Last week I got to do a virtual sit down with a developer from Halfbrick studios and quiz them on their upcoming title, Raskulls.
We don’t have a release date or price set yet but I did get to ask them about the chances of it coming to the PS3 or Wii and we hear some details about the single and multiplayer campaigns.
Q. How large is the team over at Halfbrick working on Raskulls?
The team is currently around 9 – 10 people, although we also have various other members of the studio who assist with extra level design and feedback. With almost 40 people in the company, everyone has a good relationship with the Raskulls team.
Q. Any South African connections in the team?
One of our highly skilled programmers actually grew up in Zimbabwe and has lived in Australia for seven years. So, not quite South Africa, but close and he is very familiar with the country.
Q. When coming up with Raskulls did you plan on it being a humorous title to start with or did it just evolve that way?
The art style was always colorful, and the characters began to evolve with more and more personality. So, we wrote dialogue to go along with each character, and as time progressed we found the humor came easily. There’s plenty of comedy for all ages – don’t let the colorful graphics fool you, this isn’t a game just for kids – although they will certainly have a blast with it. Think of it like Bomberman and Mario Kart, which everyone loves, only with more personality!
Q. How would you describe the genre of Raskulls?
It’s definitely a racing game at heart, but there’s so many different modes we’ve created, it’s not simply straight from point A to point B. As you can see in the trailer, each level is filled with blocks to smash which adds a puzzle aspect, but there’s also levels that aren’t based on speed or timing at all, instead focusing purely on running, jumping and bashing. There’s over ten types of gameplay in the single player story mode alone.
Q. Who would you classify as your direct competition or which title would it be fair to compare yourself to?
There certainly isn’t any direct competition. The puzzle aspect to gameplay has similarities to Mr. Driller – although our system is far more varied and offers full platforming control instead of simply digging downwards. We have online item-based multiplayer with a massive amount of races and tracks, so there’s a huge amount of replayability, again similar to the Mario Kart and Bomberman games.
Q. The art style of Raskulls has been compared with Castle Crashers by a few websites now, do you think that is a fair?
It’s a valid comparison at first glance. All our models are 3D but it’s still very much a 2D game as a platformer, which is exactly how Castle Crashers found its audience – a mix between classic gameplay mechanics and brand new technology. Our art is hand-drawn, and cutscenes have a storybook appeal to them with simple, appealing Flash animation.
Q. What made you decide to create the title exclusively for the Xbox Live Arcade?
It was originally a DS project, but the technically superior Xbox with the robust online community meant we could really take the game to its fullest potential. Xbox Live Arcade is now a proven platform, with many gamers I personally know play XBLA almost exclusively.
Q. You mention on your site that Raskulls will have a lengthy single player campaign, can you elaborate? How many hours are we looking at to complete it?
We’re actually adding new content right now which will extend it even further. For a first-time player, I’d expect them to complete it in around four – five hours, which is absolutely optimal for an Xbox Live Arcade game. That’s one playthrough, but there will be extra unlockable content that players get by completing the Story Mode 100%. After that, of course, there’s the multiplayer section, which adds potentially unlimited hours of gameplay.
Last Updated: July 14, 2009