Greetings and salutations, PlayStation readers! My name is Ben Geisler, and I’m the studio head of Frozen Codebase. We’re an independent developer and we primarily enjoy playing and creating action games. We’ve got a bunch of veterans here from places like Raven, Treyarch, and Naughty Dog.
We like our action games. We like fighters, action RPGs, and anything else that lets you vent. And I’ve gotta say, what better platform on which to focus than the PS3? Personally, I think the PlayStation controller has never been surpassed in form factor, especially for games requiring lots of punching, hitting and general havoc.
Today, I bring to you a new trailer for our Kick-Ass game. But first just let me say that if you enjoyed the movie, you’ll enjoy the game!
For those of you living under a rock, Kick-Ass is an amazing movie by director Mathew Vaughn. Most of us at Frozen Codebase have seen it at least three times and it’s only been out for three days; just a totally amazing film. It’s based on the superhero brainchild of writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr, and features a unique take on superheroes. You’ve gotta see it, and you’ve gotta play our game when it hits the PlayStation Store on April 29th!
Never ones to take the path of least resistance, Frozen Codebase opted to not simply replicate the movie into a video game format. Instead, we worked the middle ground between the comic and the film. The game is a fine blend of the most action-packed parts of both facets of this incredible story. You can play the role of Kick-Ass, a dorky high school kid who is sick of seeing people around him doing nothing to stop crimes. You can also play as Hit Girl, a 90-pound powderkeg of badness. Hit Girl has been trained by her father (Big Daddy — also playable) to be a ruthlessly effective mercenary and assassin.
Let me back up for a second and tell a story. The day is September 29th, 2009. My art director (Andrew Gilmour, originally of Naughty Dog) and myself are in Santa Monica, about to attend a secret preview of this Kick-Ass movie. While the movie played, we sat there in the theatre laughing, on the edge of our seats. So while the credits rolled, I turned to Andrew Gilmour and asked him a simple question: “you think?” He had this big grin on his face, and simply said “hell yes.”
“Hell yes” is right. This movie is about the best setup you could ask for as a game developer. Action all over the place, but unique action. Hit Girl can run up walls while shooting down at drug dealers. Big Daddy can pump reload his shotgun while barreling down at foes. We came out of the theater that day and went to a private party meant to host Hollywood types. I remember sitting there with Randall Batinkhoff (an actor in the film and producer on the video game) and Andrew Gilmour. Andrew and I were looking pretty straggly from just finishing our work on Metalocalypse: Dethgame. I think I had a Guns ‘N’ Roses hat on, hadn’t shaved in days; Gilmour had his standard ridiculous beard. We must have looked massively out of place while these costumed Hit Girl waitresses gave us drinks overlooking some fancy venue, but the important part is that none of this mattered. Our eyes were glossed over with anticipation, talking to Randall about the possibilities of the video game.
From this moment, we knew we didn’t have much time. The game hadn’t yet begun to be created and we needed to get moving quickly. Suffice it to say that the short timeline was both a blessing and a curse, forcing us to become uber-focused. Time limits work on the same principle as what some developers have called “design constraints”– forcing creativity by requiring developers to choose only the most important features for inclusion.
Luckily, we had multiple ex-Raven personnel (myself included) who had worked on projects like X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. It was clear that, given three superheroes, it would be cool to play as any of them at any given time. Furthermore, it would be cool to play together with your buddy. And last, but not least, it would be cool to get better and better as a superhero, because, after all, that’s what the story is about.
We spent time on gameplay, gameplay and more gameplay. The time we had didn’t allow us to focus on cinematics, so the answer had to be gameplay. The end product has a huge focus on the most important things of any action beat-em-up with light RPG elements: Balance. Our designers painstakingly went through balancing enemies, fire rates, upgrades. I’m proud of the end result and I still have problems putting down the controller when I’m demoing the game.
The game tells a story which closely follows the movie and comic book, but we also go into considerably more depth on the drug trade. Kick-Ass begins to chase after thugs you only briefly see in the movie (such as Tre Fernandez and Cheadle). We also added an Arena mode because it felt fun to fight enemy after enemy in a seemingly never-ending manner. All of this will be available on the PSN store for $14.99 on April 29th.
But we’re not done! Stay tuned, — we’ll be adding multiplayer as a downloadable content update! Thanks to Wha Entertainment and Howard Horowitz for being a Kick-Ass publisher. Thanks to our fans and thanks to everyone on PlayStation.Blog for their support. It’s been quite a ride and I’m looking forward to hearing what people think of the action.