We’re living in an era of resurgence for beat ’em up games, and though 2021’s Mayhem Brawler may not have been as high-profile of a release as some other recent brawlers have been, it certainly ranks as one of its best offerings in recent years nonetheless. Now, developer Hero Concept is preparing to return with a sequel, and sure enough, Mayhem Brawler 2: Best of Both Worlds is looking like a promising sequel. On top of building on the excellent mechanics and gorgeous art style of its predecessor, Mayhem Brawler is also looking to expand on its gameplay experience with the introduction of roguelite mechanics, RPG elements, an experience spread across two timelines, and more. To learn more about the game and what will make it tick, we recently sent across a few of our questions to its developers. Below, you can read our interview with Hero Concept’s community manager Hasan Karakuş.
"One of the critical areas we’ve focused on in response to community feedback is the difficulty system. Our dedicated beat ’em up enthusiasts demonstrated their passion for Mayhem Brawler, seeking a challenging experience. Simultaneously, we saw newcomers to the beat ’em up genre embrace the game. This diversity in player skill levels presented an exciting challenge for us."
The original Mayhem Brawler has been very well received by players since its launch a couple of years ago. With that in mind, for its sequel, what are some of the key ways you’ve built on its feedback from the community, both in terms of the strengths that you want to highlight further and some of the areas that might have some room for improvement?
Our beloved Mayhem Brawler and our officers (players) taught us a lot over the years. We’ve listened to the community’s feedback on the original Mayhem Brawler. We aim to highlight the strengths players loved, such as its fast-paced gameplay, art style, and engaging story. Areas for improvement include fine-tuning mechanics based on player input and enhancing the overall player experience.
One of the critical areas we’ve focused on in response to community feedback is the difficulty system. Our dedicated beat ’em up enthusiasts demonstrated their passion for Mayhem Brawler, seeking a challenging experience. Simultaneously, we saw newcomers to the beat ’em up genre embrace the game. This diversity in player skill levels presented an exciting challenge for us.
On the one hand, some players found the Cadet difficulty level quite challenging, especially when facing foes like the Werecrocs. On the other hand, we were amazed to see players mastering the game’s scoring system within a week. We felt responsible for ensuring novice and seasoned players could enjoy Mayhem Brawler to the fullest. To address this, we’ve been hard at work on an innovative difficulty and scoring system. While I can’t delve into all the details yet, our new strategy aims to provide newcomers with a more welcoming introduction to beat ’em ups while offering our legendary officers the challenges they’ve been craving for so long. We’re excited to unveil more about this soon.
Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds will be worth the wait.
Mayhem Brawler 2 is continuing to build on its predecessor’s excellent art design and animation style. For you, was it the goal to continue with the art style in the same vein as the first game, or were you ever tempted to try something completely different?
One of the primary focuses of Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds was to uphold its predecessor’s beloved art style and animation, a crucial aspect of its unique identity. We opted for the same comic-inspired graphics and employed a similar visual vocabulary to maintain visual coherence. The feedback we received from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with many commending the visuals as a masterpiece within the genre.
The sequel beautifully preserves the predecessor’s frame-by-frame hand-drawn aesthetic, showcasing the same level of detail and care for the characters, enemies, and environment.
One of Mayhem Brawler 2’s headlining additions looks like its dual-timeline approach. How did the idea for that first come about? How will the gameplay experience leverage the game’s use of two different timelines?
Ah, one of the main mechanics of Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds: Time Transition mechanic. This mechanic/ability allows players to jump back or forth 20 years in time and beat ’em up in two timelines. This mechanics inspiration came from our desire to provide a more profound and dynamic narrative experience. Players can switch between timelines, impacting not only combat but also story events and character interactions.
Players will now have a third bar, resembling an “ultimate ability bar.” Once filled, players can choose to activate it and execute their Time Transition attack. For instance, the legendary Stronghold agent Stellar can use telekinesis to lift all enemies and forcefully slam them onto the ground, triggering the time jump. From there on, players will take on the role of the fierce and fiery She Wolf in the present day. Similarly, when the Transition Attack Bar is ready, She Wolf can unleash a heavy-fire attack on nearby enemies with a fearsome howl. And these time-transitioning attacks will work differently in boss fights.
How significantly will the two eras differ from each other not only in terms of their gameplay experience, but also their narrative content and visual aesthetic?
Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds offers an incredibly diverse and engaging experience with two distinct eras, each featuring unique gameplay mechanics, enemies, storylines, and visual aesthetics. Two stories unfold parallel events in two time periods 20 years apart, making Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds both a sequel and a prequel to the story. Enabling Time Transition Attacks for players to jump back and forth will enhance gameplay and allow strategic decisions and fantastic moves.
"The sequel beautifully preserves the predecessor’s frame-by-frame hand-drawn aesthetic, showcasing the same level of detail and care for the characters, enemies, and environment."
Mayhem Brawler 2 is also adding a roguelite twist alongside RPG mechanics. How significantly will that change up the experience?
The addition of rogue-lite and RPG mechanics will significantly enhance the gameplay experience. Roguelite elements introduce unpredictability and replayability, while RPG mechanics offer character progression and customization, allowing players to tailor their playstyle.
What can you tell us about the game’s roster of playable heroes? How much should players expect them to differ from each other in the abilities they boast and how they play?
Players can look forward to a diverse roster of heroes, each with unique abilities and playstyles. We’ve worked to ensure that choosing different heroes provides distinct gameplay experiences, encouraging replayability.
