Basement Crawl is an upcoming maze style multiplayer game coming exclusively on the PlayStation 4. Developed by Bloober Team, we caught up with Marketing Manager Aron Cender to know more about this strange yet intriguing PS4 launch window title.
Rashid Sayed: First of all, can you please introduce yourself and the company you work for?
Aron Cender: We are Bloober Team – Polish indie developer. You might know us from A-Men series for PS3 and PS Vita, we are also guys responsible for Basement Crawl and some cool new projects, that we can’t really talk about right now 😉
Rashid Sayed: There is not a whole lot of information about Basement Crawl available out there. Can you please tell our readers about the game?
Aron Cender: Basement Crawl is a classic maze-style multiplayer title coming exclusively to Playstation 4. The game was inspired by well-known, retro game – Bomberman. We wanted to combine classic, but improved gameplay with the intense feeling of creepy and thrilling horrors like “Saw”. Our main goal was to make Basement Crawl a unique experience, when it comes to atmosphere and feeling.
"The gameplay is very similar to classic Bomberman, however we added some additional features to make it more fun and challenging."
Rashid Sayed: So your announcement said you were inspired by classic NES maze action games like Bomberman. How did the entire concept for this game come about?
Aron Cender: We wanted to do something cool and different from other launch titles. We knew there’ll be a lot of AAA games available, so the idea of a classic game seemed pretty good. You know, Assassin’s Creed and Killzone are cool, but you might also want to play something with your friends, when they come to see your shiny, new Playstation 4. We always wanted to do a game in a horror-like setting and it was quite suitable for a title like Basement Crawl. We also felt like there haven’t been a game like this a long time – Bomberman is a bit forgotten and we thought players might like a very polished and improved version of it.
Rashid Sayed: The core gameplay revolves around setting up traps and and is basically focussed on multiplayer. Can you please let us know how this will work in-game?
Aron Cender: The gameplay is very similar to classic Bomberman, however we added some additional features to make it more fun and challenging. There are two main game modes – Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch and you can play either locally (4 players) or online (up to 8 players). Most of the new stuff comes from characters and their abilities.
Rashid Sayed: With most multiplayer games based on respective player levels, Basement Crawl will instead focus on skills. What was the reason behind this decision?
Aron Cender: Aron Cender: Focus on player levels benefits people, who have spent more time playing the game. We wanted Basement Crawl to be rewarding for players with the best skills, not level. If you’re good enough you can jump fresh into the game and destroy people, who have played it for hours. Our games are for hardcore players and we want them to feel that their skill is being rewarded.
"Meeting a deadline was a big challenge for us. The game is a completely new project on a brand new platform, that we have never worked on before. We had to put a lot of effort to make sure everything was done correctly and it took a lot of very precious time."
Rashid Sayed: You also announced that there will be a single player component in the game. What can you tell about it and will this tie in with the multiplayer?
Aron Cender: The single player mode will be more of a practice for multiplayer, than the actual game mode. It’ll allow players to play against AI on the same stages and get to know the game better, before they start competing. At this point we aren’t sure if we have enough time to squeeze it in before the release, so it might be added in a patch later.
Rashid Sayed: Basement Crawl is going to be a launch title for the PlayStation 4. Given that many big name publishers have missed the launch window, and there have been several high profile delays, was it difficult for you to make the deadline?
Aron Cender: Meeting a deadline was a big challenge for us. The game is a completely new project on a brand new platform, that we have never worked on before. We had to put a lot of effort to make sure everything was done correctly and it took a lot of very precious time. However, Playstation 4 has some new features, like cross-game chat, that allowed us to save some of that time. But it was very intense, so we are very proud that our game will come out in the launch window.
Rashid Sayed: I have to ask this question! The artwork released for some of the characters are pretty spooky. Why did you guys went for that kind of design?
Aron Cender: We want our games to stand out from the crowd in two areas. The first one is difficulty – we target hardcore players, that want to be challenged by a game. The second one is unique atmosphere. Basement Crawl is meant to be a spooky, scary and unforgettable experience. If someone plays our game at night and goes to bed right after – we want him to have nightmares with the characters from Basement Crawl. It’s not just a game you play, you should feel it.
"Xbox One is more of a family entertainment system, with all the TV features and Kinect, than a gaming console. And Wii U was never meant for hardcore players, so that’s not our target, even though we have a lot of love and respect for Nintendo."
