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.”
The Behemoth have quickly become a developer to watch. After starting life with the flash game Alien Hominid on Newgrounds they expanded the game to consoles and eventually to XBLA with Alien Hominid HD. The game had a unique and striking art style created by artist Dan Paladin, and breathed new life into the almost forgotten side-scrolling shooter (complete with punishing difficulty).
After Alien Hominid The Behemoth moved onto a completely new game in Castle Crashers. This time they decided to have a go at another classic genre, the side-scrolling brawler. Dan Paladin’s unique art style remains, but Castle Crashers is a much bigger and more ambitious game than Alien Hominid. The Behemoth took the basic 2D brawler gameplay and added a few things on top, with an RPG-like (or lite?) leveling system and a little more depth to the brawling itself.