Last week, we brought you a preview of a fantastic platformer from Bitmap Bureau called 88 Heroes. Today, we are so happy to bring you an interview with Mike Tucker, Design Director of 88 Heroes! Check out what Mike had to say about the development of 88 Heroes!
First of all, congratulations on the upcoming launch of 88 Heroes! How did you and the team come up with such a great idea for a platformer?
We always try to bring something new to whichever genre we tackle, and so we thought it would be a great idea to create a 2D platformer with a huge amount of heroes with wildly varying abilities, which I don’t think has been done before, at least not on this scale! This means that every time a hero dies or completes a room you’ll be given a new hero chosen at random, so you constantly have to keep working out how to tackle each room with the hero you’re given.
Did you plan on making a retro style platformer since the beginning? Or did your ideas evolve and change over the course of development?
88 Heroes was always going to be a 2D platformer, although a few changes were made during development – the original design doc mentioned having 88 areas that you’d have to challenge, but we quickly realised that wasn’t going to happen! The boss fights were also going to be mini-games played against Doctor H8, but in the end we opted for more traditional boss fights in a similar vein to Mega Man and Sonic.
What types of games / genres inspired you to get into game development?
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, which was the golden era of game development for me – some games that had a big effect on me included Atic Atac, Ranarama, Ultima V, Starflight, Bard’s Tale, Elite, Street Fighter 2, Pilotwings, Symphony Of The Night, Descent, Unreal, Biohazard, Ridge Racer, Initial D etc. My first attempts at game development were simple text adventures for mobile phones though – I was a big fan of Zork, Colossal Cave and Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, so it was a fun and relatively easy introduction to making games.
With 88 heroes and 88 levels, we can imagine that development was pretty challenging. Which stage of development gave you the biggest challenge?
I think getting the huge amount of art required for the heroes done was the most challenging part of the development, but there was also the issue of balance; ensuring that every hero had a reasonable chance of completing every level. Designing 88 levels was tricky too, but fortunately we had a lot of help from game design students at our nearby university!
The GameOctane team has a lot of favorite heroes like Hammerstein and Rick Roll. Which hero is your favorite and why?
I really like Blocktopus myself – his blocks are very versatile, and can be used to create platforms which allow him to reach parts of levels that most heroes can’t reach or shorter routes to the exit. They can also be used as barriers, blocking enemy projectiles or making enemies turn away.
You must really love numbers, especially the number 8 🙂 How did you develop the idea to include the number 8 into the game?
I think the number “88” had been stuck in my head since I was about 16 after playing Area 88 on the Super Famicom – I had been thinking of making a game all about the number “99”, but that had been done a few times before, and “88” just sounded cooler. 😉
Can you give us a few hints about any Easter eggs that gamers can look for while playing?
There’s loads of little touches and tricks that you’ll discover by playing the game enough, but I’ll give you a few here to try out:
Power José can fire his water hose downwards to boost himself up onto higher platforms. He can also put out fires, as you might expect!
Retro Reptile is capable of killing any boss simply by eating them!
Mr.Kung Fu has several moves at his disposal…see if you can figure them all out…
Disco’s flying disc can be used as both a weapon and a platform
Penelope Pixel is able to walk over spikes:
Give us your best pun using the number 8.
Gr8 game m8 I r8 it 8 out of 8! 😉
Huge shout out to Mike for taking the time to answer our questions! The game is an absolute blast and we can’t wait for it to launch. You can preorder your copy today! For more information on the team at Bitmap Bureau, check out their website HERE. You can also check out the 88 Heroes website HERE. We will bring you more coverage of 88 Heroes as we get closer to launch!