One of the beauties of being an indie studio is the ability to experiment; there is a freedom to development as there are no true limitations. The game can become a total fan service to the developers themselves. Brian Provinciano of VBlank Entertainment took the time to sit down with us recently and discuss this very fact. His title Retro City Rampage is a culmination of various pop culture references and game design mash-ups that merge into a totally unique game. We were given the opportunity to test it out and loved what we saw.
For the uninitiated, Retro City Rampage parodies the open-world action genre combining dozens of game mechanics into an 8-bit game. The game has a beautiful sense of humor, lampooning an entire era of movies, games and pop culture. Players take on the role of THE PLAYER, an anti-hero, who signs up as a henchman for a local crime syndicate. But things go chronically awry and he must soon defeat the EVIL GOOD GUYS, who will stop at nothing to end his RAMPAGE OF DOOM.
The AAA titles are continuing to look for ways to make the player feel that they have an effect on the game world. We have seen the continued success of games that feature choice, as well as multiple endings. The only issue is that many games still contiue to tell the story through in-game movies, to help move along the narrative, as well as captivate the player. Most players do not like the feeling of losing control. They hold a controller for a reason. With Bastion, it is not the cutscenes or trailers that are capturing people’s attention, it’s the narration. This isn’t just some voice walking your through a tutorial. The dynamic narration in Bastion is telling the story that you are creating. The narration in this game is designed to react tho the actions of the player, and tell the story the player is creating. Having only seen a demo at PAX, I cannot say how well this is implemented throughout, but the experience certainly stuck with me.
I reached out to Greg Kasavin, Creative Director at SuperGiant Games to delve a little deeper into the concept of dynamic narration; from how it came to be, to how it’s turning out.
Want a cooperative game that has a similar feel and style to Shadow Complex, but the gunplay of Halo? Well then you want to play Fallen Frontier. The game is currently in development at Moonshot Games, a new studio which houses some ex-Bungie developers, and already it’s looking impressive.
Fallen Frontier is a 2D platformer that has a dark, cel-shaded art style. Moonshot also added a small bit of photographic art touches, like very subtle wall sections on the forefront. It adds something small, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the little things that really sets this title apart from the others.