Kickin’ it with Scary Mostro – To The Death
Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed a beat’em-up, a shoot’em-up, and an action game? Wonder no more! To The Death is the answer.
4cr: Time to start this Kickin’ It With, so let’s get things moving in the right direction. Could you please give our readers some insight into who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve worked on, and what your current roles are at this new venture?
My name is Todd Alderman and I’m the Co-Founder and Game Designer at Scary Mostro. Previously I worked at 2015, Infinity Ward and Respawn as Lead Designer in charge of Multiplayer. For To The Death, I’m in charge of the complete design of the game. That includes how all the systems, mechanics, abilities, etc. function and how they work together. I get to touch, tweak, and polish each aspect of the game, from putting levels together, tweaking effects and animations, the whole deal.
4cr: Your Kickstarter campaign is underway for To The Death, a beat’em-up, shoot’em-up, action game mash-up. That sounds all kinds of crazy and cool, so please tell us more about it.
With To The Death we had this crazy concept that spawned from the intro of Ninja Gaiden on NES and an episode of Adventure Time about the world’s longest high five. It boiled down to this, what if there were these two warriors that had such a vendetta against one another that on you’re screen they’re just dots? You’re racing across a ridiculous distance just for that brief moment where you meet in the air and take a swing.
That evolved into where we are now, combining two of our favorite genres and adding a bunch of modern and new mechanics on top.
In the Single Player story you switch between playing as two warriors, battling across the land of the Crawl trying to get to each other to end the fight. You explore an overworld map, choosing the order of levels you play and unlock. They each have types and waves of enemies that change each time you play.
By completing trials and creating chain combos you can accelerate the rate at which you build your warrior up. You have a ‘deck’ of powers, which along the way, you apply to your warrior. You can customize them to have abilities that complement each other. You can do things like: tag 3 different bad guys with your gun, activate your magnetic shield to bring those tagged enemies to you, then use your 360 degree sword spin attack to send them flying in all different directions, taking any enemy they hit down with them. Then, after you complete a level, you switch to the other warrior and build them up the same way, but with their own custom build.
For Multiplayer, we have Co-op, a straight up versus mode, and also a unique splitscreen battle mode. In the splitscreen mode, each player takes the role of one of the warriors, charging across the level from the opposite end. You battle through hordes of enemies building up your warriors, choosing your powers and upgrades as fast as you can. Meanwhile, the other player is able to see your choices, so they can choose to build their warrior to counter what you’re choosing. This goes back-and-forth throughout the match. In the end, you both fight the boss at the same time and then finally, each other.
4cr: PC, Mac, and Linux are the main platforms for To The Death’s release, which makes sense due to licensing and development costs. Having said that, are you considering releasing the game on Wii U, PS4 and XBO if this is funded beyond its main goal?
We’re focused on bringing the core To The Death experience to PC, Mac, and Linux first. There is a stretch goal for other platforms which, as of right now that is PS4 and Vita. We’re in the process of trying to get Xbox One, Wii U, and 3Ds on the list.
4cr: How many people are currently working on this project?
We have around 14 people on the team right now. From Scary Mostro we have Francesco Gigliotti on engineering and I’m in charge of design. Cecil Kim is heading up the art department from Section Studios, which consists of about 6 artists for our project. Formosa Interactive is doing the sound with 2-3 people. Ex-Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader is composing the soundtrack and Logan Cunningham is doing some narration.
4cr: With a potential release set for May 2015, there is still a long way to go before To The Death is finally in the hands of backers. Do you have any idea about how long it would take someone to play the game from start to finish? Are you aiming for a long game, or a shorter game that can be replayed multiple times to unlock and experience new content?
There isn’t an exact length of time that the single player story will take but it will be a full and complete experience. We want to do what feels right and fits with the story. What’s also cool is that each level is replayable, offering new trials to complete, new enemies to fight, and new secrets to uncover. There’s a lot to explore outside of the straight line to the end. By doing so you can build your warriors to be stronger and more diverse for the final fight in the end. And then there’s the multiplayer modes.
4cr: Thank you for your time. Care to add anything else before we end this interview?
We are very passionate about this game and want to make it happen. It’s going to be very different and very fun! I’m urging people to visit the To The Death Kickstarter site and contribute! Thank you very much!