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.”
It feels like we’ve been waiting on game announcements for some time, but the ID@Xbox team unleashed the floodgates last week for the first wave of titles using the new independent development program. Twenty-five games were showcased at a public event during GDC providing developers a chance for direct fan interaction. The ID@Xbox team released a video highlighting five of the games: Super Time Force from Capy Games, Strike Suit Zero Directors Cut from Born Ready Games, It Draws a Red Box from Other Ocean Interactive, Spectra 8 Bit Racing from Gateway Interactive and FRU from Through Games.
The agents of Super Time Force‘s titular time-traveling force aren’t the only ones busy messing around with time. Capybara Games, the developer behind the upcoming XBLA and Xbox One action title, has moved the release timeline its targeting for the game to this summer, reports Polygon.
“It’s really tough to tell with Q&A and the certification process, but we’re really hoping for May or early June,” studio head Nathan Vella told Polygon this week at Game Developers Conference. “As soon as possible.”
In the game, players have the ability to call “Time Out” and rewind the action upon dying so that they can fight alongside previous versions of themselves in, as Capy’s website explains, “the good ol’ seconds of a few seconds ago, creating a veritable army of yous.” The ability to rewind and try again might be an attractive one to Capy Games, considering that it has had to change release plans for Super Time Force more than once.
Vella said last September that his game would “definitely” release in 2013. The studio president said at the time that the game was “feature-locked.” That was before an Xbox One version of Super Time Force was announced, though. The work necessary to make the next-gen iteration of the side-scroller a reality forced the release window for both versions back into “early 2014.”
One of the best things about video games is creating impossible realities, but common notions of reality became a nuisance when Capy was making Super Time Force. It’s a side-scrolling action shooter in which you can gang up on enemies on the fly by creating multiple timelines. However, we personally experience only one timeline, so temporal paradoxes don’t come to mind until someone makes them into an interactive system. We have talked a little bit about this before, but at GDC, Capy Technical Director Kenneth Yeung disclosed to Gamasutra a few more details about the challenges and solutions devised throughout the evolution of Super Time Force.
Joking, Yeung said, “I got 99 problems and time is 100 of them.”
“We wanted to make something simple, easy, a fun action game,” Yeung continued. “But in reality, when you’re dealing with time, you’re dealing with something that’s complex and paradox-filled.”
As a result, Capy needed to create a new system of metaphysics to avoid messy paradoxes and keep the game fair and fun. “You can have a solid engine and idea,” Yeung explained, “but without these solid systems in place, your game will for sure break down.” As it turns out, those systems push a little further than your high school physics class curriculum.
You may have heard about Super Time Force. Something about how it’s a retro-looking side-scroller game with arcade-y Contra-type action, but with some time-traveling twist. They say that when you die, you can reverse the clock and jump in as a different hero throughout the same moments while your previous run continues exactly how you played it out. These re-runs can stack up to having several heroes carrying out their recorded destruction in tandem.
Confused? That’s okay, because you now can finally see it in action. This new gameplay trailer from Capy Games demonstrates exactly how the time travel smashes a classic formula into a mind-twisting puzzle. It also shows off the different heroes, their weapons, and how you will pause time to cycle to new heroes and zip through the level with as many extra seconds as possible. You can even use the time travel to save your life by intervening where you died. What are you waiting for?