Graphically, games continue to improve. They’re getting better and sharper with each system that gets released, but there is still an appreciation for the retro style graphics and games of the past. Whether you grew up playing retro games, or wish you did, you can experience that with Glitch Strikers. I got the chance to sit down with Matt Kap (Castle in the Darkness, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth) about this latest game in the works.
Rogues Portal (RP): Is it tough moving back and forth between so many art styles?
Matt Kap (MP): It’s not that tough to be honest, but I have times where I’m more inclined to work on certain things. I’m a musician as well, so if music counts as a different art style, I can say that there are times that I just don’t feel inspired to draw, and I’ll write some music instead. Being able to jump back and forth between different mediums and styles helps me always have something that I can do and keep things going forward.
RP: Where did you and the other creator get your inspiration from for this game?
MP: Obviously, for Glitch Strikers, we were inspired by the entire 8-bit era of gaming. There’s a bigger story here as well though. Jay was the creator of a flash game called “Super Mario Bros. Crossover”, which was a remake of Super Mario Bros., free to play on the net, where you could use characters like Megaman, Samus and Link to complete the levels from the original SMB. It was a huge hit, but since Jay wasn’t able to make a living off of a fan game, he decided to crowdfund a similar game to SMBC, called “Super Retro Squad”, but using original assets and ideas while parodying aspects of the games that those characters and worlds were based on. Long story short, they raised some money, the team had issues, and the game was put on hold. Fast forward 5 years, and Jay had played my game “Castle In The Darkness”, so we started talking. After some time, we decided to resuscitate the project and the ideas started to flow for Glitch Strikers.
RP: This game seems like a pretty big endeavor, how did you go about splitting up the work for or collaborate on it?
MP: It’s pretty simple actually, Jay is programming the game, and I am creating the graphics and audio. We are both splitting design duties. It’s easy to work in such a small team because there aren’t a lot of people either of us needs to convince when we want to have some input :).
RP: Your other game Castle in the Darkness also has a retro feel to it, why go with the retro style when making games as opposed to something new?
MP: Making 8-bit assets is generally easier and cheaper to make for someone like me, who was making a game on their own. That doesn’t mean that it’s lazy or “the easy way out” or anything though. I really love the 8-bit aesthetic, and it makes me happy to work within those limitations and create nostalgia for myself and others through them. That being said, I have started projects that I hope to release in the future that are done in totally different styles, but that stuff seems harder to work on and not as rewarding to me from a creative standpoint. I’m not sure if those will ever see the light of day, but I hope to release something this year just to see how people will like it.
RP: Some of the characters resemble some other classic characters, do you worry about any copyright infringement or anything like that?
MP: Though the trailer really makes some things look similar, we didn’t use any of the original assets. Music was composed from scratch, and sprites weren’t “color-swapped” or “drawn-over-top-of”. Each sprite was drawn in blank frames, but we really tried to make everything look and sound as nostalgic as possible. There was a lot in the reveal trailer, but it’s just scratching the surface for what we have planned. A lot of stuff will be very different, and everyone will see that once we show actual gameplay and unveil more about the game. There will be no cause for concern about copyright infringement or anything of that sort by the time the gameplay is shown!
RP: What other characters or features will the game have that wasn’t featured in the trailer?
MP: We have a lot of stuff planned, with some of the most ridiculous and obscure ideas that we have ever come up with that will be a huge surprise to the fans :). One thing I can say for sure here, is that more characters are planned, and since we are trying to honor the backers and stretch goals of the SRS kickstarter, there will be a tank character named Eve VII. This character will have the ability to shoot in multiple directions and drive on walls and ceilings. And there is a lot more in the works as well!
RP: Do you prefer working on your own or collaborating with people?
MP: I think it depends on the project. For simple games and small ideas and prototypes, it’s a lot faster for me to get something done, but I’m not a programmer, so when I do things on my own, I’m always stuck with my limited knowledge and the limitations of the game development software that I’m using. In the future, it would be great to continue working with a programmer, so that I can focus more on the art and keep things moving faster and more efficiently. I usually collaborate a tiny bit with other artists/musicians as well. For instance, Mike Lambert (@Jakten) is an artist that I worked with on “The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth” who I think has a great style. He helped with background tiles and monster design in “Castle In The Darkness”. CitD also used a song called “Nevermore” in the Torture Chambers area, which is an 8-bit cover of a song by the same name by a band I recently joined, called “Mute”. I also have a frequent collaborator on the music side of things named Andy Zowsk, who will be helping with some music composition and arrangement for upcoming game projects. I guess for a lot of my upcoming projects I’m collaborating more than I’m used to. It’s exciting to work with other people when you can trust their ability to contribute great things to a project, even if it’s something small.
RP: What other games are you working on or have anything planned for the future?
MP: I’m kind of a workaholic, so I’m always working on several things :). And though I’m not currently employed anywhere, I’m trying to finish and release a bunch of exciting musical and game-related projects this year.
I’m working on Glitch Strikers at the moment, as well as a little update to ‘Castle In The Darkness’. I’m also working on several personal projects that you’ll be hearing about soon, and helping a few developers with some of their own projects. I’m hoping to announce something else new at the beginning of April, so follow my twitter page @MattKap1 to see all upcoming announcements as soon as it’s safe to talk about them :). Also, for Glitch Strikers news, follow @ExplodingRabbit.
Glitch Strikers has recently been Greenlit by Steam and will be coming to early access later this year.