The team at Tinker Games is extremely busy with their ongoing Kickstarter campaign for Pale Blue, their ambitious free-roaming, 2D action adventure game that is inspired by many classics within the genre.
While the Kickstarter is definitely closing in on being funded (with ample time to spare), I was left with questions that needed to be answered, even after I read all about their game as if it were my job (kidding, it is). Thankfully, I was able to grab their publicist, Ezra Hizkia Nathanael, for a brief period of time and throw some of these questions at him.
For our fans who haven’t been following your game, could you give us a brief overview of Pale Blue, and what makes the game so special?
Ezra Hizkia Nathanael: Pale Blue is a 2D side-scrolling action adventure game, which inspired by various titles such as Rampage, Megaman, and Castlevania. The playable characters are Ellen, Tammy, and Frei; Each possess their very own unique abilities, such as devouring humans for Ellen and the poison-electric combos of Tammy.
Players will undergo several missions with specific objectives, but the way they choose the path will bring differences on the ending, such as either going totally berserk or just dealing minor and necessary damage. What makes Pale Blue special? It is from the unique perspective we’ve offered: the villain. We’re trying to make a game which going to satisfy every gamer’s desire: stunning art, cool music, intense gamplay, and a deep storyline.
Roughly how long has Pale Blue been in development since its original conception?
We started to build the concept on January 2014, so it’s been around 5 months now.
How many members are currently in the team at Tinker Games?
Currently, our team consisted of 20 members. Some of them even have unique educational background unrelated to game. But we are connected by sharing the same passion: to realize our dream and build the game.
Is your entire team based out of Indonesia, or do you have some external staff/contractors as well?
The development team is based in Bandung, Indonesia. But we do have a global partner in the (United) States, whom is helping us in the legal issues regarding the Kickstarter campaign.
So what originally made you guys decide to go with the anti-hero approach?
Our idea was to create a concept of telling story from the “evil” angle was inspired by superhero stories, comics, movies, and animations we watched since we were kids. We’ve been seeing our favorite superheroes fighting and defeating various kinds of monsters, villains, and evil organizations day by day, and we admire them.
But then as we grew up, we began to question silly things, like why do those monsters and evil organizations keep on fighting despite many of their own comrades dying in each attempt to reach their goal? We thought that it would be very interesting to look deeper into the “evil” perspective and tell the superhero stories from “villain” point of view.
You make a point of saying the game is primarily influenced by Rampage, alongside a myriad of other 2D side-scrollers; where would you say it draws the most inspiration?
The main theme of this game was inspired by Rampage, which also features monsters who wreck down cities and eat humans. However, we want to present more than just destroying stuff, that’s why we try to take Rampage into a story heavy game. But the gameplay was also inspired by some classic 2D, especially Castlevania and Megaman.
Where did the concept to make Ellen an organic weapon come from? It definitely reminds me of various anime epics, like Akira, Elfen Lied, etc.
It did came from those anime (Akira and Elfen Leid), and we’re (the team) also inspired by other games such as Prototype, which has similar abilities.
Will story progression primarily take place in linear levels, broken up by the free roaming regions – or is it a mix of the two?
It’ll be a mix of those two. Even in each mission, player will experience combination of a linear platformer and semi-free roaming.
How much variety can we expect in the level design? Will most of the missions from Cocoon send you off to metropolitan regions, or will there be forests, jungles, etc?
We’re planning to design various level design that each has their own unique way to play in. Of course there’ll be a metropolitan regions with many buildings that can be destroyed, but there’ll also be a military base, jungles, deserts, a superhero’s secret base, etc.
The other weapon types seem like they could be playable characters – is this the case?
Yes, Frei and Tammy are playable during certain missions. Each of them has their own specialties.
While we’re talking about other characters, since the game is inspired by Rampage, you guys have to include co-op of some kind – unleashing havoc and terrorizing people with friends would be a blast in this game … Is there co-op?
