PS3 Attitude talks with Beatnik Games about PlayStation Mobile and Samurai Beatdown
With just over a month since the release of PlayStation Mobile for Vita and PlayStation certified Android devices, PS3 Attitude took the opportunity to chat with Damien Cerri, Director at Beatnik Games, about Samurai Beatdown. We’re given the origins story of the developer as well as their launch PSM game.
PS3 Attitude would like to thank Cerri for finding the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing what Beatnik Games can come up with in the future as well as the updates he mentions are coming to Samurai Beatdown.
[PS3 Attitude] For those of us that have not previously heard of Beatnik Games, can you tell us how the studio was formed? What makes games from the team at Beatnik unique?
[Damien Cerri] Beatnik Games was formed in 2008 by myself and a friend – our main reason just being that we loved playing games! Neither of us had any experience in the industry, but armed with some (possibly overly) trusting investors we dove in head first.
Our first game Plain Sight was not what we set out to create, and we made a lot of mistakes – all the mistakes a studio can make I think! We’ve been lucky to have some extremely talented staff, and everyone’s always very happy to help with whatever needs doing – no job titles here!
As a company we’re trying not to tie ourselves down to one style yet. We’re always keen to experiment with different game genres, mechanics and platforms – anything so long as the end result is fun to play! We’re really big on prototyping, which gives us the freedom to play around and try new things.
[PS3A] Samurai Beatdown is a musically driven fighting game. Can you tell us a little bit about the game and explain the mechanics?
[DC] Samurai Beatdown was one of the PlayStation Mobile launch titles, and currently runs on the PlayStation Vita and selected Android devices. You attack your enemies by tapping on the correct side of the screen in time to the music. Build up special combos and unleash frenzy mode, bringing your sword to bear against an onslaught of assassins, brutes, and flying creatures.
[PS3A] How did you come up with the idea to combine a 2D fighting game with music?
[DC] Originally, we had an idea for a side-scrolling fighting game, and were playing around with a prototype. Someone in the office had some music on, we realised that we were subconsciously fighting in time to the beat – and so Samurai Beatdown was born!
[PS3A] Can you tell us about the origin of the music behind Samurai Beatdown?
[DC] The music for Samurai was created by Michiel van den Bos, who has previously worked on a wide variety of games, including some big names like Unreal and Deux Ex. We loved the interesting juxtaposition of modern music and feudal japanese setting found in the anime of Samurai Champloo, so that seemed like an ideal reference point.
[PS3A] Was it difficult making the game for both touch screen Android devices with no physical buttons and the Vita with its various inputs?
[DC] Sometimes having lots of different options can make life harder! In this case we wanted to deliver a high-quality experience across all devices, so originally designed a game for touchscreen devices, with support for the PlayStation Vita buttons if users preferred. However, PlayStation Mobile features an ‘on-screen controller’ to introduce the gamepad buttons on touchscreen devices. This was unnecessary for us, but there’s currently no way to turn it off completely – users can minimise it themselves, but lots of people got confused So we had to make the tough decision to make the game touchscreen only for the time being.
[PS3A] What made you decide to release the game on PSM? What things did you like about PSM? What features do you look forward to seeing included in the next SDK?
[DC] As an Indie developer we’re very interested in emerging platforms. I feel like the market for PlayStation Mobile will be very exciting. Just with the nature of the devices supported (finally we have buttons – Vita and Xperia Play) I feel we could make some very interesting and cool games people will really enjoy on mobile devices.
PSM has turned out to be really easy to work with, and would be great for people without much programming experience. There are lots of samples and documentation, and everyone on the forums are really helpful. I know that our programmers are wishing for texture compression in the next update to the SDK, but we’d also really love to see it tie into the PlayStation Network with leaderboards and achievements.
[PS3A] Do you plan on supporting Samurai Beatdown with updates now that its been out for a few weeks?
[DC] Yes, as we had to rush a bit to make launch date – it turns ou ten weeks isn’t very long to make a game! Our first update will hopefully be out in the next few weeks, which will mostly feature lots of ‘polish’ and performance fixes. But we’re also working on more levels, and we have some ideas for different mechanics – I don’t want to give too much away, be we think jumps and blocks might be pretty fun….
[PS3A] What is next for Beatnik Games? Will you make another game for PSM?
[DC] At the moment we are focusing on some new projects, some work for hire and our own IP, for a range of platforms. And of course the updates to Samurai Beatdown!