Rashid Sayed: Furthermore, it seems that there will be different classes in the game. Can you please talk a bit about it and how they will differ from each other?
Aron Cender: There are four classes and each of them have some unique abilities like for example faster regeneration or more health points. We tried our best to balance them as well as possible to make sure none of them is overpowered. I think we did a pretty good job. Choosing the right hero for your playstyle will be the key to success in Basement Crawl.
Rashid Sayed: The game announcement explicitly said you are a ‘developer focused on Sony’s platforms.’ Given the tough market conditions, why is it that Sony drew you over the other two console manufactures [Xbox One and Wii U], or even over PC, which is a haven for the indie game development scene?
Aron Cender: Our goal is to make games for hardcore gamers and we feel that Playstation is the go-to platform. Xbox One is more of a family entertainment system, with all the TV features and Kinect, than a gaming console. And Wii U was never meant for hardcore players, so that’s not our target, even though we have a lot of love and respect for Nintendo. PC is pretty similar to Playstation, when it comes to hardcore players, but you can’t forget about Sony’s support for indie developers, which has really been amazing, as well as PSN which is one of the best places to sell your games. Also Basement Crawl is a very “console” game with local multiplayer, that wouldn’t be possible on PC.
Rashid Sayed: Any chance we will see Basement Crawl on the Vita?
Aron Cender: As for right now Basement Crawl is a Playstation 4 exclusive.
"The new controller is definitely better than the DualShock 3. It’s pretty hard to explain why, it just feels much better and it might be the best one ever."
Rashid Sayed: What is working on the PS4 like? What about its hardware immediately stands out to you, as a developer?
Aron Cender: Playstation 4 is a very powerful machine. Even though Basement Crawl is an indie title, nowhere near to AAA scale, we still have a lot of respect for Sony – they created an amazing piece of technology. During the production of Basement Crawl Playstation 4 was still being developed, so we had to adapt all the time and change a lot of things. But without any doubt it’s a very powerful tool for developers.
Rashid Sayed: What do you think of the PS4 controller? Some developers say it is one of the best controller ever made. What are your thoughts on the same? Furthermore, Do you plan to use the touchpad to further enhance the gameplay?
Aron Cender: The new controller is definitely better than the DualShock 3. It’s pretty hard to explain why, it just feels much better and it might be the best one ever. New DualShock is a huge step forward and we can’t honestly think how it could be any better.
Rashid Sayed: The PS4 obviously has some pretty incredible social and sharing features. How can we expect Basement Crawl to utilize these?
Aron Cender: Basement Crawl will have the standard Playstation 4 features, we haven’t added anything special. We decided to focus on the game itself, rather than spending time on additional social elements.
"There are really no excuses for developers not to make games at that standard and gamers the right to expect it. I’m really sad that some of new titles will be 720P@30FPS. But I hope soon we’ll see more 1080P and 60 FPS titles on all platforms."
Rashid Sayed: From a development perspective, several gameplay developers have claimed that the PS4 is 50% more powerful than the Xbox One. What are your thoughts on the same and does that kind of power really matter in game development?
Aron Cender: We didn’t have any contact with Xbox One, so it’s hard to compare both consoles. However, if you look at pure numbers it seems that Playstation 4 is more powerful. Most games run better on PS4, with higher resolutions and FPS, so I’m pretty sure Sony did a better job at making a gaming console. Pure computing power is for sure an important factor for developers, but we should also remember how easy it is to access this power. Overall Playstation 4 is a great and powerful tool. Our games are not that demanding on hardware as AAA titles, but we can see how well-engineered the PS4 is.
Rashid Sayed: One last question, with the next generation of gaming right around the corner, more and more gamers want the games to run at a full 1080P @ 60FPS. I have two questions regarding this: Will Basement Crawl support that resolution and fps and do you think in the future games on the PS4 will run at that golden stanard?
Aron Cender: Basement Crawl will be for sure 1080P and hopefully 60 FPS, it’s still work in progress and we want to reach that value. I believe all future games should be 1080P@60FPS, it’s almost 2014 and we are moving to the next generation. There are really no excuses for developers not to make games at that standard and gamers the right to expect it. I’m really sad that some of new titles will be 720P@30FPS. But I hope soon we’ll see more 1080P and 60 FPS titles on all platforms.