Scarygirl Interview

Scarygirl Interview

Written by Charles Husemann on 1/20/2012 for 360   PC   PS3  
More On: Scarygirl
A girl with tentacle arms would normally be something to be very, very afraid of given the amount of Japanese anime we've seen over the years but when I saw the first trailer for Scarygirl I was instantly intrigued by the game and it's unique art style and heroine.  Luckily I was able to get a few questions over the to development for the game which you can read below.

Could you introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project?

My name is Peter Dassenko, I’m the Producer at TikGames. I help talented people create games on time and under budget. My favorite color is clear.

What makes Scarygirl right for adapting as a video game and what drew you to the property?? Could you talk about the character a bit and why she’s a bit different than the other female characters we’ve seen in games before?
I think first and foremost, the unique and beautiful art style of Nathan Jurevicius drew us to the property. When you look at it on the page, besides being jaw-droppingly gorgeous, it lives and breathes. You can feel that there’s a whole world there. We wanted to bring that world to life. As far as how Scarygirl is different…well, I mean, look at her. She’s not like these other female character at all, except for her stylish clothes, as far as I’m concerned.

Could you talk about the plot of the game and what the players will be trying to accomplish in the game? How does the game dovetail into the rest of the Scarygirl franchise? What benefits will folks get from reading the graphic novel ahead of time?
The game is a loose adaptation of the story in the book. You’ll visit similar locales and the overall journey from her home to the city is consistent. It’s the details of each journey that are different. The basic premise of our game is that Blister, Scarygirl’s giant octopus guardian, sends her on a mission to find out what’s going wrong in the forest she lives in.

Players won’t necessarily need to read the graphic novel ahead of time, but I think anybody who misses out on the graphic novel and the beautiful artwork is missing a great experience. It’s also really impressive how Nathan manages to tell the story without any words at all.

One of the more interesting things about Scarygirl is that she has tentacles for arms, what kinds of cool things are you doing with that? What other weapons will you pick up in the game and how do you level up the weapons?
The tentacle arm allows us to do a few different things with gameplay, aside from simple attacks. Initially you’ll see that it gives you a sort of double jump or hover mechanic by tapping a button. As you progress through the game you’ll find that it can be used to swing from hooks in the environment as well as climb certain walls.

The hook attachment on her tentacle arm will be interchangeable with other attachments that augment the gameplay in different ways. You’ll always retain the ability to hover, swing and climb, but some attachments will do more damage while others will allow you to hover further.

Gems that you collect in the game can be used to purchase different hooks and new moves. The moves do a number of things outside of just increased damage. As an example, one move both damages enemies and pushes them backwards to give you a little bit of breathing room in a tight spot.

Is Scarygirl the only playable character in the game or will players get a chance to play other characters in the game?
Scarygirl is the only playable character in the single player campaign. In local co-op, a second player can play as Bunniguru, her mystical rabbit sensei, and good friend.

Can you describe the co-op in the game? Is it coach co-op, online co-op or both? Can you play through the entire game in co-op mode?
Co-op mode is local only. You can play through the entire game with two players. In fact, there are certain moves that can only be performed in multiplayer!

The art style for the game looks amazing, were there any challenges adapting the art style to the game? Is the main hook for the game the art or the gameplay?
Thanks! The main challenge was implementing Nathan’s art in full 3D. It was also important to capture the animated personality of characters that are static in the graphic novel. There’s a lot of life in a painted or drawn image that’s not easy to translate into a 3D textured model. Both the gameplay and art are the hooks, hand-in-hand. Naturally, people are going to first see screenshots or videos online, and hopefully that’s a nice hook for them. Of course, the game’s gotta be fun, so you can’t choose one or the other.

How involved was Nathan Jurevicius with the game? Was he involved for the entire development process?
Nathan was very involved in the process from beginning to end. In fact, during the latter part of development he spent a few weeks sitting side-by-side with our team working on polishing all aspects of the game. It was great to work so closely, literally, with the creator to really bring his art to life.

Was there ever any thought of doing Scarygirl as a full retail game instead of a downloadable game? What freedoms does a downloadable game give you over a retail release?\
Certainly, but there were some distinct advantages for us to go downloadable. It’s been my experience that downloadable games give you more flexibility to experiment with gameplay features, so you can try some crazy ideas that you might not risk with the budgets you see for AAA retail releases. Sometimes, these experiments really pay off and give you a really cool aspect in your game. Also, we’ve gained a lot of experience from this process that will be invaluable to us should we release a retail version.

What are your long term plans for the franchise? Do you have DLC planned for the game or would you put the effort into a sequel?
We’re working on DLC for the game. There’s always the potential for a sequel, but right now we’re focused on getting this version launched!

Is there anything we missed that you think is important?
While I was the producer on this title, there was a talented team of engineers, artists, and designers that worked on this project that really made it what it is today. So thank you to the team for all their hard work in creating a great product!

We'd like to thank Peter for taking the time to answer our questions as well as Matt and Brandon for coordinating the interview.  Scarygirl is now available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
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About Author

Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom. I was a Microsoft Xbox MVP from 2009 to 2014
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