Nestled among the PAX Rising section, away from the absolute chaos and extensive queues of the triple-A area, was ByteSprite. This small indie team from Perth, Australia, brought their debut title BrambleLash to the show floor this year. I talked to Liam Hunt, Lead Programmer, about how this charming little game puts its own spin on co-operative play.
Hayden Waugh: Hey, Liam. Congratulations on the success of the game so far. Give us a quick run-down of what BrambleLash is about.
Liam Hunt: Sure, so BrambleLash is a local multiplayer game where you connect with a friend and you can co-operate or betray one another to win the game. It’s one to four players and you can work together with the other players or you can try to attack them and open up a lead, in terms of the scoring.
HW: What kinds of modes can we expect to find in BrambleLash?
LH: So, in Adventure mode, you progress through a series of different levels and we’ve got three different Seasons, which I guess you could call a ‘World’ – so there’s spring, autumn and winter. Each season gets progressively harder and, at the end of a season, you fight a boss.
But in Adventure mode, even if you’re playing in multiplayer, you can still compete against each other, to a degree. You can score or collect points when you kill enemies and if a player happens to die, whether it’s by an enemy or another player killing them, you can take some of their points. Also, at the end of the round each player is ranked based on their performance – so that’s Adventure mode.
In Versus mode, you’re directly trying to take out the other players and it’s the first to three points wins.
HW: Okay, because I was wondering how the time counter would work because I couldn’t see a clock or anything, or the amount of points that had to be reached to win.
LH: Yeah, there’s no time counter, per se. In Adventure mode you’re just completing levels. So, it’s kind of interesting because you’re working together to complete a level – which involves killing enough enemies to move on – but you’re working against each other to try and get points. It’s got a co-operative and competitive aspect to it at the same time, which is something we wanted to experiment with in BrambleLash.
HW: How does the tether coming out the top of the characters’ heads influence the gameplay? I noticed it broke off a couple of times.
LH: Well, the “tether” is called the Bramble and is the main mechanic of the game. So, if you get close enough to another player you’ll form a tether with them and use that to run through enemies or other players. This is the only way you can attack and it’ll disintegrate if you get damaged or stunned by particular enemy attacks.
HW: And you can obviously use that tether to take another player with you against their will?
LH: Yeah, absolutely! You can pull your partner around but they can also do the same to you – so it’s up to you to negotiate how you’re going to do that. Some people will just keep on pulling their partner, so it’ll be like a war where nobody wins, or people who use it cooperatively can use it to their advantage a lot more effectively.
HW: We saw something earlier that was like a mini-boss. Do they have different stages and do their attacks get progressively more powerful?
LH: Yeah, definitely! So that’s the Slime King and he’s sort of the antagonist of the game. You encounter him at the end of each season and he changes his attacks up reflective of that season. He starts off quite easy and gets a new arsenal after each subsequent encounter.
HW: So, when’s it coming out and on what platforms?
LH: We’re aiming for a February release in 2017 for Xbox One and Steam and we’re looking at porting it over to PS4 as well.
HW: Alright, thanks a lot, Liam, that’s all my questions!
LH: No problem at all. Thanks for chatting!
You can keep updated on the progress of BrambleLash by following the ByteSprite team on Twitter @bytespritegames.