Cyber Shadow Interview – Cyber Ninja

Cyber Shadow developer Aarne Hunziker speaks with GamingBolt about his upcoming action platformer.

Posted By | On 03rd, Sep. 2019

Cyber Shadow Interview – Cyber Ninja

Retro-inspired action platformers have found a major market for themelves in the indie space- there’s just something about the genre that instantly appeals to so many people. Cyber Shadow is one such game that’s promising to do the same, taking inspiration from the likes of Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man. Recently, we sent across some of our questions about the game and what we can expect from it to its development team at Mechanical Head Studios. Our questions below were answered by the game’s director Aarne Hunziker.

cyber shadow

"The game starts out with just jump and slash. Each skill you unlock takes you towards a more modern gameplay style. In the end you’ll be slashing through enemies and clearing rooms in a matter of seconds without touching the ground."

Comparisons with old-school Ninja Gaiden have been aplenty- how much of an influence has that been during development? Are there any other games, recent or otherwise, that have served as inspirations for Cyber Shadow?

The biggest influence has probably been Shadow of the Ninja/Blue Shadow/Kage, though that’s not the only one. For other NES influences there’s Ninja Gaiden, Batman, and Shatterhand.

Overall the game is a collection of the things I liked growing up such as Transformers, TMNT, Swat Kats, Captain Planet, and countless manga series.

Platforming and combat are often equally important pillars in games like Cyber Shadow– would you say there’s one of the two that your game leans a bit more toward?

Definitely leaning more towards combat, with level layout used as a way to complicate combat and create new scenarios.

Can you speak to us a bit about what sort of abilities we’ll be unlocking and using in Cyber Shadow?

The game starts out with just jump and slash. Each skill you unlock takes you towards a more modern gameplay style. In the end you’ll be slashing through enemies and clearing rooms in a matter of seconds without touching the ground.

cyber shadow

"Since The Messenger seems similar, I’m avoiding playing it until Cyber Shadow is complete. I’m saving it as a treat for myself to have a new pixel art ninja game I can experience for the first time. Something I can never do in a game of my own creation."

How much of an emphasis does Cyber Shadow put on its narrative?

Majority of narrative elements are optional, yet everything that happens is thought out and a part of a larger story written well beyond the scope of one game. I like the idea of writing too much and telling too little.

2018’s The Messenger attempted quite a lot of things that Cyber Shadow seems to be doing as well- did you look at anything in particular that game did that might have informed what you wanted to do and not do with Cyber Shadow?

Since The Messenger seems similar, I’m avoiding playing it until Cyber Shadow is complete. I’m saving it as a treat for myself to have a new pixel art ninja game I can experience for the first time. Something I can never do in a game of my own creation.

As far as level design is concerned, “metroidvania” seems to be the sort of design philosophy that the indie space has taken to with great affinity- does Cyber Shadow veer in that direction, or are we looking at a more directed and linear experience?

Cyber Shadow has a linear path from start to finish in an interconnected map. After each chapter there’s a portal that can be used to return to previous locations for hidden items.

cyber shadow

"Playing small games on a small console makes sense, but the magic trick is that the Switch can be big too. I feel the Switch is building bridges in many ways, not just with approachable technology, but also with their openness towards indies and super helpful staff."

About how long can we expect Cyber Shadow to be, in terms of an average playthrough’s length?

In test the playtime ranges from under 2 hours for a speedrun to 6 hours for a first timer.

As an indie developer, what is your take on the Nintendo Switch, which seems to have become a haven for ambitious indie titles?

Playing small games on a small console makes sense, but the magic trick is that the Switch can be big too. I feel the Switch is building bridges in many ways, not just with approachable technology, but also with their openness towards indies and super helpful staff.

What led to the decision for partnering with Yacht Club Games for publishing?

Early on I decided not to have a publisher, yet our similar interests with YCG brought us together. It was too perfect to pass on.


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