Deadbeat Heroes is a 3D comic book-inspired brawler it’s available now for the PC and the Xbox One. The game has been created by Deadbeat Productions and published by Square Enix Collective. We got a chance to sit down with Deadbeat Productions and talk all about the game.
Could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
ADAM – I’m Adam Langridge, I’m a gameplay coder, which means that I like coding things to make them move around, hit each other and explode (among other things). I’ve been making games for a while now. Blimey, it must be more than 15 years!.
IMI – And, I’m Imkan Hayati and I like making pretty things and horrible monstrous things too! So that makes me the artist, I love drawing, creating 3D models and visual effects, like Adam I’ve been making games for over 15 years too!
You both worked at Lionhead can you tell what that experience was like and what games you worked on?
ADAM – I joined Lionhead back in 2002 as a Junior coder. It was my first coding job. It was a pretty amazing experience. Lionhead was a great magnet for talent and I pretty much spent my whole time there pestering people around me, asking them about what they were doing so I could learn from them. I was a bit star struck to be honest. Both Imi and I met on our first project there – Black & White 2 where we worked on the spells and magic. It was loads of fun. After that, I spent lots of time doing R&D and working on cool released (and unreleased games) like Fable II, Milo & Kate and finally Fable the Journey.
IMI – I joined Lionhead same year as Adam as a Junior artist on Black & White 2, initially I was on environments, but soon branched out to do concept art, characters and visual effects. Lionhead was a great place to work, there were so many amazing artists there to draw inspiration from and admire, it really helped me to flourish artistically. I actually was at Lionhead on two occasions, the second being on Fable 2 as a VFX artist.
Your first game has just shipped can you tell us about Deadbeat Heroes?
ADAM – Deadbeat Heroes is what we call a Movement based Brawler. You get to play as some have a go heroes who don’t have their own super powers, but are able to steal the powers from villains and use it against them. When we say Movement based Brawler, we mean that we spent lots of time trying to re-imagine the mechanics of attacking, combo’s and defending through movement. There’s no block button, so you have to dodge, wallrun and otherwise zip around the level before landing your rocket glove powered punches. On top of that, as soon as you hit a baddie, they fly away in a completely over the top manner, if you want to land some cool combo’s, you’ll need to chase them around the level, bounce them off walls or juggle them in the air. It’s all, very, very over the top – and that’s before you start using the super power’s that you get to steal!
How did the concept for Deadbeat Heroes come about?
IMI – Me and Adam were sitting enjoying a nice cup of coffee, chatting away about comic books and graphic novels, when we started thinking about a game where you play a hero that had no powers of his own, but could steal those of others. Straight away, the image of this unlikely looking hero popped into my head – an unassuming chap, but with a ridiculous rocket glove, who would later become Felix. The idea of this fast and adaptable character got our imaginations going and soon we were designing the game that would become Deadbeat Heroes!
What games would you say influenced Deadbeat Heroes?
ADAM – When you’re making a game, loads of influences seem to get sucked into it as you go along. My influences are mainly to do with games that I love to play or have worked on previously. A key game which I think some of it’s players will recognise is Power Stone by capcom – a fantastic game.
In terms of the development of Deadbeat Heroes, how long has it taken to create the game?
ADAM – We’re a bit of a teeny team, Imi is the art department, I’m the code department and we’ve had some fantastic other people doing the animation, writing and audio. It’s taken two years from concept to console (and PC!).
How would you describe the aesthetics of Deadbeat Heroes?
IMI – When we started developing the game, we thought to ourselves what would 60’s Batman be like if it was British! So we tried bringing that colour and vibrancy of that Super Hero world and mixing it with British humour, soon enough the character designs got wackier and scripts got funnier, even Captain Justice your mentor was a homage to the late Adam West. So Deadbeat Heroes aesthetic is like 60’s Batman meets Austin Powers
The brawler genre was very a popular in mainstream gaming and declined somewhat over the past few years, what made you want to create a brawler game?
ADAM – For exactly that reason. I used to love arcade, and then couch play, whether that was vs. fighters or co-op brawlers. More recently, we’ve seen fewer of these around and that really got us itching to play a new game in this genre that we love. I guess that’s one of the reasons that we got so excited about making Deadbeat Heroes.
How did James Leach get involved in the project?
ADAM – James Leach is a fantastically funny writer. As we were discussing Deadbeat Heroes, the innate silliness of some of the ideas seemed like a great fit for his style so we got back in touch. I had never worked with him directly at Lionhead, but had always admired his work so felt really lucky when he agreed to work with us.
How did the partnership with Square Enix Collective come about?
ADAM – It was some really, really good luck – as these things always are. Phil Elliot was giving a presentation at a games get together that we were also showing Deadbeat Heroes at. We’d thought we had lost our chance to show the game because we couldn’t get the equipment set up but managed to get it all together just in time to literally stop him from leaving. Lucky for us, Phil liked what he saw!
What did partnering up Square Enix Collective mean for Deadbeat Heroes?
ADAM – The collective guys have really helped us to get this game finished and out. They’ve supported development with QA and advice, and of course have helped spread the word!
Can you tell us more about the experience of being an indie developer?
ADAM – It’s pretty great and also a non-stop stress fest. Having the ability to define what you’re making is a dream come true. Finishing it is a massive challenge.
IMI – It’s really fun working on games that you’ve come up with and designed, it definitely is a challenge as you sometimes have to work out of your comfort zone. So it’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and has its ups and downs, but it’s always great to know that you’re working on your own creation!
What has the feedback been like so far for Deadbeat Heroes?
ADAM – All feedback is golden. We’ve had some lovely feedback so far, which really buoyed our spirits. We’ve also had some players spot a couple of things that we had missed as well. This is even more helpful, as we’ve been able to fix them pretty much straight away. With our player’s help, the game is smoother and more fun.
Will the Xbox One X have additional features over the Xbox One S?
ADAM – I’m afraid not!
What games are you currently playing?
ADAM – I’ve got two gaming lives. I’ve got evening gaming time where I play whatever I fancy. I’m usually getting stuck into Dead Cells at the moment. I’m also playing games with my kids where Nintendo shows me how amazingly designed their games are for families. I’m a bit behind the times with my consoles, so we’re Zelda-ing it up at the moment on our Wii-U – Skyward Sword style!
IMI – I’m playing a bit of everything and nothing! Got a six month old son and a six year old daughter, so don’t get much time to fit in gaming time, so end up starting a game, buying a new game, start playing new game and so on. The most recent game I’ve started to play (and will probably not finish) is Gran Tourismo Sport.
Do you have any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
ADAM – Wow, you’ve got all the way down here – thanks! We hope you like the look of the game, and if you buy it, that you enjoy it even more!
We want to say a big thank you to Adam and Imkan for taking the time to talk to us.