The Chainsaw Incident Interview: Animating, Horrifying and Emboldening the 2D Fighting Genre

Origo’s Adam McClard and Crazy Piranha’s Amer Kokh converse on their twisted vision of old-school fighting.

Posted By | On 03rd, Apr. 2014 Under Article, Interviews

If 2D fighting games have proven anything in the past decade, especially in the newest generation of consoles, it’s that you can’t just keep a good crazy fighter down. This has been the case with Guilty Gear and Street Fighter IV, but it’s been a long while since any new fighting games have really set out to capture the hearts, minds and ruined thumbs of fans.

Enter Origo Games’ The Chainsaw Incident, a wacky, over-the-top, stylized fighting game that channels the old-school in every way possible. With help from Crazy Piranha’s Amer Kokh, Origo CEO Adam McClard is looking to create perhaps the world’s first horror-oriented 2D fighting game. It will also be out on the PS4 – what are Kokh and McClard doing to take advantage of Sony’s next gen console and just what is The Chainsaw Incident beyond its animatedly macabre styling? Find out below.

The Chainsaw Incident

"We wanted to not follow too closely to previous games as a source of influence, yet we learned from the best..."

Ravi Sinha: The Chainsaw Incident gives off a major Guilty Gear vibe, especially with its mix of anime-like irreverence and rock’n’roll mayhem. What are the various properties that helped inspire the game and its characters?

Kokh: I have always been a fan of old school fighting games and I still believe that 2D fighting games look and feel somehow slightly better than 3d “in my opinion”. such games have a big fan base but mostly focus more on martial arts, and since I’m a Fan of the Horror Genre I have created this Idea based on my love for Cartoons(I started an animation studio in 2005) along with Horror, to create a twisted blend of Cartoon horror Game.

McClard: I was a common player in the Japan arcade scene over the past 17 years, my big favorites being Street Fighter II Turbo edition, Marvel Superheroes, the VS series, SNK’s Fatal Fury, Samurai Spirits, and King of Fighters series. Over the past years in gaming I always wanted to do a new fighter, and being close to the fighting game companies in Japan, Amer and I decided we wanted to do something that stood out.

Amer’s Crazy Piranha studio has always shown me some of the most amazing designs I had seen. He showed me the concept for Chainsaw and it struck a chord, I wasn’t sure how it would be received. I know how hardcore fighting game fans are, and how adverse to change they are. I took some of the designs around Tokyo Gameshow and the response from both Western and Japanese viewers was immense.

Ravi Sinha: Which fighting games inspired the studio when initially conceiving The Chainsaw Incident? Was there ever this desire to be ultimately unorthodox and atypical from the crowd, or was the game’s look a direct result of its tone and atmosphere?

Kokh: We wanted to not follow too closely to previous games as a source of influence, yet we learned from the best, let me say I’m a fan of all the good fighting games outs there. Especially the old school SNK/Capcom no one can argue with that, but mostly I’m more inspired from movies and animation. When I created this project I was looking at it from a different perspective,the very FIRST thing was the idea of creating a horror animated cartoon, then I adjusted the characters into becoming fighters, and as you can see I intentionally made them different than the stereo typical characters out there.

I drew the characters that I wanted to see and play in a game, for me the design and animation of each character comes in first, and then I decide where it fits and how to alternate accordingly based on the phases of the game. So this game is based of pure art/cartoon obsession.

McClard: We came to the conclusion that after much deliberation the system should be a mix between something familiar, but something that represented the theme of the game. I felt that too many games give away chain combos too freely and people often get into a grove of playing ultimately the same set of moves over and over again, so I thought how to change it up, and let people get a challenge outside the traditional mechanics. That’s where the Gas and Clutch system comes in. We hope to bring a twist on gameplay not scene yet in a fighter.

The Chainsaw Incident

"We wanted to stand out from step one, really focusing on doing animation that hasn’t been delivered previously with pixels."

Ravi Sinha: The Chainsaw Incident’s animation, above all else, has caught our attention. How did you go about animating the fighters and effects?

Kokh: The animation originally started as a cutout animation style, which you saw in our early build trailer. However we decided that in order to deliver the best experience we will use full frame traditional animation which you will see in future trailers. We also changed engines since the first prototype in order to bring it to more platforms, we can do a lot more with current systems that has yet to be tried in terms of animation and the use of filters for animated film, which we are converting over to use in our product.

Ravi Sinha: We know that Chainsaw Incident will see a Kickstarter campaign soon. What was the reason for opting into crowd-funding as opposed to a traditional publishing method? This looks like a game that publishers would love, especially with regards to the high quality animation.

McClard: First thanks so much for enjoying the animation! We wanted to stand out from step one, really focusing on doing animation that hasn’t been delivered previously with pixels. We did something different and announced our Kickstarter early, so we can gain some much needed feedback and constructive criticism before we make the project live. Building a franchise in a crowded market will be a huge risk. Fighting games are not cheap to develop, and exposure is key, because without fans the product won’t carry.

