Klei, developers of Shank and its recently released sequel, Shank 2, recently announced their new project, Mark of the Ninja. We have the fortune of bringing you another interview with Klei’s founder, Jamie Cheng. This time, he’s been kind enough to talk about Mark of the Ninja in some detail regarding the team’s approach to the game and their gameplay goals. We’ve also got preview content coming up after PAX East, so stick around after this!
Shank is definitely a kinetic, quick paced beat ’em up and never denies that, but Mark of the Ninja is no brawler; in fact it’s far from it. So we had to ask: why a stealth game?
According to Cheng, the team at Klei that’s been working on Mark of the Ninja grew up with ninjas and, simply put, they wanted to make a game that does ninjas justice. “When I play other stealth games you don’t feel like a ninja, you feel like Shank actually. We wanted one where you actually felt sneaky, felt like an actual ninja.”
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]
While Shank may still be referred to in some circles as an indie darling, the game packs a whole lot of production value. What may have started as a homemade knife, has been proven to be one gracefully elegant weapon. The title’s story is penned by Marianne Krawczyk, author of God of War. The game itself is presented in 9 layers of HD parallax taking art direction cues from Jeff Agala, creative director on the project and creator of Cartoon Network Original Series Atomic Betty. The game is being published by EA Partners, who is responsible for EA’s dealings with People Can Fly (Bulletstorm), Valve (Orange Box), Harmonix (Rock Band Franchise), and more. To call all of that indie, just doesn’t cut it.
That isn’t to say Shank has lost its indie roots. Klei CEO Jamie Cheng and Jeff Agala set out to make an adrenaline filled action fest that would also push the boundaries on how digitally distributed games are made. The game mixes and blends genres, as it feels part spaghetti western, part grind house film. Jamie Cheng described the plot to us as a “pulp fiction revenge story through and through.” The main character feels like a total badass combination of Stallone from Rambo and Brock Sampson from Venture Brothers. All in all, it’s a thrilling concoction of just epic ingredients you can only expect to see with the complete freedom of an indie studio.
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. For the uninitiated, Klei Entertainment is currently developing Shank for Xbox Live Arcade for summer release.
Redefining digitally distributed games
About five years ago, a young video game developer with some big ideas on how small game companies should work walked away from a position with an established developer in the hopes of completely redefining how digitally distributed games were made. Jamie Cheng sold his shares of THQ and went out on a limb to accomplish his dreams. This is where the story of Klei Entertainment begins.