We know that Luke Schneider's (Radian Games) involvement in Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville got Fahey's attention, but let's hear from Schneider himself about this new CN approved adventure with Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.
How would you describe Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville?
It's a "Metroidvania" shooter starring the Powerpuff Girls. There's a good mix of airborne melee and shooting action where you can attack to the left or right at any time (similar to the arcade classic Defender). There are also a good variety of upgrades, both required and optional, to collect. Many of those upgrades tie into unlocking new areas of the world. After defeating the game, you can play through Mojo's Key Quest, which is a sort of remixed New Game+ mode. Fans of the Powerpuff Girls will happy to know the game has all the original voice actors for the characters in the game, as well as the visual styles from both the recent TV special ("Dance Pants Revolution") and the classic TV series.
From what sources did you draw inspiration during development?
There was a show on Cartoon Network in the early 2000s that starred 3 superhero kindergartners. I can't remember the name right now, but that was the primary influence. On the game side, Super Metroid and Defender were the primary influences. And a bit of Gunstar Heroes (for mixing melee and shooting action)
What sort of difficulties have you faced during development?
Getting the game done in the required timeframe was a huge challenge, even with a game design that barely changed over the life of the game. There weren't any particular things that went wrong, but the game just required a lot of work to get done. I started on it in late July of 2013, and the original goal was to wrap it up in time for a late January release. I don't think there many days over Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays where I wasn't working.
It wasn't until mid-January that CN looked at the game and said "this is really good, but let's make it great". So we delayed it a bit to make it even better, which included adding Mojo's Key Quest and the Classic visuals at release. The Classic visuals were going to be a major update originally, but judging by the reaction everyone seems pretty happy they're an option at release.
Were there any specific "Aha!" moments that set the game in a new direction?
Not in the traditional sense. The original design document for the game pretty much describes the final game aside from having some minor details wrong. This game was one of those rare cases where the "Aha" moments was when we mixed the ingredients together at the start. Metroidvania progression + Defender/Gunstars combat + Powerpuff Girls = AWESOME! They were just meant to be together, and I feel lucky that multiple people at Cartoon Network also felt the same way.
There was one moment that was surreal for me personally: When I got back the voice recordings from Cartoon Network and was hooking them up in the game and cutscenes. It just became obvious how good the people at their end are at doing the job. The writer and the voice actors are true professionals. The writer took my rough plot outline and actually made it into a Powerpuff Girls script. Then when I put together the pre-final boss cutscene, I would actually watch it way more times than necessary just because it was so funny. I also couldn't believe it was the real Powerpuff Girls bantering with Mojo Jojo in a game I made.
How did you know when Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was done?
When I couldn't think of anything time-effective to fix or add that would improve the game. That happened sometime in mid-February. Everything else has just been very minor tweaks and a few bug fixes. By that time I had also started writing down a list of things I would do if there were a sequel. Not that we've jumped the gun on that. Gotta see how the first one does, and I need a break.
Tell us what the back of the box for Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville would say.
Back of the box? Nobody buys games in a box anymore (I kid). But seriously, this is what the Steam description says: "Use your arsenal of superpowers to stop Mojo Jojo's latest scheme in this brand-new Powerpuff Girls adventure shooter! Play as Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup as you explore the far reaches of Townsville, battling Mojo's evil robots in a quest to get all your powers back."
I guess you're not allowed to put "Metroidvania" on the back of a box.
You can buy Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville on Steam March 14, 2014.