Publishers in experience usually are risk adverse with new properties, if it’s not a name brand they rather just put resources in internal properties vs external. Kickstarter offers us an opportunity to get fans involved early, and have the opportunity to get players playing early and giving valuable feedback that will help the final game. We also have a huge line up of characters, and having an opportunity to let people vote early for the ones they want to play as the most.

Ravi Sinha: What can you tell us about the fighting system in the game aside from the combos and Super Attacks? Will it aim to be old-school or will we see a few new systems?

McClard: Currently we are aiming for a 5 button layout consisting of Light, Medium, and Heavy attacks (both high and low) there will also be auto hits and variants. We introduce 2 buttons which represent the chainsaw itself, “Gas and Clutch”. Gas button helps with CHAIN combos “:P” but overuse causes it to stall out. Clutch is used to help connect attacks and uses as an interrupt or cancel. We also can use a combination of buttons to throw, slam, or juggle.

Our plans for the special moves is quite unique and we will be offering a refreshing take on this, we are keeping our lips tight on that until Kickstarter. There will be 2-3 super attacks for each character. Using the super in a chain for a final hit will trigger a special treat.

The Chainsaw Incident

"People will catch the influences from our favorite horror stories, but we are really taking a spin on delivering our own unique experience."

Ravi Sinha: Will there be a tag-team mechanic in The Chainsaw Incident? What other game modes can we expect that go beyond the typical Versus, Time Attack and Story Modes?

McClard: This is been something we talked about from the beginning, and ultimately are going to turn to the fans to vote on whether they want this as a one on one experience, turn based tag, or tag experience. Currently we have designed the system to be flexible, but we want to make sure the games core function and gameplay experience is rewarding as is.

Ravi Sinha: With regards to the story, what is the “Incident” being referred to in the title? How many people have chainsaws and how many are just creepy as hell? Other than that, what can you tell us about the story?

McClard: Good question, well without spoiling too much, the game takes place around Lenore. Something happens to her, and she is brought to the world of Nevermore, Chainsaws rule in this world almost like a viral infection. Lenore along with her protector the Raven, are tasked with finding the cause of the infection and cutting it out. The world is however inhabited by Figments, creatures brought to life by both fear and passion. Lenore is an avid fan of horror films and the figments she encounters are either out to get her, or are there to help her along the way.

However Figments are not the only inhabitants of Nevermore, otherworldly entities, and even others like Lenore have been brought to Nevermore to battle the infection, or battle Lenore herself.

Kokh: We plan on having each character having their own twisted animated video in the story mode that shows their background and mission. We wanted to deliver an experience that is totally different from other games in the genre, we won’t make the story as overly complex as Blaz Blue, but will offer enough visually that each character delivers its own little short horror film.

People will catch the influences from our favorite horror stories, but we are really taking a spin on delivering our own unique experience. We however love that people have compared it to other games like Vampire, and SkullGirls we appreciate being compared to such great titles, but promise a unique experience.

Too many fighting games use guns or swords, frankly that’s fine, but we wanted to be unique and we hope people enjoy the freshness of it.

Ravi Sinha: Besides the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, what other platforms are you planning to bring the game on? Is a PC version still on?

McClard: Ultimately this will be up to the fans on kickstarter. However we plan on launching on Playstation consoles first. We believe there is a strong community around Sony for fighters so we made that a focus from step 1. We ultimately see PC in the future as well, and other consoles we will put up as stretch goals on the Kickstarter project.

The Chainsaw Incident

"Microsoft has so many requirements to self-publish on the platform, including minimum marketing requirements. "

Ravi Sinha: Interestingly, The Chainsaw Incident is not coming on the Xbox One. Is there any specific reason why you have decided not to bring it on Microsoft’s newest console?

McClard: Currently it is too early to say, Microsoft has so many requirements to self-publish on the platform, including minimum marketing requirements. The game will be free to play, and we are not planning a boxed version unless it the funding goal is met on Kickstarter. Killer Instinct is a great game as well, and we felt it will be a dominant game on the platform for some time.

Ravi Sinha: Can you please confirm the resolution of The Chainsaw Incident will run on the PlayStation 4? Are you targeting 1080p and 60fps?

McClard: 1080p and 60fps for now. Wouldn’t it be amazing though if there was a 4K update down the road? You never know what could happen.

Ravi Sinha: Are there plans to full support remote play on the PlayStation Vita?

McClard: Absolutely

Ravi Sinha: What kind of development benefits do you think the unified memory architecture and GDDR5 RAM of the PS4 will bring to the game?

McClard: The animation in this game is massive, we are doing more frames than most games to date have in total. This needs a lot of processing power. We also will be updating the game to use 3D backgrounds, unlike the 2D ones we used on the early build. So having room to increase the immersion is key.

Ravi Sinha: What are your thoughts on the PS4’s clock speed? Do you think it is enough to not put you guys through the troubles of thread management challenges?

McClard: I think both platforms and even PC are more similar than most people let on, I feel confident that the experience we will offer will be the same on any platform we bring the game to.

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