We recently had the chance to talk with Alex Rose of Alex Rose Games about Super Rude Bear Resurrection, which is currently in the middle of it’s Greenlight Campaign.
PA2J: The game looks like a lot of fun. Is it as much fun to make?
Depends on the day, it’s like any job I guess. Although, I’ve made games before where I’ve absolutely dreaded one part of it (usually UI), which really de-motivates me, but there’s nothing like that in SRBR. It’s just I get a lot of “writer’s block” when I have to make new levels. I generally do find it fun though – I wouldn’t be making it if I didn’t, and I still enjoy playing it and love exhibiting it.
PA2J: I can imagine it must be tough, seeing as you cover so many areas of the game
Yeah, it’s a lot to take care of. Like.. if my sound guy is working for me one day, I have to spend that whole day doing sound to make it worthwhile. And I spend a lot of time implementing art assets rather than making the actual game, which I wish wasn’t the case, but you have to do that – people really care about graphics.
PA2J: Can you tell me a little bit about the idea for Super Rude Bear, did anything inspire you to create the game?
I mean, I never have an idea in Ludum Dare until the theme hits. Well, Ludum Dare has its own world of terminology, but.. this bit’s pretty simple. When Ludum Dare starts, there’s several rounds of theme voting. The first few days you vote for your favourites, and the votes are publicly displayed, then the last round you take a revote of all the best themes. So you sort of know what the theme’s going to be before it happens, but more realistically you have a small list of themes you know it might be.
And this time the top themes were: “You Only Get One” “Death Is Useful” and “Corruption” and.. Clones was trailing behind. So.. I mean the jam version is pretty far removed from the real version now, it’s been a natural progression. But I wanted a good idea in advance so I thought of something that’d fit all of those themes and that was Rude Bear Resurrection.
Then SRBR was just the natural continuation of that. Except people hated the Rude Bear Resurrection physics and I have a physics degree and a Golden God achievement in Meat Boy so I was like “I can do better than this”. So I just fiddled with the values for a couple of days and out popped some super tight physics, and people ended up loving it. On the name: the name is weird, they all have nomenclature. Like, there are 9 Rude Bear jam games so far and they’re all RBR. Like, Rude Bear Rising, Rude Bear Radio, Rude Bear Resurrection, Rude Bear Revengeance etc. So I stuck on Super to distinguish the commercial product.
PA2J: What made you decide to take part in Ludum Dare and do you feel you learnt a lot from the experience?
I wouldn’t be here without Ludum Dare. I entered it because it looked cool, and now I enter every time because I’m on a roll.
PA2J: I’ll be honest and admit I had never heard of Ludum Dare, up until today.
Yeah, a lot of people haven’t heard of it, but I mean. Lots of big people do it. Notch did it way before Minecraft. Without it he may not have ever made Minecraft I guess. Terry Cavanagh who makes VVVVVV, Super Hexagon.
I feel like there’s two fringes of gaming, with Alt Games and Ludum Dare. You have alt games which are making cool alternative games that make very good art instalments at places like A Maze. So there’s a section of the indie games community that’s focusing on types of games that never existed before like that. And then there’s Ludum Dare, most of which the top jammers are regular people who make extremely “gamey” games.
Like, games inspired by our childhoods.
PA2J: Super Rude Bear reminds me of Super Meat Boy, do you get people comparing the two games?
Yeah, it gets compared to Meat Boy a lot, it’s that same kind of hardcore repeated death. And super tight platforming, although I vastly prefer my character controller to Super Meat Boy’s now.
PA2J: Super Meat Boy has a pretty big fanbase
Yeah, and at the same time I’ve fixed a problem I never knew existed. I know a tonne of people who love Meat Boy but say stuff like “Oh yeah, I never got past Hell”, while wearing a Meat Boy t-shirt. And to me that’s crazy that you could have a dedicated fan who loves your game but can’t even finish half of it. But the thing is.. it sells itself on its difficulty – that’s not the problem, its difficulty is just right.
But contrast that with say.. Halo. Halo’s Legendary campaign is super difficult, but if you don’t want to play on Legendary you can still beat it on the other difficulties. Like, Halo challenges people who want to be challenged, even gives Vidmaster achievements to people like me who want ridiculous ultra challenges. But if you aren’t into all that you can /still experience all the game content/ on a lower difficulty.
PA2J: I don’t think I’ve ever played a game where death can actually help you during gameplay, can you explain a little about how that works in SRBR?.
A lot of people think the corpse mechanic is just some gimmicky thing where you’re forced to die repeatedly to get ahead, but it’s not that at all. The point is, you’re trying not to die, like in Meat Boy. But it just happens that if you do die, the game becomes ever so slightly easier. So for those people who could never hope to beat Meat Boy, it enables them to experience the game too.
So you can continually die and the bodies pile up making it easier to get out of certain areas?
Indeed, But if you don’t like to play like that, you can turn corpses off. If you want the “Meat Boy experience”, it’s right there, change to corpseless mode.
It’s a mode then, rather than something that’s forced upon players?
Well, it’s on by default and.. it’s basically encouraged on your first playthrough. No one’s gonna get a corpseless run first time through so they may as well just get a feel for the game and get better for their second hardcore playthrough. But also, even turning off corpses, you can use the fairy. I didn’t really show the fairy in the trailer because.. it’s not very exciting in motion or easy to explain in a minute.
