This trailer is bananas. Watch it. It will tell you everything you need to know about Jazzpunk, the new indie title by Necrophone Games. Then, read this interview with Luis "Artist of Doom" Hernandez, one of the key players at the studio, to hear the story behind the game that gave birth to this bananas trailer.
How would you describe Jazzpunk?
We typically describe Jazzpunk as a "comedy adventure" game because it piques people's curiosity. Jazzpunk is a hard game is categorize, however.
From what sources did you draw inspiration during development?
is a synthesis of all our favourite literature, movies, and music from
the cyberpunk/spy/noir/jazz genres. I'm a huge fan of modernism and
wanted to try expressing a cyberpunk universe in that style. A lot of
the look and style of the game derives from early abstract
painters/designers like Saul Bass and Josef Albers. The pictographical
style of the npcs comes from the Isotype work of Gerd Arntz and his
contemporaries. Obviously there are references to William Gibson and
Bruce Sterling cyberpunk literature. Movies like Bladerunner, Alien, etc
For the music, I wanted to focus on the
audio production styles from the 1950s, 1960s. lots of vacuum tube
equipment, tape recording. I tried to limit myself to the sound effects
palette of that era as well; I love the sound of old electroacoustic
music, musique concrete, sci-fi movies, spy thrillers. Subsequently,
all of the robots in the game have vocoder or ring-modulation type
voices. Also, I tried to use electro-mechanical reverberation techniques
whenever possible, again, to recapture the colour of that era.
What sort of difficulties have you faced during development?
I think the largest stumbling block during development was the need to switch engines multiple times. Unfortunately, Unity didn't really exist at the time we conceived the game. The original jazzpunk prototype was made around 2007 or so, on a no-name engine that had very poor scripting capability. We eventually transferred the project over to Torque3d, which was an equally horrible idea. After languishing on that engine for quite some time, we finally made the jump to Unity, and production speed skyrocketed. However, the extended production time gave us ample opportunity to constantly experiment with, and refresh the game, so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise.
Were there any specific "Aha!" moments that set the game in a new direction?
Fun fact: Jazzpunk didn't begin its life as a comedy game. Over time we'd snuck in a couple of gags and easter eggs into the game, but they were few and far between. It wasn't until a re-assessment of the project later on, that we realized the gags were easily our favourite part (and they were quite a bit of fun to do, from a development standpoint). It was scary to take the plunge into making it a Comedy game, however. Comedy games were kind of a contentious issue, with a lot of people feeling burned by previous attempts.
What aspects of the game did you want to implement, but had to leave out?
Naturally, there are a ton of jokes and things we would've loved to have had extra time for, but sometimes its good to know when to cut the umbilical cord. I think one thing we had hoped to have was Oculus Rift support (we ordered a pair of goggles from the original kickstarter). However, the Rift prototype still wasn't quite at the quality level we were hoping for, in addition to the fact that the game would basically have to be re-written to accommodate them properly. I'm interested in seeing future "HD" versions of the goggles, but basically until there is a thriving consumer model available, its a hard thing to support as a two-person studio.
Tell us what the back of the box for Jazzpunk would say.
There actually is a Jazzpunk "box" ; its a Komrad Krunch cereal box that was send out to press as a promotional item. I'll read you the Ingredients list: Haunted wheatmeal, imitation sugar substitute, goat flour, honey-nut data clusters, Kookaburra oil, dogfoodium, Munching Squares, Lissajous dentures, ultrasound gel, cold lava™, asbestos, canned laughter, HEX colour #FF0000, melted popsicle sticks, butterworth filter, shark skeleton extract, smoking clover, guano (preservative).
Jazzpunk is available on Steam, here.
Here's a Twitter that's hard to classify: @marshnaylor