Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition Interview – The Next Gen Version

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Posted By | On 14th, Jul. 2014 Under Article, Interviews

Guacamelee! is an action video game platformer that was originally released for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3, which was then followed by Guacamelee!: Gold Edition for Steam. Now DrinkBox Studios have launched a revamped version of the game on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Wii U. Titled Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, the new title features new bosses and levels.

GamingBolt caught up with Greg Lesky who is the Lead Designer at DrinkBox Studios to know more about the game. Check out his response below.

Ravi Sinha: Guacamelee! has seen nothing but positive support, both commercially and critically since it released. How much of that contributed to the Super Turbo Championship Edition which will be releasing on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U and PS4? Did you ever expect support for the game to grow beyond the confines of the Vita and PS3?

Greg Lesky: The positive support from the community really had everything to do with it. We wanted to bring the game over to the next generation of consoles with something new, not just a port, and get it to a wider audience. I think we just made the game that we wanted to make and are happy people liked it as much as they did.

Ravi Sinha: What kind of additional content can we expect in the Super Turbo Championship Edition? Previous DLC will be attached along some new bosses and levels. What can you tell us about them?

Greg Lesky: In addition to two new levels, a new boss and a new class of “elite” enemies we’re also introducing two new moves. The first is INTENSO that you charge through doing combos. Activating it doubles both your attack and movement speed as well as your attack power for a short period of time, which you can use to get out of tough situations or speed through a level. The other is for Chicken Mode, Egg Bomb. Aside from being just fun to blow things up with exploding eggs it will open up new secret areas. We also had time to go back and tune the game, as well as address some of the feedback from the community.

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"Nintendo has been helpful and easy to work with. Whenever we've reached out to Nintendo they've always been helpful and responsive, and you can't ask for more than that."

Ravi Sinha: Will you be taking advantage of the additional power that the PS4 and Xbox One offer to visually improve the game or even revamp it significantly from the initial release?

Greg Lesky: Now that we don’t have to worry as much about memory and overdraw issues, our Art Director was able to put in all the extra details and effects he always wanted to shove into the original release but couldn’t. We didn’t completely redo the art as much as we wanted, but we finally got the game polished to the level it was meant to be. This includes better lighting, better antialiasing, more particles and effects on screen at once, extra layers of foreground and background props, water distortion effects, and most noticeable of all; real-time cast shadows that add much more depth and life to the environments of Guacamelee.

Ravi Sinha: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will also be out on the Wii U, which has been a negative rap in the past year due to limited sales and games selection. How was the development process for the console and your dealings with Nintendo?

Greg Lesky: Nintendo has been helpful and easy to work with. Whenever we’ve reached out to Nintendo they’ve always been helpful and responsive, and you can’t ask for more than that. As for development, the initial port took a little while to get working, but once that was done things went smoothly.

Ravi Sinha: How will the game take advantage of the Wii U GamePad? Will it allow for significantly different gameplay than the PS4 and Xbox One?

Greg Lesky: Being a smaller team we focused more on getting the game to the new consoles rather than building console-specific features. However the GamePad will allow players to either mirror the game screen or display the world map.

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"We are supporting the TouchPad, which will allow players to bring up the world map."

Ravi Sinha: Will the PS4 and Xbox One versions support the DualShock 4 Touchpad and Kinect respectively?

Greg Lesky: We are supporting the TouchPad, which will allow players to bring up the world map.

Ravi Sinha: Can we expect a proper sequel to the original game in the coming year? Even if not, what kind of criticisms from the first game will you be looking to improve on with your next project?

Greg Lesky: Right now we’re working on finishing Super Turbo Championship Edition and on a new title called Severed, a first person exploration non-linear dungeon-crawler where you play a girl who’s unraveling the mystery of what happened in an even more mysterious world. I think our biggest criticism on the first game was difficulty spikes in the game, and with Super Turbo Championship Edition we had a chance to go back and smooth those out. For Severed, we still like to really challenge the player so that element will still be there.

Ravi Sinha: Lost in the buzz of the Xbox One and PS4 is Valve’s Steam Box. What are your thoughts on the console at this point and will you be bringing Guacamelee!: Super Turbo Championship Edition to SteamOS at some point?

Greg Lesky: It’s still unclear how widespread the Steam Box will be, and I think a lot may depend on the success of the Steam Controller. I’m not yet sure how usable the controller will be for all the different kinds of games out on Steam. If the controller *really* works, then the Steam Box may take off. Valve seems to use a process of slow incremental improvement, and it sounds like that may happen with SteamOS too, so it could be a few years before the picture becomes clear on Steam Box.

As for releasing Guacamelee! STCE, the original Guacamelee! already runs on SteamOS, which is really just a consequence of it running on Linux. If/when Guacamelee! STCE is released on Steam I think it’s quite likely it will appear on Steam OS too.

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"The port was pretty smooth. We had the game engine working with DX11 before we got devkits, so the number of changes required to get going on XB1 was pretty small."

Ravi Sinha: As someone working on the PC side of things, what kind of benefits DX12 will bring to indie games development?

Greg Lesky: Hmmm. I’m not sure there are big benefits to indies. Small studios aren’t focused on the latest and greatest tech – they’re more interested in having a stable, portable, and easy-to-use tech base so they can focus on making the game. That’s why you see a lot of indie devs using Unity, OpenGL and GameMaker.

Upgrading to a new API that’s Windows-only where a lot of the benefits are on the performance side (something small games aren’t usually constrained by) doesn’t sound like something indies will get excited about. Having said all that, I’m personally excited about the reduced CPU overhead and the improvements to multithreading. Having worked on consoles, I like anything that brings the API closer to the hardware, and DX12 sounds like it’s doing that.

Ravi Sinha: Did you faced any issues while working on the Xbox One, specifically the eSRAM?

Greg Lesky: The port was pretty smooth. We had the game engine working with DX11 before we got devkits, so the number of changes required to get going on XB1 was pretty small. On top of that, the new consoles have so much more power than the previous generation (and remember we shipped Guacamelee on Vita!) that using the eSRAM wasn’t actually necessary for us. We *are* using the eSRAM, but because we’re a small game we’re not really limited by it.

I can imagine a AAA game using MRTs having some challenges, but for us managing the memory wasn’t too difficult. That work was doubly useful as well, because the WiiU’s memory architecture is surprisingly similar, and we were able to share our engine changes between the two platforms.

Ravi Sinha: Can you please confirm the resolution and frame rate of the PS4 and Xbox One versions?

Greg Lesky: 60 FPS and 1080p.

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