We’ve planned to make a co-op mode for this game, although for the time being we might have to focus on completing the main story campaign first. The co-op would be one of our main stretch goals.
How robust will Ellen’s abilities be? Will players be rewarded for meticulous character building?
Ellen has various kinds of abilities that not only consist of offensive ability, but also some buffs, debuffs, movement and even various kinds of transformations that will help her in terrorizing the world.
Using a skill tree system, player will be able to choose which abilities they want to unlock first. And unlocking abilities will require a DNA Point that could be obtained by completing objectives, achievements, or finding them hidden around the stage.
I know quite a few people who hate stealth missions, especially when they’re shoehorned into a game whose core experience is not based around stealth. Are you doing anything to avoid your fans disdainfully playing those missions?
We’re designing the stealth missions not to be some frustrating puzzles, but rather be like a stealth combat mission. So it won’t be as difficult as other games that are mainly based on stealth, but it will still provide some challenge.
Could you talk a bit more about the story? Without giving out any spoilers, is the story behind Ellen tragic? Gruesome? A bit of both?
All that we could say is that the story centers around the COCOON organization, the professor, and his ‘kids’ Ellen, Tammy, and Frei. There’ll be various conflict which revolve around the “reason of being evil”.
It’ll have some tragic story, quite gruesome I guess, and of course, there’ll be romance. In the end, you are going to get the big picture of what’s going on… and that’s it! Not gonna spoil all the fun here! (laughs)
Despite the game being primarily about the story behind the villains, will we also get some exposition behind the heroes?
Of course, since the Hero and the Villain are two sides of a coin, one can’t exist without the other. So the story, while being focused on the perspective of a villain, will also show some story about the heroes, naturally.
You mention multiple endings – could you give us a tease as to how many? Will they (presumably) be difficult to unlock?
Hmmm… just as I said before. You may get the big picture on the ending… So, there are more than one for sure. Each one will give you a different point of view for each ending. Regarding the difficulty, it’s relative!
Will Ellen absorb the memories of the humans she devours?
No. She absorbs their DNA instead. Some objects and humans will give her some special abilities and evolve her into a stronger monster.
So the heroes appear to be a very real challenge in the game, just by looking at them. Would you say they’re equal in terms of power, or do they get more powerful with more face being shown? (that was a nod to Alphaman)
We could safely say that some of them might be stronger than Ellen. But Ellen herself is still developing and will keep evolving through each battle. Also, some of them are using some “superhero advantages” that we usually see in superhero movies. For example, those “power rangers” that will outnumber Ellen, just like we usually see them in TV when they gang up against one monster.
How destructible will the environment be? Are we talking Rampage destructible (leveling an entire city!) or somewhat of a smaller experience?
We’re aiming for Rampage-like destructible. Especially in outdoor or city stages. Some other indoor stages might not be totally destructible, but it will contain a lot of things to wreck and smash along the way.
So you guys are already way beyond the half way point – if your Kickstarter is funded before the funding goal, will you consider stretch goals? Other platforms?
We already have a list of stretch goals including some extra campaigns. As for other platforms, due to some regional issues, we’re still negotiating and contacting people in order to be able to port this game to other platforms and consoles.
Lastly, do you have anything to say to your fans and existing backers, and your potential backers?
We’re currently doing our best in order to ensure that we’re gonna deliver a game which people enjoy it… whether it the backers, players, gaming community, and even ourselves.
Thank you very much for your support up until this moment, and please do keep cheering for us! Warm greetings and hugs from Ellen, Tammy, and Frei :)
This concludes our interview with the awesome folks at Tinker Games. If you thought any of this was interesting, please consider heading over to their Kickstarter campaign and throw a dollar (or more) their way.
Again, we want to thank Ezra and the rest of the team for being so awesome and giving us the time to do this interview! We hope you guys enjoy it, and please sound off in the comments below with your feedback!