Over the past few days, I am pleased to say that I have had the privilege of discussing the new Indie game, Crypt Run - “a procedurally generated bullet-hell Zelda”, with the great guys at Lost Decade Games. This project is currently in it’s Alpha version and is in the process of being funded in a Kickstarter project, but the more money that is raised for the project, the more content we will get to see!
These guys have got some fantastic ideas for this arcade styled game, including a randomly generated dungeon mechanic that makes the gaming experience just that little bit different for everyone. Alongside this, they have an awesome art style that breaks away from the all too popular pixel art style in video games at the moment – opting to create a much smoother and all together better looking art concept. However, their most important mechanic is a life after death feature that transports your character to the death realm, full of nasty wraiths and enemies that you slaughtered on your way through the dungeons of Crypt Run. This feature promises some varied gameplay, including quests that involve you transporting yourself back and forth between the lands of the living and of the dead.
I got a chance to play this great new title before discussing the game with “Technical Artist” and co-founder of Lost Decade Games’, Matt Hackett.
This game certainly has some addictive, fun gameplay with a whole lot of promise.
They really have been piling in the content for this game, and I for one
really hope that the game reaches some more of it’s development targets
in it’s funding to really create something special. Huge thanks to Matt Hackett for allowing me to interview him! Check out the full Q&A below!
Q: We’ll start with a brief overview of what Crypt Run is - how would you explain it to anyone who hasn’t heard about the project?
A: I’ve got a one-liner that goes something like this: “Crypt Run is an ever-changing medieval fantasy hack ‘n slash game that isn’t over when you lose your life.” But gamers really like it when you compare games, so I’d say it’s kind of like “a procedurally generated bullet-hell Zelda.” Definitely what sets it apart is its (currently unfinished) death mechanic.
Q: There’s a very unique mechanic in the game based around the theme “Death is only the beginning”. How did you guys come up with this? And can you briefly explain how this mechanic is being implemented?
A: The death mechanic will really be what makes Crypt Run special. Initially, the idea came from an online multiplayer project we were working on (which was cancelled by our partner). When you die in an online multiplayer game, sometimes you just have to sit there and watch. You don’t get to play anymore! That design sucks - so in our game you became a ghost, and you could still affect the world and mess with other players.
We applied this idea to the single player experience in Crypt Run, and came up with the death mechanic being a whole new part of the game. Rather than just a “corpse run” that you might have experienced in games like World of Warcraft, you’re now in the “Realm of the Dead” where there are ghosts, and wraiths, and other scary things. Crypt Run is in alpha, and this part isn’t finished yet, but eventually we want to introduce complicated quests that involve going back and forth between the living and dead realms.
Q: Having played around with the alpha myself, there really do seem to be a huge amount of enemies here! Just how many enemies are in the game currently, and how many more do you have planned?
That’s good to hear! We really want Crypt Run to feel like it’s packed with content, so that it always feels different each time you play. As of this writing, there are 12 monsters in the cemetery, more than 10 different weapons, and a ton of traps and items. The cemetery is feeling pretty close to a beta, so we won’t add too much more. The Lich Lord boss will get finalized, and the Realm of the Dead will have just as much content as the Realm of the Living. If we meet our content stretch goals, we’ll continue adding new dungeons to Crypt Run, and each one will have just as much new content as the cemetery does now.
Q: There’s a great new swarm of bees weapon that you guys have just added to the alpha, I can only presume you’ve got some more ideas up your sleeve?
A: Aren’t the killer bees fun?! They feel kind of like a machine gun, which is great in a game where machine guns haven’t been invented yet! There’s also a Boom Spear that explodes on impact, a Golden Axe that spits out treasure, and a boomerang that rips through zombies!
Some really fun weapons will be coming to the Realm of the Dead soon. In this realm, the weapons will be high-fantasy magic, such as burning fireballs and freezing icicles.
Q: It’s a great art style you’re working with here too, really blending nicely with the game type and genre.
Were there any other art concepts you were toying with? Do you have a favourite character from the game yet?
A: Thanks! This art style is one that I’ve been tweaking for about 3 years now. In our first game Onslaught! Arena, I didn’t have a good grasp of the basic fundamentals of art asset creation, such as color palette and silhouette. Pixel art can be time-consuming and it feels like the general gaming audience is a little tired of it, so over the years I’ve gradually moved towards digital painting with smoother shapes.
My favorite character in Crypt Run so far is the Grave Golem, which eventually will explode out of some tombstones!
Q: The game’s alpha currently only utilises the keyboard to control the character. Will the controls for the game remain the same throughout development to stick with the arcade theme, or are you going to implement a mouse aiming system to work with the keyboard?
A: There will ABSOLUTELY be mouse support in Crypt Run! We’ve actually already implemented it, but there was a nasty bug that would make the game lag, so we temporarily removed this feature. Players will be able to enjoy the final version of Crypt Run with keyboard only, keyboard and mouse, or a gamepad.
Q: Are there any exciting developments you have planned you can let us know about yet?
A: YES! Next week we are launching a “Challenge a Friend” feature in Crypt Run. It works like this: after you play through a dungeon, you’ll get a URL that you can send to a friend. When someone visits that URL, they’ll play the exact same dungeon you just played. When their game is over, your two scores are compared and you are declared the winner or the loser. It’ll be a fun way to see who’s better at Crypt Run!
Q: Will we see this project hitting Steam Greenlight when it is developed further?
A: Yes again! The moment the Kickstarter ends, we’ll be launching a new campaign to get Crypt Run on Steam via Steam Greenlight. Gamers will also be able to pre-order Crypt Run via our Humble Store widgets that we have already set up for backers who can’t/won’t use Kickstarter.
Q: Any plans for a rough completion date for Crypt Run?
A: Since Crypt Run is full of monsters, skeletons, and death, we think it would be so cool to launch on Halloween! But if we meet any of our stretch goals, we’ll be pushing the date back to make room for more features and content. So that would be an awesome release date but we really hope it gets pushed back so we can continue to work!
So, make sure you check out the Kickstarter project for Crypt Run and see some of the amazing work they’re doing! Keep a look out on Steam Greenlight too, it’d be great to see a fully developed version of this game on Steam. The guys are getting really close to their $5,000 target needed to flesh out the game and fix any bugs in the next few months, so make sure you check out the project. Although I’d love to see the game released on Halloween, here’s hoping they earn enough to continue working.
I can’t wait to hear more about further developments in Crypt Run – and hopefully neither can you.
Developer Website: http://www.lostdecadegames.com/