The release date will feature four pairs, with more to follow in the future. These pairs are;
Shoto/All-rounder: Stellar and She Wolf will lead the two parallel teams. With She Wolf’s exceptional feral skills and Stellar’s epic telekinetic meta-human abilities, this pair will be many battle masters’ favorites.
Big Guys: Apex Hunter and Beastmaster will focus on the role of grappler/tank Big Guys in both timelines. Apex Hunter will combine werewolf ferocity with the grappler fighting style, while The Beastmaster has a fighting style involving grappling, which he combines with slapstick movements that utilize his body weight.
Spellcasters: Wishmaster and Enchantress will introduce an element of strategic depth to the gameplay, which means many fun combos and unique playstyles. One of the highlights of Wishmaster is that he can carry multiple weapons at once with his magical ability. Enchantress will use her infamous ranged grapple and teleportation, just like in the original Mayhem Brawler.
Weapon Masters: Mindbender and Voivoda are skilled fighters who excel at slicing and punching. Mindbender has a tonfa in one hand, which leaves her other hand free for unarmed combat or picking up weapons as needed. She can showcase her impressive dual-wielding skills using tonfa and smaller melee weapons. Similarly, Voivoda is capable of dual-wielding but with larger melee weapons. His range makes him a formidable opponent.
Can you tell us how radically players will be able to impact the story with their choices? How many different endings will the game have?
In Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds, players have the power to influence the story with their decisions. The game’s narrative is more intricate, allowing players to delve further into the plot. The degree of impact on the story will depend on the choices the player makes during gameplay.
Mayhem Brawler 2 is promising some interesting things with its replay value and endgame content. Can you talk more about what players can expect from the game on that front?
Mayhem Brawler II: Best of Both Worlds provides an exhilarating world for players to explore, filled with various challenges, story elements, and secrets to uncover. With a new difficulty system and a combination of modern mechanics like rogue-lite and RPG elements, the possibilities for extending gameplay are limitless. It’s an adventure that never ends, keeping players engaged and entertained beyond the first playthrough.
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of the game be?
The average playthrough duration can vary based on player style and choices, but we anticipate a substantial experience that offers several hours of gameplay. And it’s hard to tell how many hours an average playthrough will take.
"The addition of rogue-lite and RPG mechanics will significantly enhance the gameplay experience. Roguelite elements introduce unpredictability and replayability, while RPG mechanics offer character progression and customization, allowing players to tailor their playstyle."
the reveal of the PS5 and Xbox Series’ specs, a lot of comparisons have been made between the GPU speeds of the two consoles, with the PS5 at 10.28 TFLOPS and the Xbox Series X at 12 TFLOPS. How much of an impact on development do you think that difference will have?
The PS5 and Xbox Series X GPU speeds are considered when developing games for multiple platforms. The game is optimized to ensure smooth performance on both platforms while utilizing their unique capabilities.
Optimizing games for multiple platforms means prioritizing the lower specs so everyone has the same gaming experience. While this can be challenging, ensuring the game runs seamlessly on all platforms is essential. In this case, rendering the game on the PS5 version may be easier, but it is still crucial to optimize for all platforms.
The PS5 features an incredibly fast SSD with 5.5GB/s raw bandwidth. How can developers take advantage of this, and how does this compare to the Xbox Series X’s 2.4GB/s raw bandwidth?
The PS5 boasts a fast SSD with a raw bandwidth of 5.5GB/s, enabling rapid loading times and seamless transitions between game elements. This technology allows game developers to create a more immersive and smoother gaming experience.
Slow loading times and interruptions in gameplay are always frustrating for players. With the new SSD technology, loading speeds can be reduced by half or even to mere seconds while enabling more data loading without causing data flow issues. This means we can expect seamless changes in open-world environments and other game elements without loading all the data into memory.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X boast Zen 2 CPUs, but there is a difference in the processors of both consoles. The Xbox Series X features 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz, whereas the PS5 features 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz. Your thoughts on this difference?
Both consoles feature Zen 2 CPUs, with slight differences in clock speeds. While these differences exist, both consoles offer powerful processors that can deliver impressive gaming experiences with proper optimization.
The Xbox Series S features lesser hardware compared to Xbox Series and Microsoft is pushing it as a 1440p/60 FPS console. Do you think it will be able to hold up for the more graphically intensive games as this generation progresses?
The Xbox Series S is a gaming console with a targeted resolution of 1440p and a frame rate of 60 FPS that offers an impressive gaming experience. Despite potential challenges with graphically intensive games, developers can optimize their games to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience on this console.
In some instances, such as with the game Spider-Man, a console’s specifications may not determine its significance. A console’s popularity among gamers can make it imperative for developers to create a corresponding port to enhance and streamline their products more effectively. This can ultimately lead to a high-performance and cost-effective gaming experience for individuals who prefer a smaller console like the Xbox Series S.
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?
Our goal for Mayhem Brawler on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S is to optimize the game for high frame rates and resolutions while keeping within the capabilities of each platform. However, a frame rate higher than 60 is unnecessary since Mayhem Brawler is an Arcade game. Therefore, the game will run at a smooth 60 frames per second and support resolutions of up to 4K.
"Our goal for Mayhem Brawler on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S is to optimize the game for high frame rates and resolutions while keeping within the capabilities of each platform."
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the Switch in docked and undocked modes?
On the Nintendo Switch, we’ll target frame rates and resolutions that provide a smooth experience in both docked and undocked modes, ensuring players can enjoy the game on the go or the big screen. So we will have a 60-frame rate and 1080p resolution while docked and a 60-frame rate of 720p undocked. 720p is the Switch’s maximum resolution limit.