What’s in a Bowl of Guacamelee? [Interview]
November 7, 2011
When DrinkBox Studios announced Guacamelee on October 18th, we did an excitable post here at MTB. Not too soon after producer/programmer, Graham Smith, made contact via email and I had the courage to ask for an interview. Graham Smith obliged. Enjoy the fiesta of information.
How did Guacamelee come to be, and where did the name come from? We know it was inspired by Mexican culture, but there’s a lot of different elements of it being combined.
We somehow got a Mexican working on our team during the development of About a Blob. Augusto was the one responsible for animating all of the characters and cut-scenes in the game, including the caricatures of the Drinkbox team members. When development on About a Blob was wrapping up, the team was brainstorming ideas for our next project, and Augusto brought the high-level concept of Guacamelee to us. The other team members ran with the idea and it evolved into something a bit different (e.g. the concept of multiple dimensions was introduced), but the title of the game and the core story line have remained unchanged.
How much of the game is unreserved insanity?
100%! Well maybe not that much, but definitely as much as we think can get away with. There are some very interesting and bizarre legends/myths in Mexican culture, and we are trying to incorporate many of these in to the game, as well as many of our own insane ideas.
How was Guacamelee received at Digifest’s First Person Show?
The reception was super positive. Strangers were jumping in to the game together, learning the controls pretty quickly, and seemed to be having a lot of fun. From observing people, we also identified a couple of small rough spots in the demo that we have now been able to improve.
There’s a scene with two roosters running around during the announcement trailer. Are we actually going to get to be roosters in co-op mode?
Most definitely! In the current demo there is a giant chicken in the town. If you manage to find him, he gives you the “Power of Chicken” and sends you off on a quest to find his 12 brothers to tell them that they suck. People seem to really like being a chicken for some reason that I don’t entirely understand.
How is the game structured, is there a separate story for single-player and co-op or are they combined?
The whole game will be designed to work with one or 2 players. The second player can drop in or out at any time.
How long do you expect the game to be?
I can’t really give an answer on this yet. We want to get as much into the game as we can, but also keep it streamlined so that players never feel lost or bored. I think the final length of the game will be figured out closer to the end of development. I expect it will also take significantly longer for someone who is trying to find all the secrets than it will for someone who is just following the main story straight to the end.
Are there any plans for DLC?
We have been talking about ideas we could do for DLC, but nothing definite yet.
Is the style of the game more Metroidvania exploration or Shank battle royale?
The combat might feel a bit closer to Shank (close quarter melee), but the overall game feel is definitely more Metroid-vania.
What’s different in your game that will draw people to it?
Initially, people seem to be really drawn to the general theme of the game. Grim Fandango still holds a place in many people’s hearts (mine included) and to my knowledge that is the last time a game with a similar theme (Day of the Dead) was done.Once the game is fired up though, it’s the unusual combination of game elements which seems to be the people really enjoy. Imagine co-op Metroid where you play as a Luchador, “Street Fighter like” controls, and the ability to swap instantly between parallel worlds (like in Link to the Past). These elements work surprisingly well together. Then when you wrap it all up in a bizarre world filled with crazy characters, you get Guacamelee!
When can we expect to see more Guacamelee?
We’ll probably have a lot more to show early next year.
How is your relationship with Sony?
We can’t say for sure what platforms we will be releasing on yet. We’re still trying to figure that out.
Yes, I’m pretty certain there will be a demo for the game.
I think this is something we’ll decide later on, but we could definitely end up putting in some Mexican-themed DrinkBox cameos :D
Ah you are referring to David’s recent post in the Mutant Blobs Attack Blog :) Despite the humourous self-deprecating post, David has been a great addition to the team, and really does have good design ideas. (Yes that is how Canadians spell “humourous”)
Who at Drinkbox makes the best guacamole? What makes for the best guacamole, in their opinion?
I think this might be a good competition for the studio to have. I make a decent guacamole, but it is a bit heavy on the onions for most people’s tastes. I think Augusto would likely make a better one because he has the Mexican advantage. I just asked him over Google Talk what he thinks makes the best guacamole. Here is an unedited transcript of the conversation:Graham: What makes for “the best” guacamole? Is there a secret?Augusto: lolAugusto: good guacamole, obviously good avocadosAugusto: but that’s easyAugusto: make sure you put in lime juiceAugusto: i usually just add a bit of salt, lime juice and tomato, diced smallAugusto: bec i’m lazyAugusto: but if you have cilantro you can add that tooAugusto: cilantro is strong but blends well with limeAugusto: so they balance each other outAugusto: avocado goes brown super quick, so make sure you use the transparent plastic wrap on the container. the moms and grandma’s have a trick where they say to keep the seeds inside the guac, bc that keeps it greenAugusto: but scientifically that’s bc the seeds are big and block the airGraham: Ok, this is good stuff. The world needs to know this!Graham: It’s for an interview I am doing by the wayAugusto: hahaha awesome