Retro City Rampage Developer Interview
Retro City Rampage Developer Interview
Announced as part of the PAX 10 last year, Retro City Rampage is an 8-bit game that plays like an open-world modern shooter. The game takes the best parts of classic and modern games and puts them into 8-bit form. Retro City Rampage creator, Brian Provinciano was happy to talk to JTM Games about his upcoming game. Check out the interview and gameplay footage after the break.
JTM Games: Could you give us an overview of what Retro City Rampage is all about?
Brian Provinciano: It’s kind of like Super Mario meets GTA meets a celebration of the entire history of video games. So steal cars, shoot people, jump on them like Mario stomps Goombas, collect coins, collect powerups and you get the idea.
JTM Games: What were you thinking of when you first started developing Retro City Rampage?
Brian Provinciano: First, it just started from my love of Grand Theft Auto and my love for the NES. As a programmer and technical person, I was just really fascinated with the idea of developing an 8-bit game; and originally I was developing on the actual NES. Eventually one thing led to another and I shifted away from the NES, but I still wanted to see this come to life; this 8-bit GTA-style game.
JTM Games: What game modes or features (that you’ve never announced) would you like people to know about today?
Brian Provinciano: Well, the cameos in the game fit right in perfectly. Starring other huge characters. So most of the game is a parody with homages and nudges to characters; there are some that are actually the REAL characters and we’ll be announcing those in the coming months. We’re going to announce the first one in two or three weeks. And they are among my favorite parts of the game. They mix it up so they add some sidescrolling stuff, fast button timing stuff, rhythm, and one of them even supports red and blue 3D glasses.
Not entirely hinting what they are. People have guessed what some of the crossovers are and I’ll just say they’re right in what their guesses are.
JTM Games: How long (game length) is the main storyline going to be?
Brian Provinciano: I’m not sure in hours, but the game does have about 50 story missions and about 30 arcade challenges. The arcade challenges are of course very repeatable, you’ll really want to get the gold medal.
JTM Games: Could you elaborate more on the game’s story/plotline?
Brian Provinciano: The story mish-mashes gameplay styles, characters, and world elements from other video games to other movies and TV shows and so that means that the weapons are fairly recognizable. For example, you have a bionic arm, a light gun, and a thing kind of like a Ghostbusters Proton Pack. You’ll also get a chance to drive a Delorean with flames coming out of the back of the car putting people on fire.
And then the missions themselves? You get a job as a henchman for a super criminal and you start working for him to do a bank heist. But then something happens and you stumble across these guys kind of like Bill and Ted from Excellent Adventures and steal their time machine. So in GTA you’re stealing cars, in this, you’re stealing cars and and telephone booths (for time travel). That’s where all the different possibilities come.
The booth gets damaged, but you want to repair it and you think that you’re going to do a time and space crime spree. So you have to repair the booth to do that.
JTM Games: WiiWare only allows games to be a certain size in order to be sold on their network, how did you optimize the amount of information and resources to fit the requirements?
Brian Provinciano: Well, one of the big things is that I’m a programmer at the root of this and just one of those things that, as a programmer, I want to optimize even though in this day and age it’s like “what’s the point, don’t waste your time.” But, for me personally, I wanted to optimize it so I built a lot of the data as if it were for an NES game and in fact, the way I create the art, the tool i use, is a derivative of the tool I built when I was actually developing on the NES.
So, the file sizes are small and we have over two-and-a-half hours of audio crammed into two megabytes. It’s pretty small and it fits so there’s no worries about the WiiWare size limit.
JTM Games: From the demos I’ve seen and played, there are certain characters that look exactly like their real-game counterparts. How do you avoid getting sued by the IP-owners and companies?
Brian Provinciano: So you have to make sure that the parodies are in generally a positive manner as opposed to negative. So you’re not necessarily devaluing their brand. But we have spent a lot of legal time just making sure things are cleared. There were a few things that I added before I knew better that I’ve changed or removed. We’ve had legal look over it, so it should be good.
JTM Games: What character customization options are available?
Brian Provinciano: There’s MJ’s Face-R-Us plastic surgery clinic, and more than hair, you can change your face there. We’ve had a crazy-fun time drawing the faces. Me and Maxim (the other artist on the project); we get inspired one time like “oh man, that stupid rat-tail haircut! That’s so funny!” So we just throw it into the game. So we’ve got tons of them, like 80 different faces. They all take just a few minutes to do, so whenever we’re inspired, we add to it.
We also have a Tattooist, cuz he (other artist) actually is a real-life tattoo artist as well. He’s worked on video games, he does 3D art, painting, pixel art, everything. He’s a jack of all trades. So we threw a Tattoo parlor in the game as well. “ToadStool Tattoo” cuz of references.
You can also go to the Casino; in there, you can play mini-games, you can go to the arcade and play other games. There’s a lot of things to do around town.
JTM Games: You mentioned the arcade. What kind of games sytles are available for play?
Brian Provinciano: That’s where you’re gonna see the cameos. Some of the cameos are ingrained into the story mode, and some are playable through the arcade. The one that supports 3D red and blue glasses, that’s in the arcade too.
JTM Games: Are there going to be any multiplayer options or features?
Brian Provinciano: No multiplayer, but a lot of social aspects like challenging your friends high scores on the leaderboards and sharing replays with each other. So if they beat your score, you can see how it’s done and maybe improve your own time and keep watching each others videos to create the ultimate playthrough.
Retro City Rampage is slated to be released on Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare in early 2012.
Check out the official game trailer: