. The only problem is my incompetent matchmade co-op buddies who can’t fight Hard mode. You’ve failed me yet again, Starscream!

Ryan Thompson - This is a big work week for my graduate school projects, so no Xbox gaming, unfortunately.  I will be playing a lot of Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Geometry Wars 2 when they go on sale early next week though, and am looking forward to it!

Kevin Plumtree - With the release of the Castle Map Pack, I jumped back into Halo 4‘s multiplayer for some matches and achievement hunting.  The new spaces have better flow and match dynamics than the previous map packs.  I also split some time between Gears of War 3 and Gears of War: Judgment, working on various ribbons and medals.  Finally, in a largely fruitless effort, I attempted to earn gold stars in some of Rock Band Blitz‘s harder songs.  As much as I enjoy that game and the series as a whole, I fully accept I am not very good at it!

Nick Santangelo - Mostly just continued playing Saint’s Row: The Third this week. It’s a fun game, though so far I prefer GTA IV. Later today I should be able to finally set up internet to my Xbox after a week without it at my new place. I’ve got 1200 MSP sitting around that’s reserved for BattleBlock Theater.

Your turn.

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BattleBlock Theater review (XBLA)

BattleBlock Theater was developed by The Behemoth and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released April 3, 2013 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.

bbt

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost five years since the release of Castle Crashers, the side-scrolling brawler brainchild of The Behemoth that grew up to be an XBLA darling that still sits atop sales charts today. Needless to say, the next game made by The Behemoth would have big shoes to fill. Instead of playing it safe, The Behemoth dared to be unique with BattleBlock Theater. Not only did they dare to take on a whole new side-scrolling genre, they also dared to create one of the craziest premise in the history of gaming.

BattleBlock Theater puts you in the shoes of one of the hundreds of prisoners who, after a terrible boat crash, washed up on a mysterious island and were taken captive by giant cats. These cats love their theater, so they force their prisoners into deadly plays. The story mode revolves around platforming and puzzle solving, navigating death traps and fighting crazy animals. When you’re tired of exploring the theater, you can dive into a host of multiplayer modes. BattleBlock Theater is a wonderful platformer not meant to be taken seriously, and made even better when you play with friends.

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