Do you remember Metal Slug? The awesome 2D side scrolling shoot fest? Well some massive publishing houses may have us believe there is no room for that game style anymore, best leave them breeding nostalgia at the back of our Classics cupboard.
Well we have a treat rampaging its way on to gaming machines in the near future.
We caught up with Klei Entertainment's Jamie Cheng to get the latest on their beautifully stylised side scrolling beat/shoot em up.
Q&A with Jamie Cheng
Game-Debate - Where did the idea for Shank come from and was it difficult to get backing?
Jamie Cheng - Jeff (Agala, Creative Director) and I came up with the idea while talking about games and movies we love. The ultimate goal of Shank was to mesh fantastic art, story and controls to create a "cinematic brawler". Was it difficult to get backing? Yes.
GD - How long have you been developing Shank and how many people have you got working on it?
JC - Shank began development in January 2009. We started with 6 of us, and by the end we had reached 15 people cranking on the game.
GD - Will the PC version of Shank have all the features of its console counterparts, like the recently announced coop campaign, and will the PC version include extra content compared to the earlier released console versions?
JC - The PC version will definitely include the local co-op campaign. We don't have any plans for additional content compared to the console versions - they are created equally
GD - If the coop campaign survives onto the PC what methods of network connection will be available to gamers - for example, same machine with shared keyboard, LAN or internet?
JC - Co-op will continue to be a local feature, and I'd recommend that at least one player use a gamepad. Keyboard input generally isn't very good for action games!
GD - Roughly how long is the single player campaign and what aspects of the game are most likely to keep the player coming back again and again?
JC - I still scratch my head when that question comes up. Just as I wouldn't comment on a book's page count, I try not to count the number of hours the campaign is. The initial reactions are that it's a decent length, but more importantly it's a compelling experience.
As for replayability, I've found that playing the game in Hard Mode is really satisfying, because it forces you to play in a different manner. In this mode, dying causes you to start from the beginning of the level, which makes people pay attention to blocking, dodging, the pros and cons of different weapons, and the related enemy behaviours. That, and there are some fun unlocks available.
GD - What sort of special weapons/ attacks are we likely to see from our hero?
JC - Besides the ones we've seen (shanks, chainsaw, dual pistols, grenades, shotgun), Shank picks up weapons to add to his arsenal along the way. Each weapon has its own strengths and move-set. Everyone who plays the game chooses a personal favourite weapon, and declare the others "unbalanced". That's when we know we did our job
GD - The graphical style of Shank is obviously quite a selling point, what was the inspiration for the art direction?
JC - Jeff, our Creative Director, cites graphic novels and Golden Age comics as his primary inspiration.
GD - What is your favourite aspect of Shank? Is there something you are particularly proud about that makes it stand out from the competition?
JC - Personally, I love that the whole package came together. I'm really proud of the fact that we took everything into consideration to work with each other - from the controls, to the animation, to the story, to the music - none of it was created in a vacuum, and each piece improved the other.
GD - What will the PC release date be? Ok, so I thought you might cave and tell us when put on the spot, but could you give a month you are aiming for, September maybe?
JC - Fall 2010.
GD - As you are hard at work at the moment with the various hardware matrixes could you give us an indication about Shank's minimum and recommended system requirements? High or low?
JC - I can't! That would be cheating.
GD - I know you are pretty busy rounding things off back at Klei HQ but thanks for taking this time with Game-Debate, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
JC - No problems! We're always looking for feedback, so do post your thoughts on our facebook page (requires sign-in for age verification) or follow us on twitter. I hope our game does not disappoint.
We hope so too Jamie. Best of luck, we are looking forward to it.
Well he was tight lipped about the system requirements and PC release date but I am sure they will let us know once they are available. We will keep you posted as more info comes in.
Console versions will be released on 24th August for 1200 Microsoft Points / $14.99
Written By: Damien Brailey