Interviews// Concursion

Posted 10 Apr 2014 16:48 by
Puuba Inc is a developer based in California, USA and is on the brink of releasing a very different game that can best be described as a total mash-up of five genres of side scrolling action adventure games.

Called Concursion, it is a reactive action game more than it is the sort of puzzle/platform title that has saturated the indie-gaming scene over the past few years. It requires the player to switch roles from a bullet-hell shmup to a Ninja Gaiden-like ninja game from 1993 and everything else in between. This very inventive game caught our eye at EGX-Rezzed 2014 and we caught up with Puuba's Grand Poobha (see what we did there?) Danny Garfield to find out more about Concursion.

SPOnG: Tell us about Concursion.

Danny Garfield (DG): It's a five-way mash-up of five classically inspired retro style games into one grab-bag of tricks. The idea behind it is that you can sprint or jump from one dimension into another dimension and as you do so the player's character shape-shifts and the controls immediately remap and you're playing an entirely different game on the fly. The joy of the game is really where the borders of the dimensions come together, in my mind.

While each of the five games control very tightly, ideally my goal is for it to be very responsive. When the worlds come together the player can perform gymnastics that aren't possible in any one of the worlds apart from the one the player is in. So for example you can leap off the ground as a platformer into a bubble of the hack 'n slash mini-game, take a double jump in the air and find a horizon into the jet-pack space environment.

SPOnG: Visually, each of the five games in Concursion is quite different. Can you take us through those?

DG: What we have actually done is quite important to the gameplay really, in that we've tried to devise five completely different graphical styles for each of the games. So on one game it looks like a Saturday Morning cartoon with child-friendly graphics that are bright and flashy while another will be all pixelated.

The idea behind that was we were dealing with a great number of locales in the game, where the player moves from city to forest to outer space. Because of that we didn't want to say 'the jetpack space game was purple' and 'the platformer was green', so the different styles allowed us to look ahead at the bubbles of dimensions ahead of us and know what we're jumping into.

This allows the player to steal themselves for what they are about to experience. If the player cannot tell what the nature of the dimensional pocket was before they passed through it then they wouldn't be able to react in time to how they shape-shifted. This would break down the continuity of play and make it become disjointed.

SPOnG: What is the background story to Concursion?

DG: Concursion starts with the kidnapping of a princess by an evil dark lord, at which point there is a massive explosion that results in triangular-shaped gem shards all over the land. These cause rifts to appear between time and space and they start to grow across the landscape.

So Concursion asks 'why is the princess always being kidnapped?' in a tongue-in-cheek manner, along with asking what the meaning of the gem shards is, and how did the world come to be this way? Both of these questions are tied together so the plot for Concursion actually plays an important role for gameplay purposes. Besides level completion, the collection of the gem shards unlocks more challenging levels towards the end of the game.

SPOnG: What games is Concursion inspired by?

DG: Concursion is more an homage to games in general rather than specific ones. Each of the five games have their own inspiration. Obviously you have Mario Bros for the platformer, Ninja Gaiden for the ninja dimension, while Pac-Man and Gauntlet also make their presence felt in other dimensions.

But more specifically and holistically, Concursion's biggest inspiration is Super Meatboy. The tight precision controls of that game along with its high difficulty level, you can picture pulling off a move through multiple dimensions in Concursion. I really wanted to achieve that level of precision while doing insane tricks through five different games.
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