Toylogic CEO Yoichi Take told Dengeki in an interview today that his studio’s upcoming 15-on-15 hack ‘n slash XBLA exclusive Happy Wars “feels like pizza or potato chips,” as compared to the “steak” feeling of Call of Duty’s multiplayer. It’s become commonplace for designer, journalist and gamer alike to use CoD as a measuring stick for something — even when that something appears wildly different from Activision’s FPS behemoth. With the 2012 release flying mostly under the radar in the English-speaking world, though, Take isn’t afraid to do what’s necessary to call attention to it.
In that vein, the studio boss promises that his team is working hard to create more English language content on social networks and the game’s website to convey to the West just what Happy Wars is all about. Gamers won’t have to wait around for that to happen, however; Take shared a number of details about what he sees as a party/action title. While it’s his studio’s first Xbox 360 title, Take himself has previous experience with the platform in the form of 2007’s Bullet Witch. While he once viewed Microsoft’s console as being strictly for extreme core gamers,” Take was eventually introduced to Castle Crashers — a game that makes for a far more apt comparison than any Call of Duty title — and realized the platform had a much wider audience.
Take said that The Behemoth’s colorful sidescroller “changed [his] mind” about what type of content is appropriate for the Xbox. Specifically, he cited the fact that the game was commercially viable, to say the least, even though it has a “comical” style that he previously felt wouldn’t have jived well with 360 owners.
It has now been about three-and-a-half years since Crashers released and became one of the most celebrated Xbox Live Arcade titles, and plenty of other games have released in that time. The impressive scale of matches draws heavily from the Battlefield series. While the tanks and jets of D.I.C.E.’s franchise are nowhere to be seen in Toylogic’s fantasy title, the footage shown to date gives off the impression that there will be some level of environmental interaction, and plenty of instances in which players must fill different roles in winning smaller skirmishes to turn the tide of the larger battle.
Many members of the team are also huge Diablo fans and Take feels they have subconsciously implemented elements from Blizzard’s hack ‘n slash opus into Happy Wars. With Diablo III‘s May 15 release date finally being unveiled this week, now seems like a great time to namedrop the popular action series.
Ultimately Take said the team is aiming to craft a “multiplayer game that eveyone can enjoy.” It’s a lofty goal considering how diverse the modern gamer pool is, but Happy Wars looks like it could potentially deliver the type of accessible and addictive multiplayer silliness that brings a multitude of different parties to the table. If nothing else, its ability to support 30 players is certainly a unique feature for an XBLA release.
Take’s hope is that his game, while maintaining an “XBLA scale,” inspires those who try it to continually come back for more. By releasing it on Xbox Live Arcade, they are able to avoid the retail issue of not all buyers being online gamers, which is pretty much a required entry barrier for just about any contemporary multiplayer-only game.
Many online-centric titles further splinter the audience by either neglecting to include party support or featuring a needlessly convoluted party system. Toylogic is striving to keep those sort of frustrations out of the Happy Wars experience by implementing a “tag” system that allows for easy party and clan formation. Once a player types in a tag, any other player(s) who enters the same text as their tag will be paired together with everyone using that specific tag. It’s a joyously simple feature, but hopefully the developer also has something in the works to prevent random players from jumping on the bandwagon and messing up established parties of friends. No such element has been identified as of yet.
That does not, however, mean that 30 human competitors will be a necessity for a round of Happy Wars. In place of a single-player campaign is a co-op mode in which a team of 15 will square off against CPU-controlled foes. Some of the teams are considered “rare” and are themed in the traditional sense (ninja) as well as the whimsically absurd (tomatoes). Those CPU teams are said to be so brutally efficient that Take admits the staff “can’t beat them yet.” Some sort of leaderboard or social option to allow for the boasting of victories over the nefarious tomato armies of the world will be present in the finished product.
Yet there is still much work to be done in the realm of difficulty balancing, so the final product may or may not feature nigh-immortal tomato baddies. With Happy Wars‘ release still set for an undetermined point in 2012, Toylogic still has plenty of time to devote to working out such kinks.