PA2J: How does the Fairy work?
So, your little fairy companion is the one who resurrects you, it’s actually your arch nemesis (though if you read the dialogue you’ll know that early). You can turn off its text, like I did for the trailer, but if you have it on, it talks at you constantly like Navi from OOT. Except with tens of thousands of lines of dialogue, each one being a random one from a bunch. Very occasionally he can offer tips but mostly he just makes fun of you. Or unhelpful advice.
But the main point is: If you hold left trigger you control the fairy. And you can fly around the entire level unrestricted, check everything, see what’s ahead. And he has a laser he can use to melt corpses. So if you fill up a corridor with so many corpses you physically can’t get through anymore, you can use the laser to get rid of them.
PA2J: So you can see what lays ahead and plan in advance?
Yeah, but mostly the camera and level design show you what’s ahead. It’s just for if you want to take your time. Also it’s good for working out how to get secrets. But mostly it’s there to remove corpses. You can also use the right stick at any time to melt corpses, while controlling Rude Bear too. Right stick does the fairy laser. And if you click the right stick, all corpses on screen get destroyed. So if you’re like “Nah, I’ve got this bit”, you just click the pulse when you respawn. Some hardcore players end up clicking it most of the time, most people use the corpses. It’s completely up to the player.
PA2J: Ok, it’s good that you can dispose of the bodies by various means
Yeah, they are there as just an auto difficulty regulator that’s also mildly amusing. But the main appeal of the game is that it’s a super tight platformy game that.. Okay, Meat Boy’s been gone 5 years, and there’s been a hole left in my heart. To me, SRBR fills that hole and goes beyond. It’s very speedrunner focused too.
All the random events have seeded RNG from your corpse count, so if you play through a level without dying and the boss moves randomly, he’ll always move the same way if the corpse count is the same. So you don’t have to play the games 100 times to get good RNG, it’s just there. But also, it’s just very customisable. You’ll be able to turn on and off just about everything. Lighting, parallax, backgrounds, fairy text, screenshake, screentilt. Anything distracting, you can get rid of it.
Yeah, I mean, you make a good Ludum Dare game.. Rude Bear Resurrection has had.. 13,600 players. And I made that in 72 hours. It got covered by a bunch of big news sites, it got loads of awards. I think Rude Bear Radio has been played something ridiculous like 50,000 times now.
PA2J: Thats impressive! You were selected for the PAX East Indie Megabooth, that must have been a great feeling?
PAX East was fun. It wasn’t as exciting as Tokyo Game Show, but it was a cool feeling.
PA2J: Super Rude Bear is receiving some amazing responses since starting its Greenlight Campaign are you happy with how it’s going?
Well not really actually, our “number of yes votes” graph is like a straight line. Which I don’t understand how because I got on some big sites the other day and some really uprated reddit threads, no idea how I’m still getting the same sort of numbers. But we’re the 51st ranked greenlight game out of 1600 entries in 5 days. So.. hopefully we get in soon so I can start making a press build.
PA2J: I spent an hour or so listening to music by Deeco, his music fits the game perfectly. How did the collaboration come about?
I was listening to a grime album called British Nights by Frisco. And playing the game and I was like “Hey, this actually fits really well” And Rude Bear was already always grime themed. So then I went and looked at my favourite grime album, Blam! by JME and all my favourite tracks were produced by Deeco. Then I went on his Soundcloud and saw he produced chiptune and had Mortal Kombat characters on his songs, and was like “He clearly wants to make a game”. But yeah, I noticed his songs on Twitter didn’t have ridiculously large numbers of favourites. So I was like “if I favourite his stuff, by the time I want to ask him if he wants to collaborate, he’ll recognise who I am and know I’m actually a fan”
But as soon as I favourited it, he followed me. I figured it was because I said I made video games, so I followed him back, immediately DMed him like “I looove your stuff and I want to make a game with you” and he was like “1000% yes”, and here we are. We’re actually talking now about collaborations in Rude Bear, like, each boss having its own vocals and it taunts you but we haven’t established anything yet.
The soundtrack has always been one of my favourite things, Deeco is a genius. And everyone he works with thinks that too, the rappers he works with shout him out all the time in their songs. He’s sent me hundreds of tracks and almost all have been good enough to put in the game.
PA2J: You have something in the region of 60 tracks lined up for the game?
Just wait for the game, soundtrack’s even higher standard. I mean, just looking at my Deeco playlist, I have 140 odd tracks from him. There’s going to be a track for every level. The soundtrack will be on Steam and a digital deluxe version hopefully with some cool concept art, maybe a dev level or something.
PA2J: Do you have a console release date in mind?
I’m aiming for January, but everyone has one in mind, it’s whether you’ll hit that.
PA2J: Is there anything else you would like to say about SRBR that we haven’t covered?
Really the only thing is – if anyone wants to play they can sign up to our beta list. (People interested can sign up HERE) also, we’re on a bunch of social media stuff and you can follow us on our Steam page but the place I’m always on is Twitter so if you want to keep up with the game, @AlexRoseGames is the place. Major updates will be posted to facebook, steam etc. though.
Massive thank you to Alex Rose of Alex Rose Games for taking the time to talk with us, you can check out the latest Super Rude Bear Resurrection trailer below.