Recently I watched an interview with Masahiro Sakurai, the designer of the original Kirby game among other amazing titles. He talks a bit about the history of platformers and how at that point in time games in general were made to be difficult. Not just for the sake of it mind you, catridges had limited sizes and developers could only fit so much content in there, so to be able to make a longer format game you had to make it hard.
He wanted the game to be accessible and a market differentiator that could attract new people into the world of gaming. So not only were you given these fun and interesting skills where you can suck in enemies and spitting them out at other ones, but you you could also just suck in air, then float over the platforms gaps and enemies heads.
This changed platforming action games forever. They didn't have to be super difficult to be fun.
Shoot em ups have a long history of being difficult, even the genre already has some tropes in this regard with tiny hitboxes to help the player feel like they just skillfully escaped certain death. I want to take this further, I want the worst players to feel like they have some skill dodging bullet hell.
These are some of the must haves for this game...
My core idea for this game is to try to open the genre a of the game a bit more. I like that over the year splatformers have expanded into other genres. We now see exploration, puzzles, and even rpg elements taking center stage.
I had some ideas already about the story. There is a common trope in scifi where pilots have these deep and meaningful relationships with their spaceship, think Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon or Mal and Serenity.
I wanted to take this a step further, Make (pilot) and Izzy (ship) have been through a lot together, over the years Make has put a lot of time and effort into maintaining and upgrading Izzy. To the point of even installing illegal AI mods among other things. Make and Izzy spend countless nights spendinng hours in deep discussions as they float through space on seemingly endless voyages between star systems.
I see this relationship as a great way to interject dialog in places where there wouldn't be any otherwise. Things like complimenting each others skills in battle or casually chatting about mutual hobbies on loading screens. I like the idea of some short dialog that is cute and witty to break up the action and make the game feel a bit more chill.
At the moment I am taking my Uridium clone demo and refactoring out a bunch of classes, so it hasn't changed.
Before I go too far down the rabbit hole coding I want to spend some more time on the art side of things. My plan is to focus on the narrative, do some art and let the gameplay evolve around that.