BIGBITE Interviews: Blue Mammoth Games @ RTX 2016
Transcribed by John Byrne and edited by Natasha has and Matthew “Retrograder” VanDeZande
Matt: All right, we’re here at RTX Day 3 with Dave from Blue Mammoth Games, we’re going to be talking about Brawlhalla. So first off, just tell me a little bit about the game, how it got started, and how we got to where we are now.
Dave: Sure. So the game is on Steam right now, free to play. It is a fighting game, a platformer fighting game. A lot of platforming elements, a lot of deeply integrated weapon systems, and a great, diverse cast of characters. It kind of got started through our game that we were doing before this. (It) was an MMO — like a kinda flat hand-drawn 2D MMO — in a fantasy style and we knew that we wanted to have some kind of competitive mode for that. It was doing well on its own, but we just wanted to expand that a bit, and then the more we started working on it, we’re like, “This should be its own thing.” So that’s how Brawlhalla was born.
M: You mentioned, first off, the cast of characters — and I love those character designs, there are so many.
D: Yes! I could watch someone just pick a character for days.
M: So, tell me about a little bit of the inspiration behind some of the characters and the different ways that they approach the game.
D: As far as the characters go, designing them is really kind of based on tropes. Obviously, it’s like, okay, here’s the pirate, here’s the Viking, here’s the ninja, here’s the Minotaur, stuff like that. That’s all by design; because the nature of the characters is that they are kinda small and with kinda big head proportions. You know, I want everything to be really readable, very clear, so we know what kind of character this is. We know what we’re looking at and everyone knows where they are on screen. Also the characters, they’re different in that with the weapon system, each character specializes in two weapons, and none of them share that same two weapon permutations. They also have their own signature heavy attacks and they also have their own unique stats with their own skins that you can get for the game.
M: When you say it’s free-to-play, how much of it comes with the free-to-play and how much is expansion?
D: So, like I said, free to play on Steam, you can install and get playing with everyone right away. As far as expansion, things like transactions, that’s all gonna be cosmetic, non-frustrating, non-pay-to-win. So anything that’s going to be purchasable is going to be something that maybe adds a little bit of flavor to your personal approach to the game; you’re like, “I wanna look this way,” or, “I wanna have this cool weapon,” things like that. We even have different tiers of packages that you can get, like the collector’s pack that’ll get you more currency and some very exclusive items. You know things also like the “all legends” pack — that’s the kind of thing that’s gonna get you every single character as long as we’re producing them, for the foreseeable future.
M: Awesome. And it’s an interesting game looking at it, looks like it plays a lot like Super Smash Brothers, maybe like Brawl. Brawlhalla feels a little different though, so when you were designing it, was the Smash Brothers kind of thing something that you took a lot of inspiration from? And, if so, what did you try to do to differentiate from that?
D: Sure, sure, sure. Smash has that, it’s made a great sub genre of fighting games, with the whole ring-out mechanic. And it’s a lot of fun and it really works for us, but we knew that we wanted it to be different, so that’s why we put an emphasis on platforming, and an emphasis on the weapons. Any time you pick up a weapon, it’s gonna change up your entire moveset; so you can really go from here to there with the way that you’re approaching an opponent — based on whether you throw away a weapon or pick up a brand new one.
M: Gotcha. So obviously we’re here at RTX, have you guys been at RTX before?
D: We have, we actually were here last year at RTX.
M: Showing off this game then as well?
D: Showing off this game, it was the first time we’d actually been to RTX, and we had a great time then. We’re having a great time now.
M: How much has the game changed since last year coming into this year?
D: I believe last year it was in a closed beta state, and now it’s in an open beta. It’s really nice that there’s no gate, we don’t have to hand out keys anymore and that’s awesome — anyone can just show up and start playing. Since then, we’ve also added a lot of characters, a lot of balance changes, we even added new weapons.
M: Awesome. Ok, and anything else that you’d like to tell us before we go?
D: Yeah, actually. Probably in early fall, we’re gonna be on PS4.
M: Oh, awesome!
D: Sony’s publishing us and it’s gonna be awesome. In addition to that, in November, we’re having the Brawlhalla World Championships, that will be a $50,000+ prize pool going on, with players all over the world. We want everyone to join in and have a lot of fun.
M: Ok, last thing, as I said, we’re here at RTX, it’s amazing. What’s your favorite thing about RTX and the Rooster Teeth Community?
D: I really like what they’ve cultivated, in terms of, the way everyone interacts here. The players are always so happy. We’ve been to a lot of different shows, and we’ve loved every last one of them, but something about RTX feels a bit more family-like. I think it’s because Rooster Teeth is very family-like, so that’s something we’ve really enjoyed.
M: Ok, thank you so much Dave!
D: Of course, thanks so much.