Last night I was at the Gladstone Hotel for some light snacks, a couple of drinks, and to check out new Xbox Live Arcade titles. I have to say, this far into the latest generation of consoles, there’s no one even close to competing with what Xbox is doing with online games and the Arcade. It’s not even remotely a contest.
There were a number of games to check out, including a couple that are already out. One of the big favourites was Boogie Bunnies, which stood out as one of the most popular and engrossing. Omega Five was also cool, although for those of us who are a bit more immature, there’s something very wrong about the male character’s canon.
But the big reason I was there was actually for a game called N+ that is coming out very, very soon. The game plays out like one of the classic games you would have once bought for your Comodore 64 – you control a little stick figure ninja who has to make his way across the screen without getting shot, blown up, or falling to your death. The game is a total blast, and fairly difficult, but the best part of playing is actually the death scenes. For instance, I hit a mine at one point, which sent body parts flying across the screen, setting off some other mines, and flinging body parts even further.
It’s a simple game that has a lot going for it, and I had a quick chat with developers Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns from Matenet Software who were on hand to chat about the game, and explain how it was made.
The game apparently kicked off in February of last year, and they’ve been just wrapping up all the pieces over the last few months. (I saw a version of it at last Fall’s Xbox preview event, X’07.) Everything is falling in place now for a release any day now, and they’re planning to do a post-mortem at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
It’s also worth noting that Telefilms Canada provided funding for the game.
They also revealed to me that the ninja in the game is based on a real-life ninja friend of theirs (whose name and gender will remain unknown). “This is a way for us to tell his story,” Mare quipped.
The game also came together thanks to “Hours and hours of motion capture”, with a little help from their friends who were apparently blown up and tossed around a room for quite some time.