Austin Flynn(PowerUpGaming): We are seeing a resurgence of couch multiplayer…and games like (Super Dungeon Bros.) are kind of heading that front. What made (Wired Productions) want to market this?
Adam McGowan(Head of Marketing and PR for Wired Productions): Well, firstly, if I can talk from React’s point-of-view in terms of developing the game. The guys at React are very much into their co-op games. They like sitting down at the end of the night and playing games together, and they really wanted to develop a game that was couch focused- that was co-op focused, whether that be couch or online. Now, React as a studio have been around for a number of years- for eight years now- primarily working as a studio for hire, so this is their first game that they’ve actually invested time and effort into themselves to kind of develop themselves rather than developing for a brief for somebody else. Because of that fact, they were very keen to make something that was close to their hearts- something that they wanted to enjoy, and there is a lack of these types of games out there. More specifically, as well, there’s a lack of these types of more casual games. There are co-op games out there, but they tend to be a little bit more hardcore and less mainstream and casual, and what we’ve done Super Dungeon Bros as a publisher is we’re kind of working with React and saying ‘Well, look. We need to create something that’s casual and appealing to a mass market but it has that layer of depth there so it will appeal to a hardcore audience, as well.’ And the reason that we’ve kind of gone down the couch and online co-op is, you know, you don’t always have friends around to play games together, but you want to be able to go online and enjoy the game with friends, so, yeah, that’s primarily the reason we’ve got couch and online in there really.
PUG: Which is nice because most people are doing one or the other. You know, you see games like Helldivers. I believe that’s strictly online. Then you have games like Towerfall that are strictly offline, so it’s nice that you’re giving people the option.
Adam: Yeah, and again, that’s one of the reasons why we’ve pushed the cross-device-cross-platform play as well. We don’t really want to limit people, um to not being able to play because they can’t hook up with somebody, because their friends aren’t online, so that’s why we’ve kind of pushed the whole cross-platform as well. It’s really about mass accessibility for Super Dungeon Bros.
PUG: Well, that’s another thing that’s so difficult to do, I think and we don’t see it enough- which is cross-platform. We have people saying ‘ok, yeah. We’re going to be cross-platform’ and then they say two months before it comes out ‘you know what? We’re not going to be able to do that. Was (creating a cross-platform game) difficult?
Adam: We’ve had Unity stationed out in Salt Lake City for a number of weeks working specifically on Unity multiplayer- sorry Unity networking to get multiplayer functionality working. It has been challenging. It’s a first. Super Dungeon Bros. is a game of firsts, to some extent. There’s a lot of brand new innovations that are going in. So much so that, you know, the guys at React are developing tech as they go to kind of accommodate what it is that we’re looking to achieve. So, it’s been difficult, it’s been challenging but we’ve got quite a tight production schedule and we’re still managing to hit the milestones that we need to so, you know, production has been pretty smooth overall.
PUG: The whole bro aspect that you guys are going with there, that’s one of those things, the character design- specifically the glasses, that made me say ‘Ok, this is fun.’ Where did (the developers) come up with that idea. Where did that even start?
Adam: Really, again, it kind of comes back to games that they enjoy and kind of the types of characters that they enjoy and they wanted to kind of just tap into these whimsical, quirky characters that they dreamt up- that they were thinking about with a rock theme, as well. I mean, they all kind of harken back to this hair rock age like the ’80s and the ’90s. Brad over there is the president and he’s really into his rock as well. So those were kind of influences that bore into the game, but with the characters, as we talked about, it was more about making their personalities come through. I’m not sure where the glasses themselves came from. I think that was a nod from one of the art guys who actually had a pair. He was like ‘yeah, this would be really cool if we put this in the game.’ Just to give the characters a little bit of standout personality. We’re working on loads of merchandise, as well, for the bros which will be super awesome.
PUG: This title shows a bit of influence from Castle Crashers. What have you guys taken from that and then said “Well, maybe we can actually tweak it and improve upon it.”?
Tyler LaGrange(Technical Director at React Games): The core influence- originally we were thinking about doing a 2D Gauntlet clone. Yeah, we really like Gauntlet. We wanted that hack’n’slash. And then we’re like ‘let’s go 3D’ and Gauntlet again- 3D. So, I’d say it’s more Gauntlet than Castle Crashers, but, you know, Castle Crashers is influenced by Gauntlet too, so same type of thing. But, we really like the hack’n’slash gameplay. The quick and arcadey style of it. It just evolved from brainstorming sessions. I don’t know if (Adam) mentioned, but originally it was an Ouya Game Jam game. So, we did it in 10 days for an Ouya Game Jam because all we did was client work most of the time, but we all stayed after hours and said ‘we’re making a game.’ We had a brainstorming session and came up with Super Dungeon Bros. The idea was bros in a dungeon and then the title just kind of fell in from that.
