December 22, 2012 2:00 PM | Staff
Krunch is one of those indie games that seems to be perpetually in development. The game began as a prototype during 2010's Mini Ludum Dare 21 jam, and has evolved constantly since then, with music from Fez's Disasterpeace and sound effects contributed by Jordan Fehr of Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami fame.
But for two man team Le Grudge & Rugged -- programmer Vieko Franetovic and artist Michael Lohaus -- the end is finally here. Krunch has released for Windows, Mac and Linux, after much deliberation from the duo regarding where it should land.
"If we had closed a deal with our sponsor at the right time, Krunch would've been a browser game," notes Franetovic. "Because we didn't, the opportunity to explore our ideas further presented itself and we took it. I always felt our game had more in it to give, I'm happy we walked a bit longer."
That was the plan for the game a year ago -- a browser-based release. But after the pair had delved further into development on the hard-as-nails game of quick reflexes, it soon became apparent that they wanted to take the concept further.
"Our game continued to grow during the negotiation process," says Lohaus. "After a while we felt the game had matured enough and was better suited for an independent release. I think there's something special about independent games: they are exactly what the developers set out to create."
But despite the drastic switch, Lohaus says that the end was always in sight, and there was never a moment when Krunch wasn't going to happen.
"Sometimes life changes and you have to roll with the punches," he adds. "During the development, Vieko had a son and I got engaged. Though life had changed, we both had confidence in each other to return to the project. In the end I think it helped the game. Coming back after time off from Krunch meant that we had fresh eyes, new ideas. A ton of improvements happened since then."
"I've worked with Mike for years and always knew we would get here one way or the other," Franetovic says.
Of course, the game probably wouldn't exist at all were it not for the original Ludum Dare game jam. "It's really amazing to start a prototype after learning what the theme is and starting from scratch," Lohaus says of game jams. "Sometimes you really only need a short amount of time to realize potential in an idea."
"I think it is fundamental to jam as much as possible," adds Franetovic. "It keeps you fresh, engaged, meeting interesting people and exploring new ideas."
Renewed inspiration can come from numerous different angles too, especially when working on the same game for such a long period of time. When the duo brought in artist Sara Gross to draw up concept art for the game, her "reverse-conceptual" renditions of the game's boss battles gave Franetovic fresh new angles to explore that he hadn't previously considered.
With Krunch done and dusted, the pair are looking to what comes next -- and the plan right now is to continue the Krunch world. Binge won't be a direct sequel to Krunch as such, but it will exist in the same universe.
Of course, alongside Binge development, the duo will also be looking to jam as much as possible.
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra.]