Shellrazer Interview With Slick Entertainment
At the end of last month Slick Entertainment released Shellrazer, a game which stars a love-sick and heavily-armored turtle who embarks on a murderous rampage across a continent in search of his lady-friend. We loved the game's over-the-top violence and refreshingly different gameplay, awarding the game 4 out of 5 stars in our review.
Earlier this week we spoke to the team behind Shellrazer about development of the title, some exciting new content that's coming in a future update, and the crazy weaponry that didn't quite make it into the final release.
Could you give us a bit of background on the game and how you all came to work together?
Nick: It started about 9 months ago. My business partner, and also artist at the company, decided it was time for him to do something else. This put me in a bit of a conundrum: Should I continue working on games by myself, or should I go work at an established game studio again?
I decided to continue by myself, and shortly after that decision was made I met Jesse Turner at
the Full Indie meet-up, a monthly indie developer meet-up in Vancouver. We hit it off and we started working on Nature of the Beast (the working title for Shellrazer). After a month we had the prototype ready and we showed it to some people at the next Full Indie meet-up.
There I met Shane Neville, who also worked at Relic, but at a different time period than me. He signed up for the tuning, design and PR & marketing. A few months of intense development later, we needed audio, and we met with Jennifer Lewis, again at the Full Indie meet-up. See the pattern?
The game certainly has one of the more original concepts we've seen on the App Store. How did the idea for Shellrazer come about?
Shane: Jesse Turner is some sort of mad genius. His ideas are both ridiculous and awesome and often this means his ideas are ridiculously awesome.
Jenn: I think it was beer. Beer = turtles, right?
Nick: Yes. The idea came from Jesse, after a few cough beers.
Jesse: Whoa now, I actually made sure to pitch Shellrazer sober. It was the shortest pitch in my life because it was at a pub.
How long has the game been in development for, and what were the main challenges you faced?
Shane: Development took about 6 months. The biggest design challenge was finding the fun in the shooting gameplay. There aren't any games out there like Shellrazer, where you can look and say "Oh, that's how it works." We were more than halfway through development before we found the sweet spot of weapon management, moving the targeting and the pacing of the enemies. The first 5 levels were rebuilt over 100 times.
Jenn: While there were challenges, it's also important to state that it was fun to make this game! Our team of 4 has 55 years of combined game development experience. Those years helped us move forward quickly, as well as make fluid course corrections when required.
Jesse: There weren't too many challenges on my end as the artist. With a team this small and fast there really isn't any room for revisions so pretty much everything I made went directly into the game.
Nick: The main challenge as the programmer was to get the engine ready for 2D games. We spent a good deal of last year to get sprites and animations working, but this was the first real 2D game we released with it.
Were there any ideas that didn't make the grade for upgrades or enemy types?
Shane: We have lot of ideas that didn't make the cut. The last couple of months of development were more about cutting than adding. Some ideas were doomed to the trash bin, but we have a boss grappler that is pretty awesome and some new champions that will hopefully be making appearances in a future update.
Jesse: We also had this ridiculous gun with glass jars full of brains in it called the "Smart Gun" that would basically shoot for you or something. The idea was terrible for gameplay but really funny looking so it hung around for a while. We also really wanted a cool sniper type weapon but it was
tricky to make it work properly with our controls.
Do you have any updates planned for the game, and what can we expect from them?
Shane: Our first update will be live very soon. There are a few bug fixes and some improvements to the controls on the iPhone as well as a few balance tweaks to ease the player into the game a little more smoothly.
Our next update will include a new game mode we are calling The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is a huge level that gets progressively more difficult until it's impossible. Every week, there will be a new level and players will compete to see who can score the highest and get the farthest. The Gauntlet is going to be a lot of fun!
Is there any chance that Android gamers will get the chance to play Shellrazer?
What's next for the team? Are you working on a new project and can you share any details with Modojo readers?
Shane: Right now, updating Shellrazer is the #1 focus for the team, but we have a few ideas on the back-burner. It's too early to talk about them, but they are all pretty crazy, in a good way.
Nick: We might show little hints of them at some point on our weekly dev blog. We're pretty open about the projects we work on.[/B]