Skulls of the Shogun will be a big game for Microsoft; it will be available on XBLA, Windows 8, Windows Phone 7, and the Surface tablet. That’s a lot of platforms, but …
It’s 30-minutes til the doors slam shut on day two of Rezzed; Brighton’s PC and indie games soiree featuring the likes of Gunpoint, Hotline Miami and, of course, Skulls of the Shogun. Hot stuff, but it’s no doubt to the chagrin of Borut Pfeifer – developer at 17-Bit – that I’ve asked him to describe Skulls in just 20 words at this late juncture.
“It’s turn-based strategy infused with the spirit of an action or arcade game. It’s fast, no grid, with multiplayer.” Nailed.
Skulls of the Shogun marks 17-Bits’ attempt to haul the turn-based strategy shenanigans of something like Advance Wars (possibly the greatest game ever made) onto Xbox Live Arcade. No easy feat; the Xbox is without touch screen, without keyboard and mouse and about the only example I can think of turn-based strategy game built solely for XBLA is Band of Bugs. Gulp.
With that in mind, I chat with Borut about how Skulls has been tailored to XBLA, why 17-Bit chose the platform and, mostly, the intricacies of the recently announced asynchronous multiplayer. What’s an asynchronous multiplayer? Read on!
Haunted Temple Studios’ Skulls of the Shogun took me by surprise at last year’s PAX East. It was my first look at the game, and its attractive cartoon art style immediately drew me to it. Within a few minutes of playing, it was obvious that the developer had backed the visuals up with incredibly fun turn-based combat.
At this year’s show Haunted Temple CEO and Creative Director Jake Kazdal stated that many members of the crowds that had continually gathered around his studio’s booth throughout the weekend had followed a similar path of attraction to the inspired strategy game. “I think it’s a different dynamic for this kind of game, and people really seem to be digging it,” Kazdal said. “The art style sort of draws [convention attendees] in, and then they start thinking like ‘Wow, this is different than any other strategy game I’ve played.'” Although inspired by the Advance Wars and Fire Emblem games, Skulls of the Shogun definitely has a unique and wonderful vibe all its own.
Believe it or not my favorite part about video games isn’t the games themselves but the way they bring people together. Arguably no show demonstrates this bond better than PAX. Thousands of likeminded individuals flooded Boston this past Easter weekend. It didn’t matter where you worked or what you did or what you had to do when you hit the ground again on Monday; for one glorious weekend everyone was an equal: a gamer. It didn’t matter if your weapon was a die, a mouse, a controller or one’s own body. Everyone at this show had a passion for games.
A few of us from XBLA Fans made the trip and had the honor of mingling and checking out some of the upcoming XBLA titles for 2012 and beyond. We were able to hear developers in their element talking to fans about their projects. It was an amazing experience. Our own Andrew Crews has already elaborated on this issue, but in the end you remember the little things. That being said, there were some amazing games. Check out our full breakdown below!