Interview by Peter Ward
Set in the 1980’s, you’ll play as detective Roy Silver or officer Cindy Chan (or both in co-op mode!). Recent transfer Roy and new recruit Cindy find themselves stranded in an area of the city overrun by a violent syndicate that takes orders from the mysterious Viper. With no guarantee of backup, you have no choice but to fight your way through the streets and discover what is really going on in a city spiraling out of control. Action, suspense, drama!
- Story-based campaign mode (single-player or two-player cooperative)
- Large levels to brawl across
- Missions provided by citizens in distress
- 20+ unique enemies and bosses
- Freedom to explore levels at will and enter open buildings
- RPG-style experience and level-up system
- On-screen hit points showing the damage of each attack (can be disabled)
- Dialogue with voice acting and subtitles
- Environmental hazards
- Collectible 80’s nostalgia items for extra rewards
- Unlock new moves and abilities
- Weapon system that allows weapons to be picked up, equipped, or stored
- Unity game engine for streamlined porting to more platforms
Robert Jacob – Story / Music / Direction (Interviewing)
Robert started Xtra Mile Games to create games he’d like to play. He’s been working with multimedia (video, graphic design and music) for over two decades and also provided marketing and support for the PC/PSN title Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer. Since then, Robert has been looking for the opportunity to create a game for 2D beat ’em up fans and bring something new to the table.
Brian Crandell – Programmer / Gameplay Designer
From the moment he first became enthralled with the Sega Genesis as a small child, Brian Crandell could not envision any other career than one in video games. Learning opportunities were slim in high school, so he introduced himself to game development through modding in Unreal Tournament 2004. Brian firmly grounded himself in the basics, exposing himself to most major disciplines of development, including modeling, texturing, and animation.
A designer at heart, he couldn’t resist the power of programming to bring his concepts to life. While he received formal education in computer science in college, Brian is almost entirely self-taught in all aspects of game development. He has been successfully freelancing for two years, combining the technical expertise of a programmer, the intuition of a designer, and the analytical ability of both. He also can’t imagine what on earth he would do without the Internet.
Dalibor Garic – Lead Artist
Dalibor has extensive experience in art and design. His job is to create nearly all artwork for Night City Assault, taking characters through the concept phase and bringing them to life with flowing animations. He is also responsible for our richly detailed environments, with a commitment to variety that ensures every corner of every level will offer something original. He certainly goes the Xtra Mile to provide top-notch visuals.
Risks and challenges
Video games are difficult and costly to make. Just how much time and money is required is frequently underestimated by developers starting out and the main reason many projects fail. It’s a mistake to think it will be smooth sailing for an entire project, as there are often problems that bog down development and drain resources. The good news is that we have moved well beyond the concept/prototype phase, and most major issues have been encountered and solved. The game’s foundation is in great shape, with most of the mechanics already in place.
The biggest risk is that the release date may be pushed back for the sake of polish or lingering, unexpected issues. We understand the importance of meeting deadlines, to maintain the continued faith and support of our community. The game is our livelihoods, but it is just as much a work of passion, and we know quality means as much to you as it does to us. We’ll do our best to balance the need for a carefully planned release schedule with achieving the highest possible quality.
Indie developers also struggle to find suitable team members, not just in talent and skill but in work ethic. We hope you’ll agree that the Xtra Mile team is an effective one and produces fantastic work. We’re extremely excited about the project, and we’d love to work together again on the next one!
Thanks for having me.
My brother and I were playing a 2D beat ‘em up for Christmas a couple of years ago. It was a very enjoyable experience which had not experienced since our childhood and after an all too short experience, we started discussing why the genre has stagnated, mostly disappeared, its strengths and weaknesses and how to bring the 2D sprite beat ‘em up back and make it relevant again.
The repetition and lack of exploration were the big stand outs. The formula for most is move right along the same path, fight wave after wave and repeat. Their length is also a problem, with many being completed in an hour. While all these features were great in the arcades, the gaming scene has changed immensely over the years and the beat ‘em up was left behind for the most part.
My idea was to throw in a story campaign with RPG elements and missions, and design a map which the player can explore, ala Metroidvania style. This allows players to freely roam the map as they choose with multiple routes and makes every decision a potentially dangerous one, as there are no health pickups to speak of. Your survival depends on finding a save point and recovering health there.
The focus on missions also gives variation to the fighting in the game and we’ve got more ideas to provide even further variety over the whole campaign.
What development tools or coding did you using during the development of the new game?
We’re using the Unity engine to make it much easier to port from consoles. It’s a good engine, but I have to admit we encountered various issues.
There were various issues to work out in Unity. It’s a 3D engine and isn’t very friendly for 2D games. The version we’re on doesn’t even have a sound mixer, which for any audio designer will find a strange thing to omit. It’s been added into version 5.x from what I’ve heard and I’ll be very happy when we make the switch.
Our programmer had to create a lot of custom scripts for us to be able to do what we needed for the game. That being said, every engine has its issues and Unity is still one of the top engines out there.
There’s also very little documentation on how to create a beat ‘em up in regards to sprites, frame timing, AI and that sort of thing due to the lack of popularity. It’s been a real learning process for all of us, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.
This will be the first game the team has made together. We’re going all out!
What is your first gaming experience?
I was so young I wouldn’t be able to tell you. However, I’m pretty sure it was Super Mario Bros. or Duckhunt on the NES or Phantasy Star or another game on the Master System. Sorry I can’t be more specific (laughs). My first console was the Master System and I loved it to bits.
What got you into programming games?
Brian is our programmer and he wanted to make video games ever since he became a fan of the Sega Genesis AKA Mega Drive. I guess we get along so well because we both grew up as Sega kids (laughs).
I’ve wanted to make games for a long time and thought the idea was sound, so I thought it was finally time to give it a shot.
I’ve played nearly every console out there and I think the Mega Drive was my favourite, although I may be looking back with rose tinted glasses (laughs). The Xbox 360 definitely would be a close second.
What is your favourite retro game?
That’s a tough one with so many great titles out there and trying to pick one from my memories! If I had to choose, I’d have to say it was a game I played countless times as a child – Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I wonder how it holds up today!
Yes, I have a PS4, Vita and 3DS at the moment. I love the visual novels such as Zero Escape and Dangan Ronpa on portables, but my favourite current portable game would have to be Persona 4: Golden. It was my first time playing it.
What’s the worst game you have ever played?
Oh wow. I know a lot of work goes into every game regardless of whether it’s any good or not, so I try to look at the good in every game. But to answer your question, since I’ve never played the infamous E.T. or Superman 64, I’d have to say Sonic Jam on game.com. It’s unplayable unfortunately.
Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?
Maybe an analysis of what made some of the old games so great on a per game basis.