While attending Comic Con 2012 last weekend Behemoth was gracious enough to open their doors to everyone in attendance. Their booth had arcade cabinets of BattleBlock Theater as well as one of their classic titles Castle Crashers. The games were free and if you did want to spend a little money a Japanese vending machine was on display for you to put your Yen in once purchased from the store. Lots of cool swag was on display and a kickstarter was being promoted by the studio for a chance to receive a “super awesome NECROMANCER!” The link to this bad boy can be found….. wait for it…… HEEERE! Of course the always awesome yet gruesome dev team allowed GamersBliss to get a little interview on the busy show floor.
Enter Aaron JungJohann who is the Lead Level Designer at The Behemoth. GamersBliss got a chance to get some questions answered about their new game coming out called BattleBlock Theater as well as some details on what the studio looks for when creating a game. This cheeky fellow was both full of energy and ready to let us in on the latest and greatest about their new game at Comic-Con 2012.
GamersBliss – How did you like developing for BattleBlock Theater?
Aaron JunJohann – I had a lot of fun, honestly! There is something great about making a multiplayer game. Especially when it involves couch Co-Op because it means we get lots of excuses to beat each other up. As we are making changes and tweaking things, I think it says a lot about the game. We are three years in developing and we still have a good time trolling and picking fights with each other.
“when it involves couch Co-Op…”
GB – How does the BattleBlock Theater compare to older titles you developed like Alien Hominid or Castle Crashers?
AJ– If you like the art style in Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid you will like BattleBlock Theater. It is still Dan Paladin doing the artwork and animation. Gameplay though it is a lot different I don’t like picking a specific genre it is like a platformer puzzle brawl thing. It definitely has an adventure game kind of feel as your just trying to get by some of the different environments… you get FIRE shooting out of things, missile shooting robots, and raccoon antelope hybrids trying to eat you. It is definitely more insane that Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid. Which I think is really impressive, I think of all of our feats it is one of our more noteworthy ones to kind of TOP THE CRAZY.
I think if you have played Castle Crashers or Alien Hominid as obviously there is a lot of valued Co-Op. We really like developing games in which you work together playing with your buddies your brother or whatever. But just like in Castle Crashers when you get the princess you have to fight in order to save her. We really wanted that experience to be whenever you wanted. It is all about your helping each other you’re getting through the game but anytime you want or even accidentally you can mess with each other or kill each other. We don’t really punish you too much as we just let you experiment to see how everything works together. And if your buddy ends up exploding in the process it is just that much funnier.
“TOP THE CRAZY…”
GB – How did you design the game to help cater to the Co-Op experience?
AJ – If you have 2 people in a level it is actually set up to have 2 people. So you will have a puzzle to be set up with that, the areas are bigger so you aren’t cramped and get into each others way. My goal is to make sure you never sit there and go “I wish this other guy would just leave so I could actually get through this”. However if you playing by yourself the levels are tighter the puzzles are a bit different and we deliver a more tight single player experience. That was one of the really great job of constituting. And if you have 4 players to play with we have an arena mode with a 2v2 battle brawl, you get points for smashing each other. Usually you have an item that you pick up you share it, but in this game when you pick something up it is like painting a big target on your back, saying “punch me” because if you do you get the really cool item that I got to first. It really changes the dynamic because now all the cooperation is just thrown out the window.
GB – What else do you think The Behemoth is going to push the industry towards? It is found in your art style that has been created by Dan Paladin, and how the older titles your studio has delivered gamers had so much in it for being an arcade game.
Then the tables were turned as Aaron asked us a question
AJ – Are you calling us trend setters?
GB – Yes you are especially when it comes to pushing the limit to Co-op and delivering a refreshing experience.
AJ – Well I think it is good to have an example of a game that doesn’t need a HUGE production but still have the polish and the quality that Castle Crashers… that BattleBlock Theater will have. I think it is nice to have a couple of people getting together and making a game that is fun. It doesn’t have to be this big production of exploding polygons. We just try to have fun, while creating an experience that is both fun and entertaining.
“an example of a game that doesn’t need a HUGE production but still have the polish and the quality…”
GB – How do you compare yourself growing up as a gamer to becoming a developer that creates games?
AJ – At the time I never really thought of it as a viable thing to do. I never really said to myself oh well I am going to go out and make video games. The industry as I have gotten older has really gotten so big that I realized it was a pretty reasonable endeavor. I am thrilled and really quite happy to find such a great team to work with. I grew up playing games like Mario Bros, the LucasArts game and puzzle kind of games. It’s really great to work on something that combines all of my favorite genres together. And now its cool to kind of be able to pass this on to the new generation of gamers.
GamersBliss would like to thank The Behemoth and Aaron JungJohann for your time and for answering our questions!