Over the past few weeks several games have passed Microsoft’s certification process, the last milestone developers must complete before negotiating a release with their publisher and Microsoft. We’re only …
Once upon a time, the opportunity to play it was passed over in favor of speaking at length to the man behind it. A tough decision for sure, but one for which there are no regrets. But this is E3, with all its glitz and gaudiness, its bass and babes, its bombshells and busts — both on the babes and on the press conference stages. This is the show, and Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit might just be the game coming to Xbox Live Arcade. Abstaining from experiencing firsthand at The Big Show, one of the most promising upcoming games for XBLA, simply wouldn’t do. Even waiting just a wink longer until XBLA Fans’ scheduled time with the game later in the week arrived just wouldn’t do.
The family is about to sit down for dinner and we’ve just wished each other Happy Easter — over the phone. Instead of sitting down at the dining room table with the rest of the family, I’m hours away in Boston for PAX East. A little white bunny is on a screen in front of me, but he’s not that bunny. No, this little rabbit hops down an entirely different trail than Peter Cottontail. The rabbit in question on the show floor, Ash, is the star of Arkedo Studio’s Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit and the Prince of Hell. The independent French studio has previously developed handheld, mobile and XBLIG games, so most Xbox gamers aren’t terribly familiar with it. Well, that’s all going to change this summer when Arkedo releases what studio co-founder Camille Guermonprez would later describe to me as “a [fluffing] video game.”
Easter Sunday was the final day of the 2012 convention hosted by Penny Arcade, and an appointment with Guermonprez to discuss Hell Yeah! was the last one on the XBLA Fans schedule for the weekend. I had passed by the game’s booth many times over the weekend and caught glimpses of what appeared to be a wonderfully insane and gorgeous action title that proudly channels early ’90s Genesis and SNES side-scrollers. Several other members of the team had gotten their hands on it during the first two days of the con and word was that this was not a demo to be missed.
But my schedule was jam-packed with appointments to play other promising games and talk to other developers all weekend. Hell Yeah! would have to wait. When XBLA Fans EiC John Laster, reporter Nick DePetris, photographer Scratch Pratt and I finally arrive to speak with Guermonprez, though, it turns out that we are doomed to wait just a little longer. Guermonprez, surely having spent even more time on his feet and in interviews than I had during the weekend, had given in to exhaustion and headed to lunch. And so we waited.
There isn’t a lot to say about Arkedo Studio’s upcoming game Hell Yeah! that you can’t tell just by looking at the name of the game. The art style, the crazy minigames, the twisted humor; all of that feeds into what is going to be without a doubt the most insane game ever to hit XBLA. Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a preview without talking a little bit about what we learned from the demo at PAX, so let’s get on with it!
First things first – the full name of the game is Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, which pretty much sums up the plot. You play as Ash, the Prince of Hell, a dead rabbit who is caught by paparazzi doing some rather obscene things with a rubber ducky. Naturally, this causes the whole of the underworld to lose what little respect they had for you, so in order to gain it back you have to kill, well, everything. Sound awesome? We thought so.