XBLA Fans recently had the opportunity to chat with Pawel Lekki, COO at Exor Studios. Exor’s Zombie Driver HD released on XBLA this past October, and Lekki was more than willing to talk about the title as well as his background in game development.
Pawel, please tell us a few things about yourself outside of the world of gaming.
I think there isn’t much outside the world of gaming because I spend most of my day at work to be honest. But if I’m not working I enjoy travelling by car around Europe. Moving around in your own vehicle gives a lot of freedom, and I annually make road trips with a few friends. Our record braking trip so far was visiting 11 countries in 7 days with a total of 5000km on the road.
How did you get into game development?
The first gaming-related thing I did [actually involved] classic role playing games. I was a game master for 5 years, and together with our team we created our own version of one of the popular RPG systems. I guess you could say we started modding with pen and paper.
When it comes to traditional computer game development, I started by making levels for various games with my brother. The first game for which we made our own maps was Age of Empires, then StarCraft, and later we moved on to first person shooters like Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 and Half-Life. The first Make Something Unreal contest actually played an important role in our journey because it made us go public and share our works on the internet. After that we started working on mods for Half-Life and informally started Exor as a modding group. Our first public mod was ‘D.I.P.R.I.P.’ for Half-Life 2 and because of our work on it we were all hired by a Finnish mobile game development company called Gamelion. That was the beginning of my professional game development career which started 7 years ago.
We recently had the opportunity to talk at length with Greg Kasavin, writer and designer at SuperGiant Games about the state of the downloadable titles. Instead of focusing solely on Bastion, the team’s debut release, we spoke with Greg about why he chose independent game development as a career, his experience thus far with the Xbox Live service, as well as his plans for the future. Bastion is out now on XBLA and Steam and was the first title to be released in last year’s Summer of Arcade promotion.
Recently we had a chance to speak with 7sixty Games about their upcoming new age beat’em up, Kung Fu Strike. In this interview we talk about the games origins, graphics style, even a little tidbit about DLC. So put on your favorite kung fu themed fighting music and dive in to the rest of this interview.
XBLA Fans: Tell us a little bit about 7sixty games.
Rob Burman: 7sixty is a relatively new publisher set up in 2011 with an aim to release great digital games. Many of us play games at the company and over the years it’s become more apparent that a lot of the more creative and imaginative titles are released digitally, so we thought it would be great to focus on this aspect of gaming. Kung Fu Strike will be our first XBLA release and we’re more excited than a black belt in judo who has just smashed his hand through a pile of bricks.
XBLA Fans: How did the idea of Kung Fu Strike originally come about?
Rob Burman: We are action game fans and we are Kung Fu lovers. However if you want to be a Kung Fu master you have to work very hard for years and years. As a result we wanted to create a similar experience in a video game, so you can do all kinds of incredible Kung Fu moves without ever leaving your sofa! Therefore it’s a title for hardcore gamers but it’s also for casual Kung Fu fans.
We love ourselves a good 2D anything here at XBLA Fans, so this week we interviewed Jamie Cheng, Founder of Klei Entertainment. Klei is known for many things, but chiefly here on XBLA we know them for developing Shank, a 2D brawler filled to the brim with weapons, stabbing, shooting and most of all, shanking. We’ve interviewed Jamie before about the game, but this time we got in-depth and talk at length about all things Shank, Shank 2 and Klei in general.
Specifically speaking Jamie discusses a bit of his opinions on Shank and how he and his team wanted to improve on what they achieved with Shank. We discuss some of the flaws in Shank and how they’ve been addressed in Shank 2. On top of that, we discuss the reasoning behind choosing a survival mode as this game’s multiplayer mode instead of another co-op campaign. There’s also plenty of Klei-related talk for those interested in learning more about an indie developer.
Any fans of brawlers should check out Shank and Shank 2, the latter of which has had plenty of awesome coverage over the last couple months. There’s single player footage and footage of the new survival mode as well as all kinds of cool things for fans like this Shank 3D papercraft. There have been quite a few changes to the Shank experience for Shank 2 and Jamie and I spare no detail when discussing them, especially with survival mode.
Shank 2 is out on XBLA on February 8 for 800MSP.[podcast]https://xblafans.com/xblafancast/XBLAFancast_Interview_Klei.mp3[/podcast]
Racing games on XBLA are constantly struggling for uniqueness. These racers, many of which are top-down, have to find a way to stand out and really pull ahead of the pack. Some games go with zany weaponry, some go with a fun and light nature, and some are very competitive. Bang Bang Racing, the upcoming product of a collaboration between well-known XBLA developer and publisher Digital Reality and Playbox, is out to make a name for itself and we just have to find out how they plan to do it! Hit the jump for a Q & A with Bang Bang Racing‘s Digital Reality-side Lead Designer, András “Amper” Timár-Geng.
Orcs have been a problem throughout the universe for all eternity. Well. Maybe not, but they still have to die! And so they will in Robot Entertainment’s action tower defense strategy game Orcs Must Die! Justin Korthoff, Community Manager at Robot Ent, joins myself and John Laster to discuss the game’s origin, some details about Robot Ent, and of course the awesome points of the game.
Justin goes over the bit of time following Ensemble Studios’ collapse all the way up through the beginning of Orcs Must Die!, and how small the game started at first. On top of that is the birth of a lot of the game mechanics, how three traps turned into over 20, and how the crossbow and various other elements of the game were balanced to ensure that each of the game’s levels played differently. This podcast is full of great insight into the processes regarding this game’s development and the result of those design strategies.
Venture forth and listen![podcast]https://xblafans.com/xblafancast/XBLAFancastOMDInterview.mp3[/podcast]
Upcoming turn based strategy game Skulls of the Shogun is being developed by a core team of three gentlemen at Haunted Temple. We were lucky enough to talk with the founder and design director Jake Kazdal (the guy in the dev diary). Fresh from his showing of the game at Fantastic Arcade, Jake was kind enough to venture into the netherworld and sort out some of the details, or rather, pretty much all of the details on Skulls of the Shogun.
Of the massive plethora of topics discussed, up first was mechanics. While the game may look shallow at first, we can guarantee you the tactics go far deeper than one might imagine, without being all that complicated. Spirit walls, eating skulls and haunting structures are just some of the finer mechanics in Skulls of the Shogun. Jake goes on to discuss art direction and story, telling of his time spent in Japan and the myriad of influences that period of his life has had on the development of Skulls of the Shogun.[podcast]https://xblafans.com/xblafancast/HauntedTemple_InterviewSpecial.mp3[/podcast]
Awesomenauts, upcoming 2D MOBA game from Ronimo Games, is paving the way to an entirely new way to play MOBA games without abandoning all the things we love. However, with a change of dimension comes several other things. Arguably games like League of Legends are actually pretty simple to understand and can be very accessible. However, getting good, or passing the “barrier of competency”, is a very long, uphill battle requiring either tons of gameplay experience or a lot of research. Awesomenauts seeks to simplify and streamline the mechanics surrounding the depth that MOBA games are known for without removing any of it. In that effort, Ronimo Games has employed a simple, understandable and customizeable “item”, or rather upgrade, structure and shop system into Awesomenauts. How exactly that lofty goal will be achieved is, in short, explained below and after the jump.