Serious Sam DD XXL - An interview with Nathan Fouts

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posted 2/18/2013 by Mike Mahardy
other articles by Mike Mahardy
Platforms: 360
Nathan Fouts is a dynamic character in the video games industry.
 
Since his days at Insomniac, programming Resistance: Fall of Man and working on Ratchet and Clank Future, Fouts has become a proponent for the indie gaming scene, with titles like Shoot 1 UP, Explosionade and Weapon of Choice under his belt.
 
That’s not to say that Fouts has completely forgotten his AAA roots, though. As many perks as there are to working independently, there are a select few core principles Fouts maintains since his days at the big studios.
 
“We want to maintain a certain level of integrity and professionalism,” he said. “Basically, ‘Don’t be evil on the internet.’ You know? ‘Don’t be … horrible. Let’s be levelheaded … hold your head up. You work on this close to 18 hours a day. Show people you really care about this.’”


 
Another one of Fouts’ indie titles will release shortly, and no one is more excited about it than he is.
 
A longtime Serious Sam fan, Fouts’ voice rises when talking about screaming pancakes and Gunstacker modifications, vuvuzelas and fire-breathing kittens. The zaniness of DD XXL is right up his ally, and he’s made all of the necessary changes to make sure a whole new audience gets to experience it.
 
Serious Sam Double D already has a cult following of its own from its 2011 release on Steam. Mommy’s Best Games, with Fouts at the helm, is now bringing it to XBLA, along with a host of new additions.
 
“… We ended up calling it XXL,” he said. “To push the tone that it wasn’t just the original release.
 


Most notable among these additions is split screen cooperative play. If you’ve played Double D, you can imagine the kind of mayhem that ensues with Sam and his friend Huff blasting baddies simultaneously.
 
“From a gameplay perspective, we didn’t actually add anything for co-op,” Fouts said. “But it takes some coordination to actually be more effective than one person, because you both have to be playing the right way.
 
“In terms of performance, when we first starting designing the game on Xbox for co-op, we were only going to allow the players to have three guns stacked up,” he said. “That was mainly a [balance] concern … but I was thrilled to allow both players to have six guns on screen … it’s sheer craziness.”
 
This gameplay is simple, requiring one or two players with basic jumping and shooting awareness, making it ideal for a port to consoles. The shooter mechanics will make it easy to translate, Fouts said.
 


There were a lot of changes that needed to be made, though. “We had to change up a few fights in the game, it’s more about these micro-encounters, buffered by checkpoints,” Fouts said. “We weren’t stingy with the checkpoints either, because that’s where you manage your Gunstacker upgrades.”
 
Fouts wanted the Gunstacker to feel real, as far as the world of Serious Sam goes. Whereas previous weapons of the series could be monotonous and conventional, you won’t find much of that in DD XXL.
 
There are 32 gun upgrades to find throughout the time-traveling world of Mommy’s Best Games upcoming title, varying the gameplay even more than the Gunstacker mechanic already does. There is even more strategy involved now, even more ways to have fun with mixing and matching your own Gunstack, Fouts said.
 
Serious Sam DD XXL’s release is fast approaching, giving XBLA fans, and Fouts, the chance to experience the offbeat humor and raucous gameplay it has become synonymous with. When asked if he has any future plans to work with the series, Fouts is relaxed, focusing only on his agenda for the next few weeks: playing DD XXL.
 
He’s not completely sure about the future, he said. “Right now, I just want to take a break to enjoy it.”
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