Studio Besus interview
If you’re anything like me, you’ll love Blast Corps. Rare’s hit from 1997 still gets played regularly here at Rare Gamer Towers, but the lack of a sequel has always irked me. So imagine my surprise and delight to learn of Studio Besus, a new indie developer comprised of one man; Brandon C. Mitchell. His love of Blast Corps surely surpasses mine as, desperate for a sequel himself, he didn’t just sit there moping about it … he went and made his own! Crash Co. – a spiritual sequel to Blast Corps – is now available on Steam Greenlight and I recently got the opportunity to chew the fat with Brandon and find out more about the game.
1. For those who are just finding out about Crash Co. for the first time can you summarise in a sentence what it is about?
Crash Co. is a title in which you use a very diverse arsenal of vehicles to clear any and every obstruction out of the way of a runaway semi carrying an experimental weapon.
2. Crash Co. is going to remind a lot of gamers of Blast Corps, Rare’s N64 title released back in 1997. What was it about Blast Corps that led you to making Crash Co.? Was it a deliberate design decision to go down the spiritual sequel route?
It was a deliberate decision to take the successor route! As I was developing another title, I had gotten the urge to play through Blast Corps again. While playing through it, I had forgotten how fun it was (previously having played it ~15 years ago); so fun that I finally decided to earn all of the platinum medals. Originally I was thinking of a way that I could tie in the type of gameplay in to me current project, so I prototyped some basic gameplay. 2 weeks later, I had improved on it and as I posted these to Reddit, others had weighed-in on how awesome a sequel would be. I took their comments and ran with the idea.
3. Have you encountered any issues with Microsoft while making Crash Co.?
I have not and do not anticipate any. When I released the first demo to the public, I was using music from the original title. That has since been phased out and everything in Crash Co. is now 100% original (as in absolutely nothing was used from Blast Corps in any form).
4. What is the overall plot / objective of Crash Co. Is there a unstoppable nuclear transport on the loose again, or have you come up with an all-new reason to trash cities?
I have settled upon a similar concept for the plot, only this time it’s an experimental dark matter weapon being transported. This weapon is too dangerous for any human driver to drive the truck, so they are using AI. Unfortunately the energy field the weapon emits has become unstable, disabled the AI, and keeps the truck in motion. With nothing to guide or stop the truck, more drastic actions need to be taken.
5. Will we be seeing your own take on some of the original vehicles from Blast Corps? Can you talk us through some of the new ones you’ve designed?
The only original take will be the Bulldozer. It’s just too simple, fun, and satisfying to lose. The rest are all new, original designs (but some similarities may be seen to originals). One of the more interesting ones is a fist-firing mech (taking some inspiration from Big Hero 6) but with the added feature of the fists ricocheting off of whatever they hit; so long as they have the momentum. Another I had originally started as a “jump up ledges until you get high enough to crash down on to the buildings” but it was overly tedious to always have to jump back up after slamming down. With some input from Darren Gargette (Twitter: @dezm0nd) who I actually found out was a former Rare tester, I added the ability for it to scale walls to get to the necessary height).
6. Blast Corps is known for being very tough, especially on the Platinum medals. Are you aiming to replicate that level of difficulty, or do modern gamers require something a bit less challenging?
There will be an equivalent to Platinum medals in Crash Co., so challenge will certainly be there for those who want it. I think Blast Corps nailed the idea that you can complete the game in a fairly simple manner, but if you want to see everything and earn the real ending, you need to push yourself and achieve what may seem like impossible goals.
7. How many missions are you planning to have? Will the mission structure mirror Blast Corps’ bronze/silver/gold/platinum medal set-up?
As of now, I am aiming for 20 main demolition levels with another 20 side missions. These will range from time trial races to demolition derbies. The Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum medal structure will carry over from the original and is already implemented in the majority of the levels.
8. What issues / challenges have you come across during development? What has been the hardest thing to implement?
Marketing the game has been the single biggest challenge. My initial thoughts were that a Blast Corps successor would market itself based on the number of threads and articles I have come across for “most requested sequels” and such, but that has not been the case. Word is starting to get out now though with the help of people like you and a few gaming sites that have covered it. From a technical standpoint, one of the most difficult thing I have implemented is the wall scaling ability of the mech mentioned above. There is still some tweaking that needs to be done, but overall the ability is working great and definitely adds to the fun of using the mech.
9. Crash Co. is a Steam Greenlight title. Do you have plans to release it on any other platforms?
I do! Since Mac and Linux are technically Steam, I would love to look in to releasing it on PS4. I applied it for ID@Xbox but they weren’t interested. I was already approved for Wii U, but with that console on its last legs, I will likely hold off until their next one.
10. Do you have a release date that you’re working towards, or is it “done when it’s done”?
I am aiming for a late 2016 release, but realistically this will likely fall in to an early 2017 timeframe.
A massive thank you to Brandon for his time. Please go and check out the Crash Co. Steam Greenlight page and vote YES!