July 5, 2012 2:00 PM | John Polson
Delectably painful platformer I Wanna Be the Guy developer Michael O'Reilly (Kayin) has two new titles planned this year: a follow up to the pain in the form of I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden and the original Castlevania 3-inspired Brave Earth Prologue.
I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden will first make a televised appearance this evening. Anyone who's played the original knows the amount of rage this tricky platformer can induce, making for an enjoyable show. Kayin revealed that it won't be too long for the rest of the world to play the game for free, too.
As for Brave Earth Prologue, it won't be free. Players can expect it after the first episode of Gaiden, though. With all-original content, the wait and price-point should be worth it.
Here, Kayin discusses both games and answers those questions raised since we first announced Gaiden. He also shares why he thinks so many developers avoid anything more demanding than 8-bit games.
The side-story (or "gaiden," if you will) of the I Wanna Be the Guy follow-up involves playing the part of the Lad in an attempt to find the Kid/Guy, whose presence brought misfortune to the Town of the Kids. Kayin hints, "Why is the Lad searching for the kid? To become the new Guy? To fight a new evil? MYSTERIES AWAIT (and will likely go unanswered)."
Details are even sketchier for the flow of the episodic content for Gaiden. "I'm not going to plan any of it. I'm just going to eyeball it. I'm going to guess the next bit will be released after Brave Earth comes out."
While Kayin may not have a solid release schedule, he seems more resolved regarding the size of the episodes. "I'm pretty sure each will include a Boss and have segments that are somewhat longer than an IWBTG path or something... Both the EVO [fighting tournament] build and the released build will have three levels. I'm not sure if this is the amount of levels that'll be in every episode though. I'll be playing it by ear. I'd be surprised if any future episodes were less than 3, though."
He confirmed the rest of the world will play Gaiden some point after EVO. "When after EVO? That all depends on how much I feel I need to fix up. It could be the day after Floe plays it, or a week or more later."
Kayin himself won't be attending EVO, though. "I'm cheap and hate traveling. Las Vegas isn't a place to go to conserve money. Still, I was asked to do it earlier in the year by Mr. Wizard and I gave a big fat 'maybe'. At the last moment, I started making content."
Freeware isn't all Kayin makes. The man has to eat. He shares, "Ad money is good to me. But I do occasional free lance graphic design work or computer repair stuff on the side so I can enjoy more than bread and water."
His Brave Earth Prologue may provide him more than just the essentials, when it releases for $5.00 on what he hopes to be Steam and possibly other channels like Indievania. Brave Earth, while it seems like a fan-requested Castlevania-styled game, was actually born out of Kayin's desire to do something that's entirely his own.
Kayin revealed the concept of Brave Earth back in 2009 and officially announced Prologue in 2011. Along with Castlevania-inspired gameplay, Kayin shared that Ninja Gaiden influenced Prologue's cinematics.
Kayin blogs that the game will have a "classic Castlevania style action, down to intentionally stiff jumps and a slow, but powerful main attack." Instead of having subweapons, characters have a Super Smash Bros. style 'Special' button that gives them access to different special moves.
He's also commented on abilities to reach new locations. That's not to say this is a Metroidvania, at all. "It's linear," Kayin clarifies. "There are Castlevania 3-style shortcuts but that's about it."
What about the game makes it most similar to Castlevania 3? "It's just the whole style of gameplay. Careful movement, slow attack, carefully placed enemies. Naomi controls very much like a classic Belmont."
An NES Belmont, to be exact. I asked Kayin why developers seem to avoid 16-bit or higher games. "It's exponentially more work and slows down the iterative process. NES style stuff looks good with less effort which allows for reasonable development times. You have guys like Konjak who can do tons of SNES or even NEO-GEO quality graphics, but he takes centuries to release games. It's hard to put that much work into graphics when you're the only guy working on a project."
In closing, Kayin shared that Brave Earth Prologue should be the beginning of a series. "I wanna do a metroidvania next, but I wanna make sure I can do it on a platform that will allow wider distribution (OSX!) and is more future-proof. Construct 1 is a bit fragile, and Construct 2 is focusing on webgames, which I couldn't care less about."