Adam: What makes these bros different?
Tyler: They’re SUPER dungeon bros. *laughs* They have rock star attitude. The names of them are rock stars, but they themselves are not musicians at all. They just have rock star attitude. They think they’re awesome.
Adam: They can’t play any instruments but they just love the way of rock. But, as Tyler said, it started as an Ouya kill screen competition- Game Jam- entry and it picked up the equivalent of a readers’ choice award.
Tyler: Yeah, we got some interest from there but we didn’t win the award that we were nominated for. A zombie game beat us. You know how those zombie games are. We should have been Super Zombie Bros or something, right?
Adam: But then you took it to Game Connection and it picked up their social game and it was from there that it really just snowballed- that, you know, we actually have something here. We have something that’s appealing. Getting the social game award at Game Connection in Europe was quite a nice, little nod to the fact that it appeals socially. It’s a party game as well as the fact that, you know, we have the single player campaign in there so you can play it without people or you can just jump online with a load of friends.
PUG: Speaking of social, you guys have those little bro taunts where you talk to each other using the dialogue. Where did that come from?
Tyler: So that was actually even in our original Ouya Game Jame pitch. I wanted them to talk to each other- like, we just wanted them to interact with each other on a random basis really so it evolved from there, and we made it user driven instead of just random. There are still some random ones; like when you kill 50 guys you’ll hear a guy say ‘Gimme another 50 bad guys!’ You know, they just kind of have their own little phrases here and there.
Adam: Like Ozzie , for example, he’ll always blurt out that’s what she said. That’s his line.
PUG: Any game that has ‘that’s what she said’ in it- I think a lot of people are going to respond well to that. *laughs*
Tyler: It was really just the conversations. We wanted to give them personalities and let them talk to each other. You know in a lot of the style like Prince of Persia started doing that. There’s a lot of games that do that kind of stuff. So, it gives it more interest. It gives the characters more to work with.
Adam: I mean, the other thing, as well, with the in-game battle system is that if you’re not connected to the voice chat, it still allows you to communicate with people that you’re playing with and let them know that you’re in danger. Also, that ties in with the fact that why it’s all centered on one screen and why it’s not split screen so you can keep all the co-op focused and all the other players can see what each other are doing at the same time.
PUG: We also had one boss that we weren’t able to get to, but it’s something that you guys are getting to eventually- uh, is it something for people to look forward to?
Adam: Yes, most definitely. I mean, we have the Brew Queen who is the queen of Chillheim- the second world. She is quite a nasty piece of work. Let’s just say that. I won’t go into too much more detail, but we’re hoping to be at PAX this year and we’re going to have fully playable builds of Chillheim with the queen available. Now Lars, one of the characters, he’s actually continuously conflicted throughout the game because he’s in love with the Brew Queen and he just doen’t really know how to kind of deal with all of this drama going on in his head; and he’s a lover not a fighter.
PUG: Right, well that actually leads me to my last question- What’s you favorite characters and favorite weapons combination?
Tyler: There are some weapons that we haven’t shown yet that are pretty cool. Yeah, we’re leaking them out slowly.
Adam: Based on the demo at the moment, my favorite would have to be Axl and the Gutrender.
Tyler: The poison crossbow’s pretty good because it does the damage over time, but I really like the little rapier sword. That one, when you do damage it gives you a speed buff and it jumps from bad guy to bad guy like it has auto-targeting. So when you just smash the button it kind of zips around and kills everybody. That’s definitely my favorite weapon. I think Freddie’s my favorite character. He’s- he’s just like Animal from the Muppets. Lovable, crazy guy.
PUG: And how can fans of this keep up with gameplay? Just YouTube?
Adam: Yeah, we have both Twitter and Facebook. We’re @dungeonbros or /dungeonbros. They can visit superdungeonbros.com and sign up. We’re hopefully going to be soon announcing details of a beta campaign that we’re looking to put together or some sort of early access, as well. But yeah, or visit superdungeonbros.com. The main hastag that we’re using across twitter is #BROSB4FOES and all of of video content that we post will be on the Super Dungeon Bros website as well as the Wired Production YouTube channel.
Tyler:Do we keep up on the Steam greenlight stuff at all too?
Adam: We are- yes. We’re going to be updating all that over the course of the next couple of weeks for the Steam community.
Tyler: We’re trying to get as many channels to the community as we can.
PUG: Anything else you guys want to add?
Tyler: Not really. We’re just excited. Like I said, starting as an Ouya Game Jam and progressing all the way up to the point where we’re actually at E3 showing our game- I mean our game’s coming out on all the major consoles. It went from an Ouya to that. It’s exciting.