Epic Loon is a four player platform game that places us directly in the alien theme. After purchasing a strange VHS, Joey Chip Douglas rescued four creatures and launched an alien invasion. From a simple VCR, the problem takes on an unsuspected magnitude.
The game was the winner of the MAGIC video game contest in 2016, and we gave you a lot of information via an interview at the beginning of the year. Now the release is imminent, and I had the opportunity to attend the afternoon launch of the game. In the program, a press conference, let’s play with a part of the team, game sessions, beer, and goodies!
Several members of the team came, in turn, to talk about the development of the game for their part and give us some amusing anecdotes.
Joe is a single American who lives with his grandmother and loves his VHS collection. Until one day his tape recorder starts messing around, and he finds himself buying a cleaning tape. After using it, he realizes that four aliens have landed in his tape recorder, and are trying to rot all his movies. Joe then tried to destroy them using his most violent films (Jurassic Land, Grozilla, Alien, and Nosferatu).
Birth of the game
Under this incomprehensible enigma hides the willingness of the studio (3DDuo) to release mobile and web games to do something different (the Antelope project).
- What it shouldn’t: match-3, free-to-play, MMO, of QTE, zombies.
- What was needed: the atmosphere of the 90s, the VHS, the concept of the game sofa to play with friends, the cinema of that time, and Priapism, the band that signed the BO (a little everything the team loved).
The game designer had asked for a very physics-oriented game, with few controls. We needed blobby-like aliens, but no zone-51 environment. And then the idea of the VHS came up, very interesting for the freedom of the sets and possible movies. But we had to make a connection to the VHS, and that’s where the cleaning tape came in.
Development and evolution
Many prototypes were made before the final result. We got a glimpse of some of them.
- Different powers for each alien, but it didn’t fit.
- The player’s ability to control movements to the left and right, and stick to the walls, but this did not match the desired dynamics. Hence the idea of turning into a tentacle with a pendulum to move faster.
In the final gameplay, the aliens can only jump, but not very far, and above all turn into tentacles, which allows much more powerful jumps in the direction of the eye.
As far as the artistic direction is concerned, the final rendering remained quite close to the first draft. But in the meantime, there have been plenty of other versions!
- The game was first planned in 3D, but the idea was quickly eliminated because it was too problematic.
- Then the aliens had to be in color, but that didn’t fit the idea of N&B movies.
- It was even considered to give them an exoskeleton, but not very long.
Finally, it was decided to keep the cartoon proportions, of the leading black and white with a sharp contrast, but some colors to differentiate the characters and attract the eye on some elements of the decor (notably the red that kills instantly), many photos to give a particular effect (and facilitate the work), full of glitch and dust.