f.jpgYou slash your friends to make them dash--SlashDash is competitive local multiplayer game being developed by four recently graduated students in NYC: Adnan Agha, Alexandre Gresh, Vivian, and Armand Silvani. The game which was originally started in school was developed further for release on the Xbox One this summer. Now that SlashDash has been released, we discuss the nature of competitive games and the philosophy behind their first game.



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I first met the Adnan, Vivian and Alexandre at PAX: East 2014. They had couches for their booth and invited people to come sit down and play. SlashDash in many ways is a reach back to the kind of games we all grew up with, and now, are extremely rare. Couch co-op and competitive games are a dying breed due to many factors. First and obvious is the cost of controllers. With the current gen systems additional controllers ranging around $60 bones, that makes any 4 player local game cost exponentially more if you don't own enough controllers. Then you need people to play it with. And finally and the hardest to communicate with consumers, is the lack of internet play. With all of those hurdles in front of them, they still persevered, making a truly excellent local competitive game that has a wide audience appeal and hopefully be accessible to all ages.

And that is what I saw at each event I attend in which the game was being shown. From PAX's to IndieCades people would group around, all ages, and they would get thatsatisfaction I remember having back in the days when we were all huddled around crappy CRT's playing Mario Kart and Golden Eye.

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Back at PAX East 2015, we spoke about the path that got them to where they are and what the game was working towards. This time with the game's release, we spoke about the politic and philosophy that is involved when making a competitive game and the design decisions that help create the kinds of experiences you want your players to have. We spent a good part of the conversation discussing the relationship between match length in time versus the desire for games to have their own arc, the potential for comebacks. We agreed that part of a successful competitive game is the allowance of player skill to manifest through things like play making, but there is a desire to have a dance, a fair exchange to allow a team who falls behind and opportunity to come back and create an exciting match, The issue is that as you begin to design elasticity in a game you begin to dampen individual player skill, and there is a delicate balance that is handled by very small decisions like, how much time it takes to return a flag, or how a flag return mechanic works specifically.

At PAX, they discuss the introduction of the various kunai and how it helped reinvigorate the team as they trekked across the desert wasteland that is polishing a game. Kunai breathed new life, new design opportunities, and ultimately the variation they were seeking to provide players with as a means to increase the games longevity. Between the various kunai and the four game modes, it looks like a strong package for the under served local multiplayer fans.

The game is already out on XBOX One. If you want to know more head over to the Nevernaut Games website to get some more juicy details and some screenshots of the game.

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